Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

We wish you a nerdy St. Patrick’s Day!

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Trying to get in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day while studying for finals?  Sigh – you’re not alone.

But if you want a catchy study tune to keep you in the mood, check out this witty ditty, care of Stanford biology alum Adam Cole, B.S. ’09, M.S. ’10.  You’ll probably learn a lot – let’s hear it for Sacchyromyces cerevisiae!

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I Love You Like I Love Pizza

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Whether you’re looking forward to tomorrow or dreading it, you’ll probably have a better Valentine’s Day than these folks.

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The One, the Only, the 2013 Winter Course Guide

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

It’s that time of year again.

Let’s just say that this is NOT what Thanksgiving looks like at my house…

No, not Thanksgiving. I mean, yes – technically it is time for family drama, dried out Turkey, sleeping in a bed that hasn’t been tainted by years of college kids getting it on, and becoming unnecessarily excited that it’s now socially acceptable to eat truly stupid amounts of pumpkin pie. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Oh no. Not that. I’m talking about something far more important: the TUSB Winter Course Guide.

Yes, I know Axess opened a month ago. I’m sorry I’ve been a little late to the game. As you all know, the quarter system is effing exhausting and often prohibits us from doing those things we really want to do. However, because it’s “Break”, and because the lovely few of my saintly friends who actually follow this blog have been bugging me to get off my keister and actually write the darn thing, and because my brain is downright refusing to let me start the 25 page paper I’m supposed to write before the end of the holiday, and because it has recently been brought to my attention that I have atrocious time management skills, I’m excited to bring you the 2013 Winter  course guide.

Given that I didn’t have a spare week to sit around Starbucks and think up super-amazing themes like “the Muppets”, this time around I’m sticking with a classic: “When I Grow Up”. As always, you can rest assured that this course guide is poorly-informed, overly generalized, and rarely if ever politically correct. As always, I will accept no responsibility for any misery inflicted by taking any of these classes. So enjoy the post, enjoy the break, and – above all – enjoy the fact that we get to do this all over again after New Years. Cheers.


Pi Day, Pi Day, Gotta Get Down on Pi Day

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Stanford students get a little "irrational" about the pie generously provided by Stanford IEEE, producing a mini mob scene in the Packard building.

Got any nerdy pi jokes or factoids?  Share ’em in the comments!

Movies With Heart: Capping Off Valentine’s Day

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

As this Valentine’s Day is coming to a close why not wind down with a movie or two, or three?  Don’t worry, these aren’t the usual Nicholas Sparks picks.  Here is a quick list of movies, quirky and poignant, that won’t add to your toothache or your heartache.

“Lars and the Real Girl”:  Ryan Gosling is at his best (and his best is pretty darn good) in this touching, quiet movie.  This sleeper was overlooked and underrated.  Gosling plays a man who is painfully shy and must come to terms with being an adult with the help of his brother and sister-in-law, some kind friends, and a girl who is not entirely “real.”  One of the funniest parts is when Gosling quickly chucks a flower away in order for the girl he likes not to assume it was for her.

“Sense and Sensibility”:  “Pride and Prejudice” (the BBC version of course) is wonderful as well, but Emma Thompson arguably did a better job with “Sense and Sensibility” than Austen herself.  The cinematography is beautiful and sweeping, as is the soundtrack.  Kate Winslet and Thompson play Marianne and Elinor, sisters and best friends who are navigating the waters of upper crest society and marriage in a time when women were not able to even dream of becoming anything that they could call their own.  Elinor aptly states that it is “a bit bewitching” to think that one’s happiness rests on another person.  In this case, it is not hard to imagine and it is wonderful to watch.

“Once”:  This movie is a great surprise.  “Once” won the Academy Award for Best Song for the beautiful “Falling Slowly.” Falling Slowly, Once Lyrics The song could describe what one feels while watching the movie itself as two underdogs struggling to find their way find each other instead.  “Once” shows how we can indeed make a difference in someone else’s life, even if it is just through passing by.  Another strong aspect of the film is the music.  The lyrics are haunting, describing everything from heartbreak to discovery of self.

“Lost in Translation”:  Ships passing in the night seems to be a favorite subject in literature and films alike.  Sofia Coppola manages to do this subtly, though.  Scarlett Johansson (in her strongest role, possibly) and Bill Murray are two Americans who have trouble adapting while visiting Tokyo.  They both feel lonely in a city crowded with people and find some solace in each other.  These two have a connection right away even though the odds may not be in their favor.

“Roman Holiday”:  There has to be at least one classic pick, right?  “Roman Holiday” is full of fun and truths as well.  Gregory Peck (sigh) plays a journalist who believes he has landed a big story when Audrey Hepburn (playing a princess) lands on his doorstep.  In one day they find that they can relate to one another and learn to really care for each other.  The most memorable scene?  Watch it and find out (it is at the end). (more…)

A Valentine’s Day Reset

Monday, February 13th, 2012


In the words of famed social psychologist Pat Benatar, “love is a battlefield.”

Indeed, it seems that every year around February 14th, two camps pitch metaphorical tents and lob pithy arguments at one another, as both the happily romantically involved and the victims of SAD (singles awareness day) weigh in on the relevance or irrelevance of this candy-hyped holiday.

Fact or Fiction: discerning the reason for the season

Curious as to the origins of this spat, I went one deeper and checked out the origins of the holiday itself.  My discoveries were surprising, to say the least.  The only definitive fact about the origin of Valentine’s Day is that it honors two Christian martyrs (both named Valentine, of course) who were executed in the second and third centuries A.D.  Not only is there no evidence for some mystical monk sending love letters between star-crossed lovers: the notion of an amorous holiday recognizing violent religious persecution seems utterly… well, unromantic.

The most prevalent unsubstantiated myth suggests that Valentine was a priest who performed secret marriages for soldiers legally bound to celibacy.  Even this less-bloody story, like the martyrdom story, indicates a more important, more universal theme than the Hollywood-ized version of Cupid and candy hearts: the survival of love in the face of adversity.  Faith overcoming death, love overcoming law.

This greater, original theme suggests that Valentine’s Day is all-inclusive.  Whether you’re maintaining high school friendships despite thousands of miles of separation or pursuing classical flute training while balancing a heavy ChemE load, ultimately your passion has overcome your challenges.  Perhaps the best examples of this inextinguishable love are the hundreds and thousands of Stanford students who hurdled socioeconomic barriers to attend our University and pursue their love of learning.

Only one day to celebrate love? (more…)

Stereo Love: V-Day Playlists for the Lovers and the Loveless

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

I haven’t put a whole lot of thought into what persona I’ll be adopting for Valentine’s Day/Single’s Awareness Day (SAD) this year. I’ve done the couple thing. I’ve done the hating-on-anything-to-do-with-love-while-secretly-sending-myself-chocolate thing. At this point, I’m leaning towards ambivalence. As such, when I got inspired to do a playlist post by Kristi’s awesome article about failtastic lovesongs, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to go the “mushy” route or the “sardonically commenting on the absurdity of the holiday” route. So I went with both. One will make your significant other look deep into your eyes with misty longing or laugh whilst tenderly spooning. The other will make you want to a) key your ex’s car b) sit in bed with the  company of several pounds’ worth of Ghirardelli wrappers c) think to yourself “Heck YES I’m single and ready to mingle” or d) laugh uproariously at the concept of romantic love. Whatever you choose to jam out to this Tuesday, just remember that no one will love you until you learn to love yourself, you get 12 free condoms a quarter from Vaden, and that chocolate can stimulate all the serotonin you will ever need. Keep it classy, Stanford. (more…)

The Stanford Christmas Tree

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

I don’t know about anyone else, but when the holidays arrive, I gather candy and good cheer and want to share it with everyone. The most direct way to do this is to buy Christmas decorations. From tinsel and holly to lights and ornaments, all of it brings a smile to my face. That’s why year after year I’ve been disappointed at being unable to find any on our campus. During my one fruitless search I found gnomes shaped like trees, but nothing involving the holiday that honors the tree the most – Christmas. That’s why when I saw the Tree dressed up  like a Christmas Tree, it made my dead/finals week.

It's a bad angle but there is a Santa hat hanging from the tip of the tree.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, Happy Holidays Stanford!

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Check out this epic Christmas-themed flash mob:

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Safe travels, and have a wonderful break!

Top 13 Things to Make You Feel Productive When You Are Actually Procrastinating

Monday, December 5th, 2011

#1. Do your laundry. You can only turn your socks inside out for so long.

#2. Vacuum your room. Thoroughly enjoy the sound of all the little grainy particles getting sucked up through the tube.

#3. Download all of the updates your computer keeps reminding you about. Resist the reflex to hit “Remind Me Later”.

#4. Make/Confirm/Reconfirm your travel arrangements for Winter break. And Spring Break. And Summer break…

#5. Refill any prescriptions you might have.

#6. Create the perfect holiday playlist. Nothing rings in the holiday season like hearing “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” or “The Night Santa Went Crazy“.

#7. Find the perfect gift for that person who is impossible to buy gifts for.

#8. Figure out an exit strategy for when you run into that awkward ex over break.

No, you don't need a third glass of eggnog...

#9. Go to the gym/go for a run/do an ab workout. Armies of  gingerbread people are marching out of ovens as I write this. Here is my motivation.

#10. Buy/make stationary and/or thank-you notes. You’ll be needing them shortly.

#11. Call your parents/grandparents/other extended family. They love hearing from you and it has been a while…

#12. Download apps like Concentrate and/or SelfControl. Use them.

#13. Make a list of everything you have to do during dead week/finals and create a schedule for when you’ll get it all done. Starting… eventually.

Bonus! #14. Write a post for The Unofficial Stanford Blog. It works. Trust me.

Halloween Costumes: the End of the Innocence?

Monday, October 31st, 2011

"Sad USC Girl" would've been so easy!

Stanford, it seems, is losing its rally spirit.  Today I sat forlornly in the corner of CS107 lecture, the lone froggy in a sea of normally-dressed people, looking hopefully to the doors, awaiting a fellow spirited student.  No such individual arrived.  The outside world was no better, and by the time I went to lunch I felt foolish for even bothering.  While, as a friend of mine stated, “you always dress like this!” the point remains: on the one day a year when bizarre dress is encouraged, Stanford, lead university of the unorthodox, has failed to deliver.

Is rally dead?  I wondered.  Maybe I’ve got blinders on because, as a tour guide, 1.5 of my dorm room drawers are devoted to sequined, spandex, fluffy, feathered articles of clothing with no immediately obvious application.  Maybe I’m unique in my possession of bizarre regalia.  But still!  I thought.  No one tried?

Then it dawned on me: people probably aren’t wearing their costumes because they’re too inappropriate.

Sad as it is, ever since the advent of the Mean Girls generated formula of (lingerie + animal ears = costume), the selection of commercially available costumes for females has devolved into an endless stream of “Slutty _______” (fill in the blank with arbitrary occupation, animal, fictitious character, kitchen appliance, etc.).  When the tamest costume I found at the Halloween superstore last year was “Sexy Dorothy,” complete with 4 inch skirt and hooker heels, I knew something was rotten in the state of Denmark.

Sure, whatever, I understand that costume propriety is a function of rapidly deteriorating pop culture, and I get that maybe passing Halloween off as “Slut for a Day” might be construed as somehow liberating of societal norms.  But girls, we go to Stanford.  We know better.

Significantly more appropriate than most of what I saw on Friday.

It’s saddening to me because Stanford women are the lucky few.  While women in many nations and situations are confined to specific roles and ways of life based on their gender, we have the opportunity to become leaders of our generation, blasting through glass ceilings and shattering misconceptions about construing women as sex objects.  That is, until Halloween, when an endless stream of scantily-clad women parades down Palm Drive to Mausoleum like so many pieces of meat.

To me, it boils down to a matter of self respect.  When you look at your outfit, if you’re showing more cleavage than creativity, you’re doing a disservice to your intelligence and worth as an individual.  Stanford women are brilliant, motivated, and stereotype-busting role models to younger girls.  Don’t allow yourself to fall back into that stereotype for an evening just because it’s easy.

I’ll conclude with a piece of advice I gleaned from a good friend which is particularly applicable for Halloween.  “Always be yourself.  Unless you can be Batman.  Then definitely be Batman.”

Happy Halloween and goooooo Cardinal!!


Columbus Day at Stanford

Monday, October 10th, 2011

I had actually forgotten it was Columbus day until I went to the Stanford Shopping Center yesterday and saw that GAP was selling a whole bunch of expensive clothes for slightly less than the usual.  But I thought a lot about our continued celebration of Columbus Day when I saw the chalk messages that the Stanford Native community had written across White Plaza.  These messages ranged from the classic and simple (“Native Pride”) to the provoking (“Columbus Day: Celebrating Genocide Since 1492”), to the  factual (“When Columbus Landed in 1492 He Found Land; It Was Native Land”).  (FYI, I’ve added punctuation to give a sense of how these looked spelled out.)  I liked the display immensely, and I will remember it for a long time, even after the afternoon rain has smeared all the chalk (although I swear there is still a TWAIN!  from 2010 hanging around).  It was simple, truthful, and forced me to think about celebrating Columbus even as many of us dislike the historical figure and his extreme and systematic cruelty to the Native peoples he encountered.

Everyone has heard of the controversy around Columbus Day, but I think many people accept that it has become a tradition, a national holiday, a day to buy cheaper jeans.  While many people who paid attention in history class will remember Christopher Columbus as the enslaver of thousands,  America has chosen to remember him as a pioneer, a hero, a sort of 15th century entrepreneur.  Whether or not Columbus’ discovery of America was the sort of heroic act it’s often depicted as is debatable, that thousands of peaceful people were enslaved and brutalized under his command is not.

The chalk writing in White Plaza did not suggest a definitive course of action, a way to right this wrong.  We cannot drag Columbus before the International Criminal Court.  We cannot force King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to pay reparations to the descendants of those whose lives were ruined because of European invasion. We cannot restore the lives of those victims of genocide.  True, there are people today who are responsible for crimes against humanity who are still leading countries, unbothered or at least not seriously threatened.  But the Native community got it right–there is value in remembering the specific case of Christopher Columbus.   We cannot fix this part of the past, but we should remember that a distance of 500 years cannot turn cruelty into heroism.  We should not choose to ignore the unpleasant parts of our nation’s founding; false memories of the past obscure the issues of the present.  Thank you to the Stanford Native community for reminding us all of  this.

You’re Doing It Wrong: Dating and the Fairy Tale Phenomenon at Stanford

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Constant weddings on campus = no pressure, right?

At Stanford, as at many elite universities, there tends to be a predominant view that dating here is somehow flawed.  We’re working too hard, we claim, we don’t have time to develop meaningful relationships.  There’s no middle ground, others complain, where’s the route between frat party flings and near-obsessive-already-planning-the-wedding-in-Mem-Chu couplings?

And sure, there are more people who want to be in relationships than actually are.  Depending on your metrics, that might be sufficient data to prove the there’s-no-dating-at-Stanford hypothesis.

But I don’t think that dating at Stanford is fundamentally flawed.  I think that many of us are just going  about it the wrong way.

Like… only a little?

Artificial dating constructs don't work... but those purple boots sure do! I think I need a pair.

We Stanford students like for things to be effortless.  High school valedictorians, sports stars, musical prodigies – you name it, we’re used to things coming easily.  We focus on our academics and extracurricular activities and often assume that the rest will fall into place without any additional work on our part.

Cue, the very definition of half-hearted, lazy pursuit of meaningful relationships.  Oh, sure, it’s much easier to confess that crush under the guise of anonymity of the Internet.  But that post took you, what, 30 seconds to write?  With relationships, as with any other meaningful pursuits, you receive according to the effort you put into something.  So if your admiration for someone is really only worth a 30-second post, go for it.  And watch absolutely nothing happen.  Don’t accuse flirting of failing you – pin the blame on the sad excuse for a flirt medium in which you engaged.

In real life, there are no fairy godmothers to make your wishes come true.  If you want something to work out, TALK to the object of your affections.  Yeah, it’s difficult and potentially awkward, but we’re all too busy to assess the intricacies of chance meetings.  If you’re actually interested in someone, you really “need to be bold, need to jump in the cold water” and put yourself out there.  If you don’t put forth at least that much effort and interest, why should they?  And for the hesitant out there: honestly, what’s the worst that could happen?  The math is in your favor.  If it doesn’t work out with crush #1 or #2, there are over 15,000 other Stanford students to choose from.  There are plenty of fish in the sea.


KanYe Makes POWERFUL Comeback With New Single

Friday, May 28th, 2010

All those suckas that wrote Ye off can suck a pickle because Kanye is back!  “Power” will be bumping all memorial weekend long at every party so go download it right now.  Don’t believe me?  Maybe I need to turn on my KanYe caps and tell you that THE TIME FOR TAYLOR SWIFT IS OVER.  NOW WE CAN GET BACK TO LISTENING TO REAL MUSIC.  WEEZY MAY BE GONE BUT YEEZY WILL HOLD THINGS DOWN.  GO AHEAD AND LISTEN FOR YOURSELVES. UNTIL NEXT TIME, THANK YOU AND YOU’RE WELCOME!

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edit: Re-upped the video

TUSGraph: A Status Report on the Declaration of Independence

Monday, January 18th, 2010

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
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Living in the Stanford bubble, it’s easy to forget what we have a right to, and what we are just lucky to have. People often claim they have the ‘right’ to do something, but the cliché has devalued the essential rights given to man.
Being human doesn’t give us the right to an education. It doesn’t give us the right to be able to afford college. It doesn’t give us the right to eat good dining hall food. It doesn’t give us the right to choose what we want to learn.
Realizing what we are actually entitled to as humans, not as Stanford students, is important for two reasons: comprehending our unbelievably good fortune to have the individual freedoms we do, and comprehending the unbelievable suffering caused when even those most basic human rights are taken away from others.
I hope this last weekend gave everyone a chance to contemplate not only the rights taken away from those affected by the Haitian earthquake, but also the rights returned to Americans by Martin Luther King, Jr.

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