Happy Finals Week!

Yesterday was the last official day of classes. Congrats you guys, we did it!

Well, we’ve almost done it. Because yes, there are free breakfasts and therapy dogs, popsicles and bowling—tried and true signs of another term…terminating. (Sorry, that was too good to pass up.) These wonderful fun FREE things do little to disguise the fact that we still have a little ways to go.

Seven days to go, to be exact. And these seven days are some of the most stressful of the semester.

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Happy finals week, everyone. For some, this is the defining moment of their weeks upon weeks of worry and stress. For some, it is all that stands between them and graduation, or a fabulous summer vacation. For some, they’re lucky and it’s mostly just a chill period of time to wander around collecting free stuff until it’s time to move out.

Regardless of where you stand, it’s pretty universal that finals suck, but it will all be better in about a week. And in honor of these last seven days, here are seven things that don’t suck, but that can even make everything a little bit brighter~

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1. Netflix

Everyone needs a study break every now and then. If your brain hurts, find a short show, they don’t require too much commitment. Girls is my latest go-to, but I also love Friends and Seinfeld. Netflix also has a bunch of really amazing new shows too, one of which is Girlboss with Britt Robertson. It’s based on Sophia Amoruso’s (the founder of Nasty Gal) autobiography by the same name.

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2. Exercising

To not feel guilty while watching said Netflix shows, I often go running while I watch them. There are also so many fun classes at the CRC, like barre pilates and power yoga. And, even better, they’re free during finals week! So anyone can drop by and try them out!

3. Ice Cream (and assorted foods, bonus points if FREE)

Exercising is wonderful but let’s be honest, ice cream is also extremely important. So are the aforementioned free popsicles, and cookies, pizza, and breakfasts. This may just be a freshman thing, but it also may be a being-in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time thing. To be determined. ALSO there’s also the new “late night bites” thing at Chick-fil-a and Panda Express in the Student Center, where we can use meal swipes from 9 pm-12am. So either way, brilliant.

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4. Music + Art

Make a new playlist, find some new songs, hunt around Spotify for a bit to de-stress. It’s quite fun, and the fruit of your labor (ie. an amazing new selection of songs) will come in handy for when you go back to studying, too. Additionally: if you play an instrument, go for it! Except, you know, not if your dorm has quiet hours.

Otherwise, draw something, paint something, de-stress that way! Last week the Arts Ambassadors (aka me and some of the coolest most wonderful people I have ever met) held an Arts Fest in the Ferst Center! There were tons of free cookies, student artists selling their work at booths, a muralist, interactive art, a Piano Project piano with a chalkboard on the back, student performers… You name it. It was wonderful seeing so many people come in and participate, so exciting and therapeutic to just be in such a friendly and happy and artistic atmosphere.

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5. Family and Friends

Don’t forget about them! Yeah it’s just a week with a weekend thrown in there, but study with friends, go on study breaks, get dinner together, etc. Also, text your mom. It’s so much better for everyone’s sanity, and the people who care about you will help you through.

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6. Sleep

DO NOT FORGET TO GET ENOUGH SLEEP. SLEEP IS SO IMPORTANT. IF YOU HAVE BEEN STUDYING FOR HOURS ON END AND CAN’T KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN LITERALLY JUST GO TO BED. You won’t retain information as well if you studied it well if you studied with a  compromised mental state. And you’ll be crabby as heck the next day really please just go home and sleep and don’t snore in the CULC this is completely theoretical (it’s not). My heart hurts when people do this. Sure you want more hours in the day but make better use of the ones you have and simply embrace how wonderful and helpful sleep is.

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7. Georgia Tech

All in all, there are so many things that are important and helpful, so many yummy and wonderful things. Georgia Tech may not always seem like one of them, as it is also the bearer of the finals chopping block itself. But Tech cares about us, genuinely. There are so many resources that they provide, so many study breaks and opportunities to hit the refresh button. They want us to be healthy, happy, successful—whether you always think so or not. So take advantage of the benefits, give Buzz a hug, study hard but not so hard that you hurt yourself.

After all, it is just a week.  

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My IAC Dean’s Research Internship

june 1939 coverThis year, I was given the opportunity to do research through the IAC’s Dean Research Internship program! This internship pairs first year liberal arts students with a professor of their major and field of interest in order to learn the ropes of conducting research. In this program each student could either work on their own project with guidance from their professor, or they could help their professor with whatever they were working on. I chose to do the latter.

My professor (Dr. Jay Telotte, an LMC professor and expert in science fiction and animation) and I explored the relationship between science fiction pulp magazines and movies from 1920-1950. We wanted to know if movie companies used print platforms to advertise their films and, if so, how. My only previous experience with the subject was Star Wars, but I was immediately interested by movies and magazines and the way they advertised different subject matter.

tumblr_ooq9bgjk3n1rve49co6_540Both mediums have similar fan bases, so we were surprised to find that there actually were very few traditional movie advertisements present. Instead, there were tons of reviews, pictures of cameras, stories about Hollywood…basically everything but big full-page ads with headlines screaming about War of the Worlds or Star Trek.

So, the separate worlds did converge, and over time, these interactions became more and more frequent, just not in the way we expected. It was really interesting to learn about; it was almost like I was experiencing these shifts over time too.

Last week, we had a research internship exhibition where all of the Dean’s Research Interns shared their work with both faculty and each other. It was exciting to see what everyone else had been working on all year. It was also a really good chance to practice IMG_8649giving presentations to strangers in a more professional setting—something ya girl is not used to or totally comfortable with, but that I was happy to practice.

Thank you so much again to the Dean, Dr. Telotte, and Elizabeth Miller for this amazing opportunity, all of the help you’ve given me, and for the innumerable lessons and skills that I have learned! My freshman year has been wonderful, and I am so grateful for this invaluable experience.

If you are interested in learning more about what we found, the subject matter, my experience and what I learned, or the internship program itself, check out the website I made! ~ https://spacebarinvaders.wordpress.com/

Talking As Fast I Can Book Review

So as you know I’m obsessed with Gilmore girls. (HA, understatement of the year.)

As you may also know (thanks to my Instagram that I much more faithfully update than this poor pretty little child blog of mine), when I found out that Lauren Graham was writing a book about her experiences as Lorelai on the old and new Gilmore sets, I completely freaked out.

Like, I don’t think I’ve as ever impulsively bought a book as I did when I clicked “preorder” on Amazon in September. (That’s a lie, I’ve grabbed off of the shelves at Goodwill faster than you could read the last sentence.)

When it arrived a while back, all pretty and shiny and new, I was ecstatic. It came out around when the miniseries reboot aired, and I had little time to touch it thanks to school and being completely preoccupied with the living breathing characters and Stars Hollow on screen.

When school ended for the winter break, and after I finished the show (*sniff*), I picked up my dear friend’s memoir and dove right in. I ate it up in a solid two days.

As a fan, I loved it. Lauren talked about her past, how her career began, where she started. I feel like all actors or comedians who write biographies throw this in there somewhere. (I also know that this is, in fact, what makes them biographies. It’s also a huge part of their story and who they are as people. As Lauren would say, “medical, medical.”) So I enjoyed learning about her past jobs and childhood, but I couldn’t help but keep thinking, “when does Gilmore Girls come in,” so I probably breezed through it a bit.

Other times, there were sections that were completely and interestingly insightful. The part about Old Lady Jackson and looking up every once in a while? Loved and bookmarked it. The writing advice she’d learned? Noted it and plan on using it. There were so many other brief little messages here and there that truly made me stop to think. I had been so hyped up that I wasn’t really expecting to find nuggets of wisdom, but they’re there—and plentiful.

Finally, the long awaited Gilmore Girls sections. First, Lauren described the process, what it was like originally. She had never seen all of the series herself (which I thought was odd at first but now totally understand), and so she literally watched it all and made notes about everything from what was going on behind the scenes to what was up with her hair at that point in her life. Oh, and she pointed out every time a technology was out-of-date, which was amusing.

Next (or actually, after several more sections and closer to the end of the book, which is fitting since so much time has passed and all of this is so recent), Lauren describes the reboot process. She describes it like a dream, and said she cried throughout the whole year in the life. So did I Lauren. So did I.

She kept a journal from the set of the set of the reboot, complete with pictures and the story of the things she stole from set. Alexis stole a Yale banner from the wall in Rory’s room, and when I read this I almost started crying. And the fact that every time Lauren mentioned how “cliffhanger-y” the ending was, Amy just smiled? Again in the words of Lauren Graham, “Hmmm.”

The Gilmore Girls tidbits were brief, but sweet. I really enjoyed getting a glimpse into this side of not only Stars Hollow, but the world of acting and life of such a wonderful, quick-witted, and introspective actor as Lauren Graham. I only wish that this lovely little book had been longer because, like Gilmore Girls in all of its many forms, I hated to see it end.

Rating: 4/5

Table 19 Movie Review

table-19-posterDo you ever get so completely thrown off by something because you expected it to be one way but it really turned out to be completely different? Like, when you see a really scrumptious-looking dessert that you imagine to taste one way but ends up being a totally different flavor? That’s how Table 19 was for me.

It wasn’t a bad different, by any means. But I had been watching the trailer for so long, waiting for pictures and updates and squealing every time I saw the pretty pink poster that by the time I watched the movie itself I thought…what?

Don’t get me wrong. It was a really good movie. A little odd, but good. Cute. I adore Anna Kendrick. The selection of characters at Table 19 made it completely hilarious. Perhaps it was the storyline that just fell a little short to me. Eloise (Anna Kendrick) and her relationship with the blonde guy (who I disliked from the get-go and furthermore refuse to call by either actor or character name out of protest) annoyed me to no end (if you couldn’t already tell. And unfortunately, this is who a lot of the film is centered around. Their relationship was so unsatisfying to me, and I can’t help but hope that it isn’t as realistic as it eerily seemed. Because yeah, the gorgeous brunette guy in the trailer that anyone watching the 2 minute clip would expect her to run away with after they adorably dance together? Spoiler alert, so skip to the paragraph after the next picture. Don’t get your hopes up about The two of them and all the adorableness between them. They were shorter lived on screen than the actual length of that very movie trailer, and I was (and am still) super bitter about it. b26df04dea30538d19fc75db41ecc067_700x259Ok, non-spoilers, hello again. Another thing that bothered me, yes moving on from Anna Kendrick and her character’s relationships. The other people at the Table seemed a bit jipped to me. It was like, “oh yes, we’re all in this horrible table situation together, let’s bond.” But as a viewer I felt like Anna was the only one I really got to know. Granted, she was the one with whom I, also snarky white female in this general stage of my life, can immediately relate to. (Also helps that I was a huge fan of Anna already. Not sure which came first here, either, chicken or egg. But whatever.) but all of this aside, the other characters were simply not that memorable. They were there for witty banter, there to support Eloise. They seemingly came to realizations about their own lives, grew as individuals by the end of the movie on their own too (oops was that a spoiler). Seemingly. To me they still seemed like static characters that the director tried to make dynamic in order to round out the story and fully tie the idea of the crappy wedding Table 19 as a unifying symbol together with a big pretty pink bow.

img_1889All in all, I appreciate the concept of this movie. I like the whole idea of this odd group coming together. The actors were all excellent, particularly my girl Anna (and yes, future self, I did just refer to her as “my girl Anna” like we’re complete “homies”). I always have to nod to Lisa Kudrow and that awkward kid from The Grand Budapest Hotel. The music was even amazing (I am about to go look it up on Spotify as we speak). And the film was, undoubtably and undeniably hilarious at times. However, I had imagined some cute indie film full of complex characters, thought-provoking storylines and messages, and a solid, satisfying ending. What I found instead was a story about one complex character with a lot of side characters, all bound not by the table, but by a story and relationship that I didn’t like or understand from the get-go. I found that, instead of eating one flavor of cake, Table 19 was a wholly different and rather unexpected one. Then again, I guess cake is still cake.

Rating: 6/10

Food, Friends, Art, and Coffee

Hello again! I thought that I’d end yet another infamous and periodic bit of radio silence with a post about an adventure I went on back in—what was it now, January? Man that was so long ago now.

Anyway, a while ago I went to Cabbagetown with the lovely ladies I am going to be sharing an apartment with next year! Three of us were already friends, and I was friends with the fourth. Before this, though, the two and the one actually had yet to meet each other, so an introductory excursion was definitely in order. And preferably one with breakfast food and cute photo ops.

So we had brunch at the Carroll Street Cafe, a cute little place with an abundance of both coffee and mimosas, depending on how old you are. The biscuits are the best too, highly recommend. Afterwards, we walked down the road and took a right to walk along the lengthy wall full of murals. We wandered all the way down to the Krog Street Tunnel, taking pictures and chatting and joking along the way.

After our adventure, we headed back to campus to do homework, as it was a Sunday and we are all typical Tech students. Not wanting the expedition to die completely, we went to Amelie’s for yet another change of scenery. And coffee.

All in all, it was a wonderful day, full of food and friends and art and coffee, which is basically all anyone could ever need. I am so looking forward to rooming with my friends in the fall. I can’t wait to decorate our apartment, to have movie nights, to have four walls to myself, to joke and tell stories in the evenings, to cook in a real life kitchen, to have a dishwasher… And, of course, I can’t wait to go on more adventures like this one too.

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The Adventures of Lauren & Stank

On Saturday, January 28th, I met Christine (affectionately called “Stank” since some time around tenth grade) in West Midtown for our very favorite meal of the day. Our favorite because it’s Leslie Knope’s favorite, mostly, but also because it’s dang delicious.

We ate brunch at West Egg, which I had never been to before. We waited outside in the sunshine for a good thirty minutes, but it was extremely worth it. It also gave us a chance to catch up, and I got to know her friend who was visiting too. We were all rewarded for our patience, not just with each others’ company, but with delicious food and wonderful weather. And coffee.

After breakfast, we wandered around the area for a bit. We saw a tiny coffee shop made out of a shipping container, saw shops and cool urban-looking renovations. We then found the murals. The blue one is outside of Bartaco off of Howell Mill, and it was right beside the Merchant, a cute stationery shop that we promptly visited next. After saying goodbye to the new friend, I took the old to the West Side Cultural Arts Center right down the street. I had been there once before, but was pleasantly surprised by how close it was.

It was a lovely morning (or early afternoon?) full of lovely weather, great friends, awesome street art, and amazing food. It was such a treat to be able to explore new places and get to see one of my oldest and best friends, and I can’t wait to do it again soon.

Before I Fall Movie Review

“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through you fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there’s only today. And the truth is, you never really know.”

Before I Fall, which comes out in theaters in a couple of weeks, has been one of my favorite books since I read it in ninth grade. It tells the story of a girl named Sam, who is a member of the most popular clique in her high school. She’s sweeter than her three best friends, though; she’s different. (Yeah, yeah, joke about YA I dare you.) It’s set over the course of one day. This happens to be Valentine’s day, but it is also the day that Sam dies, and the day that she relives, seven times, until she can fix what went wrong. Throughout the story, there are mean girls, bullied girls, snubbed boys, popularity contests, and high school parties. It has all the makings of a cheesy YA book to movie adaptation. But it wasn’t one. Aside from some questionable music choices, it was absolutely perfect.

before-i-fall-movie-images-zoey-deutch-halston-sage-21The whole premise of Before I Fall is that you never really know how long you have to live. You don’t know how your actions and choices will impact either your own life or, and sometimes especially, those of the people around you. Sam and her friends do not know how their words and actions impact their peers, until horrible things happen because of them. When Sam keeps waking up, she decides to change things; she is kind, embraces and appreciates what she has had but took advantage of. I love this concept, and when I read the book I thought, holy shit, this is serious, this is real. The movie did the same thing, and in a no less impactful way. Whenever Sam narrates, she is reflecting too, working through all of her thoughts and actions and what they mean. Through her life, we are called to think of our own too, whether they are as glamorous and dramatic as hers or not.

“It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new. Just one false step, one pause, one detour, and you end up with new friends or a bad reputation or a boyfriend or a breakup. It’s never occurred to me before; I’ve never been able to see it. And it makes me feel, weirdly, like maybe all of these different possibilities exist at the same time, like each moment we live has a thousand other moments layered underneath it that look different.”

For that was definitely one thing that was interesting to see: how exactly Sam’s life was transformed onto a screen. We lost a lot of details, obviously: we never learned what kind of falling out she had with her mother, nor how horribly her relationship her relationship really was. But we did get to see her friends. The dynamic between Lindsay and the others was extremely authentic. They listened to music, made fun of each other, gossiped and laughed. It was accurate, it was fun and funny to watch, and it reminded me of me. It only felt forced when they mentioned Snapchat or said “bae.” Even then, though, they went right back to being believable high schoolers. (I mean, as believable as the twenty-something year olds and their supposed “senior party” could be.) The movie, though, did this really well.

In fact, the acting in and of itself was really good. I was impressed and pleasantly surprised. Not only were the relationships believable, but the characters were too. Sam was just how I imagined her, as were Lindsay and even Skye. Kent was perfect too, though I don’t actually know if they ever said his name.

“I shiver, thinking how easy it is to be totally wrong about peopleto see one tiny part of them and confuse it for the whole, to see the cause and think it’s the effect or vice versa.”

Not to go all Read It and Weep here, but I also knew a Lindsay in high school. I was the Sam in a friend group, and could relate very strongly to everything that that happened on screen. This realization about some of my back-stabbing high school girlfriends probably made the movie even more meaningful and realistic to me, to be honest. Since reading the book, I have seen and experienced firsthand just how mean and two-faced girls who claim to be your friends can be. It’s horrible. I didn’t go all Kickass Black Eyeshadow Day Five or Six Sam, which would have been awesome, but I did get the hell out of there after being involved for far too long, like Sam did. I too learned from being around the wrong people, though fortunately no one suffered this much from anything that happened. (That I know of…) I should have thought about this book at the time, but I guess life is funny and unfortunate like that.

“So many things become beautiful when you really look.”

before-i-fall-hd-trailer-stillsAnother thing that I really liked about this movie though, dark serious life thoughts aside, actually has nothing to do with the characters or story per se. And yeah, this is huge media me nerding out. But I absolutely loved how the film’s shots were set up, how the lighting felt, and how time and days passed. The transitions were seamless. I was curious as to how they would repeat one day over and over, reuse the same scenes, and still keep it interesting and new. And they did it so, so well. They picked significant things to focus on, made it just tense and funny enough. Whenever they ran through the woods, I pointed out how hard the light must have been to get perfectly. And the scene where Sam repeatedly wakes up? SO GOOD.

Lauren Oliver and Before I Fall were and are perfect. I highly recommend both the book and movie to any and everyone who likes contemplative stories with surprising, occasionally funny or dark, and thought-provoking twists. Sure, they may seem and feel a little fluffy at times, but the messages certainly are not.

“I realized that time doesn’t matter. Certain moments go on forever. Even after they’re over they still go on, even after you’re dead and buried, those moments are lasting still, backward and forward, on into infinity. They are everything and everywhere all at once. They are the meaning.”

Book: 5/5 stars

Movie: 9/10 stars