Again With The Wanderlust

Greetings, loved ones.*

Today’s post is brought to you by my wanderlust. There are some amazing things happening in the world and in the world of travel, that I want to talk about.

First of all, this is the coolest game you’ll see on the internet that’s not 2048. Geoguessr is fun, addictive, and educational. I saw it one day at work, someone we follow on Twitter tweeted about it, and then I could not stop myself from playing. My roommate Gabby and I just played 2 full games (10 rounds). Basically, the game drops you somewhere on Earth. All you know is it’s somewhere with street view. You get a chance to look around for clues, usually coming from signs or what kind of cars people drive, how run-down things are, that kind of thing. An example is on the first game I played, they dropped me facing the coast, and I noticed no one was at the beach. When I turned around, I saw a diamond store. So I guessed South Africa, and I was right. Not too complicated, and I’m pretty awesome at it. It will have to do until teleporting is possible.

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Screenshot from Geoguessr– look how good I am.

In the meantime, we’re going to stick with cars. This car commercial is one that hopefully will be influential in changing the way Americans think about buying electric cars. Because after all, , caring about the environment has been a thing of the rest of the world. This car makes fun of Europe, namely French people, for being too lazy, not ambitious enough to create really innovative cars. It manages to be an ad for capitalism, the American Dream, and an electric car at the same time. I found the article about it on The Atlantic Cities page, which pointed out that maybe that’s how you get Americans to do something for the Earth– pretend it’s not. I’m not going to say it’s not clever or true. Also, making fun of the French always works.

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Photo via Faric on Flickr

Speaking of France, they’ve got good ideas too. Ones I hope will work. Back in March, while we were suffering under the snow here in DC, Paris was suffering (will explain in a sec) from unseasonably warm temperatures. The change caused really bad air pollution, which makes the city, perhaps the 1st or 2nd most desirable city in the world for tourists, fairly undesirable. Paris took it really seriously and did something that would absolutely not work in the U.S., they banned cars. Yup. They banned cars and motorcycles with even-numbered registration, and ticketed violators about $30 at checkpoints around the city. The next day, they banned odd-numbered cars. Not only did that happen, before the ban, they preemptively made all public transportation and bike sharing FREE in order to encourage it, and it stayed free through the time of the ban. Parisians are hardcore about air pollution.

But really, who needs free public transport when you could have free PRIVATE transport? Amtrak might start giving “residencies” to writers who see super-long train rides as a perfect time to be productive. No, they won’t send you to your favorite beach, just to Chicago and back with a couple hours between to sit around the station. I wish this could be something like subsidized train rides for writers, because the destination is often more important than the journey when you’re riding on a train. What say you? Does this sound fun?

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Photo via Yvette Wohn on Flickr

That’s it for now, folks. Thanks for putting up with my ramblings, I hope you find them as interesting as I do. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and comment! It means a lot to me. Thanks.


Featured image is a screenshot from Geoguessr

*This is a song reference. Some of you may not be my loved ones. Hi Rachael!**

**kidding. You da best.

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Computing within Computing (it’s so meta)

I was just clicking around, trying to do something while my show was loading (Skins season 7 if you must know) and I realized that if I want to be a blogger (which I might), I should probably blog more than just once in a blue moon. Which is basically where I’m at now. Plus, every time I see something awesome on the internet, I add it to a favorites folder called “blogger fodder.” And that folder is getting full. So I thought I’d try to make some sense of a few of the links, try to find a theme.

This week’s theme is often stuff that exists about the internet, on the internet. I know, so meta, right? Here goes.

I’ve had a lot of conversations recently that discuss the fall of Facebook. When will it happen? What will replace it? We know that we didn’t have it before (say, 2008, if you’re me), so the chances of it hanging around til 2018 seem pretty slim. Websites (even crazy big ones) just don’t last that long. This article is saying that it’s not going away, it’s just changing demographics. And its changing what it wants to be. Though we see it as THE social network (hi Jesse Eisenberg) what I found most interesting about the article is that it shows how fb is actually more like TV– a place to waste time, and view a lot of commercials. Here’s the infographic, which I am using but claim no rights toward.

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While we’re talking Facebook’s evolution, they add some new features now and again that we all complain about most of the time. But there’s something (that I now see that I added to my fodder long ago and is a tad outdated) which is that fb added new gender options, not just male and female anymore. An interesting fact from this article is that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) did a survey which found that 10% of LGBT youths did not identify with the gender binary. Which could end up being 1% of the population, if as they say, 1 in 10 people is gay. It’s a rather significant portion, so I say good for fb for (finally) recognizing that. AU alumn and trans rights activist Sarah McBride posted on Facebook about the change, where she said that all of us cisgendered folk should not log on and change from merely “female” to “cisgendered female,” unless it’s your actual gender identity. Otherwise you may just be asserting your own privilege, and that perhaps status as trans or cis should be separate from status as man or woman. I honestly don’t know that to be true for sure, but I know as a cisgendered person (and as a white person, an able-bodied person, a hearing person, etc…), it’s important to check your privilege, and try to stay informed.

Let’s stop talking about facebook, shall we?

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This image belongs to E.E. Buckels et al, and shows, yes, weirdly (or not so weirdly), that internet trolls are likely to be Machiavellian sadists. Trolling, for people who live in boxes (or for my parents) is when people comment rude or scandalous things just to annoy someone or send them on a wild goose chase or something… not nice, but not life-destroying. People who waste their time ruining other people’s time, basically. I’ve fallen victim to real-life trolling too. It definitely targets the serious and trusting, of which I am both. But it turns out, they psychologically are prone to have what the psychologists doing the study called “Dark Tetrad” traits. And there’s a correlation between time spent on the internet and the presence of the traits in general too. Though weirdly, not narcissism.

Which means, catch you later. I’m out– I don’t want that Dark Tetrad to catch on.

(Top photo credit to Dan Century via Flickr)

I LOVE CALIFORNIA

Wow, so it has kind of been a very long time. Luckily, I have an excuse. Or two. Because midterms have been happening, and then spring break, and then catching up on TV and the making dinner and then painting my nails. Important stuff here guys. But luckily, my wonderful friend Rachael allowed me to accompany her on a grand adventure to visit her family in southern California (it’s actually where she lives in real life). It was a grand week.

It started off with a quick teleportation from Dulles to LAX (what else can you call a 5.5 hr nonstop flight across the country?) which involved very productive writing time (not a joke) and Lee Daniel’s The Butler. We arrived in L.A. to reasonable temperatures, palm trees, and the next day, THE SUN. I’ll say it again. THE SUN. It was a miracle and it warmed the Earth to a startlingly perfect 75 degrees, so after a game of bananagrams (my best words: chimera and bung) we went for a walk with her family. I may have worn a jumpsuit. Also, there was this a family recipe for breakfast called dippings which may give you a sense of the kind of decadence we encountered in California. Bisquik biscuits are dipped in warm butter, then powdered sugar. Dippings puts the edible in incredible. (It may actually be singular dipping).

We people-watched and had a grand time at Laguna beach. Lauren Conrad was not present, but there was a really groovy gay French couple playing cricket (?) with their daughter, and some acroyoga– the combination of which amounted to the best people-watching ever

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You know, casual.

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Laguna. (Translates to: The Guna)

We packed up pretty much right away to head south to the San Diego area, visiting the grandparents and doing family stuff (hiking, the wild animal park (JAMBO!), playing cards, eating way too much). AND we even got to go to the beach. And swim. It was March, and a perfect 80ish degrees in Oceanside. Pretty pretty pretty. And also grandparents are really the best. It was a good time.

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The dignified Rachael and Shane Somerville.

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We’re goats!

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We’re bats!

Swinging back up to the good old O.C., we did some baller hipster thrift shopping at the best Buffalo Exchange I’ve ever been to (I’m doing an unofficial survey and have been in DC, Boston, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and now somewhere in the LA region), where we restrained ourselves and didn’t spend too much.

Then, because we had been tricked into thinking it was summer, camping happened. Camping by the ocean in March. We may have eaten takeout burritos and s’mores and bagels and it may have been awesome. There was a propane powered campfire that had Hanukkah-esque stamina (as Rachael put it), and we got to hang out with one of her high school peeps. Then in the AM, hiking and getting sunburned on the beach. I might have to remind you, it was March. MARCH.

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MARCH, I SAY, MARCH!! (This is an exclamation, not a command)

Because our days were nothing if not action-packed, we drank some pretty damn good boba tea at a tea place (CHA) whose reputation preceded it by two years, and saw Her at the movies. It was better the second time and the high-waisted horribleness bothered me less.

We drove up North-ish to be with Rachael’s mom, and spent the next day with the family eating sugary sugary crepes and going to the Getty Museum, which has old art and new architecture. We stuffed our faces with sushi and moose tracks ice cream (not simultaneously) and watched the worst movie Colin Firth has ever been a part of (think of what Mama Mia was for Meryl, except worse for Colin). Then in the morning, we packed up, leaving only the sun and the temperatures behind, as Rachael’s bag brimmed with birthday presents and mine with thrifted stuff.

After two flights, ridiculousness, Frozen, me finally finishing The Great Gatsby, and I came home to an empty apartment and little white flakes falling from the sky.

Goodbye, California. Until next time.

I Love the Olympics

CAUTION OLYMPIC SPOILERS ABOUND

So, if you know me, you know I love the Olympics. If you KNOW me, you know I LOVE THE OLYMPICS! Diplomacy through sports! Valuing women in international sporting arena! Bringing light to social and economic issues in other countries HOORAH!

Jeremy Abbott via frontpagebuzz

Jeremy Abbott via frontpagebuzz

So let’s talk about the great things that have come out of the Olympics so far:

You know what the Olympics don’t have enough of? Spandex, denim, awkwardness. If the Olympics aren’t enough like a John Hughes movie for you, I beg you to look at the the Team USA Yearbook. It’s like they were all invited to be extras in a Katy Perry music video or an 80s prom. It’s wonderful. (Pay special attention to resident ham, world champion figure skater Jeremy Abbott. He’s great  and he fell really hard during his short program, lay curled up on the ice for a while, then got up and did ALL his elements. He’s a star.)

A lot of my friends use this app called Tinder to find dates nearby (or just hot people to chat with) but I don’t because my smartphone is actually stupid and I can’t do that. This Olympian Jamie Anderson said today that the Tinder in the Olympic Village is off the hook, which I am very envious of and really interests me. Social networks bringing world-class athletes together (like, together-together) so that’s pretty cool.

Johnny Weir was pretty tight-lipped about Olympic hookups, but he’s the coolest so read this interview too. Also, if you’ve never seen his fabulous show from a few years back, it’s called “Be Good Johnny Weir” and it’s perfect.

This Olympics, it’s all about the Twitter, and if you’re me, it’s ALWAYS all about the puns, hence this great post about the best puns (the best puns are actually the worst ones) about the Olympics. I mean, Bob Costas’ eye DID go viral (nudge nudge)

If you live in a hole or a world devoid of 20-something women (of which I definitively do NOT), then you may not have heard of the genius hit HBO show Girls. Shoshanna Shapiro is the crazy young smart one (who’s played by David Mamet’s daughter) and she has a really questioning awkward face that is perfect for those moments in the Olympics when, you just need a little Shosh.

What makes me sad is not being able to capture ALL the wonders of this Olympics. Though I’ve always loved the games, but I feel like I’m just beginning to appreciate them (not true I just love it more every time!) The Olympics are such a great way for the world to connect on every level and talk about stuff. I also understand it’s flawed system. But it’s so entertaining, and I truly believe a thing that’s good for the world. So I encourage you to try to enjoy them.
And tell me what I should be looking at.

DAA NAA NA NA NA NA NA DUM DA DA DUM DUM DA DA DUM DA DA DA DA DUM!!! (The Olympic anthem, you didn’t get that?)

Photo of Jeremy Abbott and his wonderful blouse from frontpagebuzz.com

I Love Mommy Blogs

It all started when I started reading Salon.com and read this article about a young feminist who can’t get enough of Mormon mommy blogs, who pointed out her favorite bloggers “have bangs like Zooey Deschanel and closets full of cool vintage dresses. Their houses look like Anthropologie catalogs. Their kids look like Baby Gap models. Their husbands look like young graphic designers, all cute lumberjack shirts and square-framed glasses.”

Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. All the blogs l read.

And then she pointed out that there are tells about these bloggers, young, trendy women, being Mormon. Bizarre, right? Turns out, not so much. They’re all over the place in the blogging world. I suspect there’s a big reason why this year’s Alt Summit (it’s a big blogging conference) was hosted in Salt Lake City this year. Just saying.

What I’m also just saying is that ALL of my favorite style bloggers are stylish, well-educated, funny, young mothers whose blogs I read every day. And they’re Mormon.

Topping off my list of favorite blogs is Merricks Art. Merrick is the most beautiful, stylish mother of two who puts together incredible outfits and does great DIY tutorials. Me and my roommate have actually have had more than one conversation about Merrick coming to live with us and how perfect that would be. (Except that our student apartment would NOT live up to her standards, among other things, obviously.)

Then there’s Merrick’s little sister, Janssen, who writes a lovely blog called Everyday Reading. This woman loves books SO much (as much as me, maybe) and somehow manages to read a hundred or so a year plus find time to write about them. And she has two adorable children. If I didn’t love her so much, I’d envy her more.

Audrey from Putting Me Together has done great things for my wardrobe. I found her one day when I was looking for ways to put together a colorful, young, and put-together/professional outfit. She has tips on how to shop (the root of everyone’s problem), how to pack for travel, and how to put together outfits for everything. She also has a really nice angular bob.

A more recent discovery has been Gabrielle and Design Mom. She has six children with very old-fashioned names for whom she makes delicious looking food, dresses well, and somehow she manages to live in a lot of interesting, beautiful places and homes. She does a weekend post that’s an inspiration for this blog called “A Few Things” where she puts together a lot of good posts from different places on the web. AND she aims to post 3 times per day. Maybe her days are just 10 hours longer than mine. She also has a staff.

That’s my round-up. My favorites of the web’s (Mormon) mommy bloggers. I’m always looking for more blogs to read (Mormon mommies or otherwise), so suggest some in the comments below!

Photo credit Maria Morri via Flickr

Oh Hello There

I’m BAAACCKKKK

Or, depending on who you are, I’ve just begun! I just ended my first blog, Wanderlust, which was a travel blog about my semester abroad, and I’m already missing the blogging life. And the abroad life. Now I’m back in Washington and it’s a new year, this blog is going to be whatever the heck I want. Not that the other one wasn’t. But this blog title, Scrambled E.G.’s, comes from my initials and my plan to make this an amalgamation (is that the right word?) about stories of mon vie and also my favorite and least favorite parts about the internet and the world! So get ready for some ramblings and scramblings.

I’m really excited. I thought of this blog name in high school and its been burning a hole in my pocket. Or my brain.

 

Photo credit to “Hamburger Helper” via flickr