Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Top 10 Things I Observed While Sitting at The Claw

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

A couple days ago, I decided to break the time-honored tradition of napping until 9pm and actually spent my afternoon outside. I walked to The Claw and sat. Just sat and observed. And I sat on that stone bench for almost three hours, as sunlight, water mist, and teenage pheromones bathed my skin. Here are a few observations I made during that time:

10. There are a lot of BMX riders on campus

Things needed to do this: 1. helmet 2. shin guards 3. severe disregard for gravity

Does Stanford attract more thrill-seeking cyclists during the summer, or are they more visible because there are fewer people on campus? I saw a least 4 different BMXers pass through my perch outside the bookstore. Gnarly.


9. People run

This is nothing new; Stanford students can jog year-round, thanks to almost-perpetual sunshine and ample trails. But I’m not just talking about the running club (which I was inadvertently part of, as they apparently meet near where I was sitting), but random people. In jeans. One was running to the post office, ostensibly to mail a package before it closed. Another because–I’m not sure. It looked like he suddenly realized he could get places in less time by simply moving his legs faster. If time is money, and running saves time, then these people were coupons still ridiculous-looking.


PAC-12 Network: Plus or Minus?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

It is my first real week of summer.  And yes, I am already bored.  My general routine for curing boredom involves 1) indulging in crappy TV 2) attempting to repair my sleep debt (impossible) and 3) keeping up with my sports teams like no one’s business.  Being that I’m not emotionally invested in basketball (read: I’ll-watch-it-but-eh), that leaves me Giant’s baseball and my football teams, the Niners and of course our Stanford football team.

Amidst my avid googling, I came across this SF Chronicle article.  It notes that our first football game of the season (at home v. San Jose State) has been moved from Saturday, Sept. 1st to the night before at 7pm.  That is right, ladies and gents, we will have a Friday season opener.  While this may not be that significant in and of itself, I think it gives us Stanford fans something to think about.

While Friday home opener is a little disappointing, the change itself is not the most significant part of the story, especially since not many students will be able to attend anyway (you can count me there).  It leaves me to question, how many more times/dates will be switched on us to satisfy the PAC-12 Network?  Looking at other team’s schedules, we aren’t the only ones to have Friday night games (which I’m not that opposed to. High school anyone?), but some teams even have Thursday games scheduled.

With late Thursday classes and sections, I wonder, if we do have a home game yanked to a Thursday, how many people will we lose?  How many season ticket holders won’t go because of work early the next morning? How many students will have a mandatory attendance section?

Our home game schedule already sucks, as noted by Kabir earlier this year (article here).  We have only three home games while school is in session.  USC happens before school starts.  Big Game was moved to… OCTOBER.  While I may be a tad (okay, REALLY) emotional about this since it will be my last football season as an undergrad, I still feel like any Stanford undergrad who attends home games probably feels like they got cheated…just a little bit.

The upswing to all of this, of course, is that every PAC-12 football game will be televised nation-wide, which is great for revenues and visibility and especially great for Stanford alums that live out of area.  This is an amazing perk and will be great for the conference and for our school.  I am personally hoping for a full season of hard-hitting football in which last year’s middling PAC-12 contenders really step up, and we give SEC fans something to think about.

Still is the weird schedule worth the perks?  I, for one, am on the fence.  Let me know what y’all think!

Do you think the PAC-12 Network brings more good than bad?

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This Week In Stanford 6/4/12 – 6/11/12

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Hello Stanford! It’s Finals Week. The summer is coming and while I will have a few moments of glorious freedom on weekends, for the most part I’ll be working and thus very busy. If you want to keep up with all things happening in and around the Farm, check out Stanford News. Have a fabulous summer break!

The 4th Annual Unabridged List of Suggested Dorm Themes

Monday, May 28th, 2012

As an RA this past year, I can tell you one thing: puns are hard. Coming up with a clever theme for your dorm is a lot of pressure, and can cause an unnecessary amount of stress (because heaven knows you won’t be stressed during the year). That’s where we at TUSB come in. Below, you’ll find perfectly useable themes for your dorm or house; upperclassmen, feel free to suggest them to your new house staff by emailing them nonstop and posting the themes you like on your houses’ Facebook groups. They really really like it when you do that. Trust me, I’m an RA.

This is the fourth iteration of the list (click to see the suggested themes from the first, second, and third), and the first without the guidance of the incomparable Josh Freedman, to whom I owe my career as a comedy writer (for the Robber Barons and TUSB), my ability to use WordPress, as well as my second-born child. Hope this lives up to your vision.

Special thanks to Jasmine Magbutay and the Robber Barons for your help and support; I cannot, in good conscience say that I thought up my personal favorite theme, and it makes me sad/so overwhelmingly joyful to admit that. Anyways, feel free to comment on your favorites, or suggest better themes for next year. Without further ado, here are the themes I am suggesting for the entire Stanford campus next year. RAs and house staff, let’s make this dream come true.

Arrillaga is so mainstream.



Wilbur: Wilbur



Overheard At Stanford

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Talking in the Toyon lounge at 3 AM, attempting to complete homework…

Ryan Landron: “Philip Glass is the man.”

Friend: “Philip Glass IS the man.”


Friend2: “But all of Philip Glass is the same.”

Ryan: “Bro, he’s a minimalist. What do you expect him to do?”

Friend2: “I wish I was a minimalist, then girls would be like…’what do you expect him to do?'”



This Week In Stanford 3/20/12 – 4/2/12

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Happy Spring Quarter, Stanford! I have more news from the past few weeks to give you a glimpse of all things Stanford.

  • Dean Julie is a poet and now we all know it. Stanford’s beloved dean of freshman and undergraduate advising will be stepping down from her position this summer in order to pursue an MFA, starting this fall. Good luck, Dean Julie!
  • Speaking of poets, California’s new Poet Laureate is Juan Felipe Herrera, the first Latino person to hold the position. He’s also a Stanford alumnus. We may be making waves in Silicon Valley, but we’re also changing the art world.
  • We love rankings and lists. And more than that we love being at the top of them. Yet, Stanford professor Matthew Jackson is calling out society on its need to put everything in numerical order. The rankings that were  supposed to celebrate excellence, may be stifling choice. It makes you think twice about those Top 10 iTunes app lists. You may find a game just as awesome as Angry Birds, if only you looked past the #10 slot.
  • The banking world (okay, maybe just Goldman Sachs) was stunned when Greg Smith published a very public, very disparaging resignation later on If you would like to learn more about the man behind the words, here’s a profile on the former Stanford student.
  • I would like to extend a warm welcome to the Class of 2016! Although people say it every year, with an acceptance rate of 6.6%, it really is getting harder to get in. TUSB and the rest of campus can’t wait to introduce you to the all the wonders that are Stanford.
  • Some people dream about being there the moment the universe was created. Before, it was an esoteric, impossible pondering. But thanks to some computer savvy scientists, you can watch a screening  of it at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The short visualizations are based on calculations from the latest physics theories. SLAC is now hosting The Big Bang – the  3D video.
  • Facebook feels like only they can ‘spy’ on their users – employers need to respect their employee’s privacy. Facebook gave a stern warning to companies who are “shoulder surfing” or demanding the password to their employees’s private  social networking accounts. Stanford privacy researchers agree – this trend may be the beginning of a dangerous slippery slope.


It’s Called Parents’ Weekend After All; a look at the parents who go childless

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

At the end of every February, 3,000 proud Cardinal parents flood campus to attend classes, cheer on Stanford sports, and, of course, take their students out to dinner—all part of the annual red carpet production: Parents’ Weekend.

Families attribute varying degrees of importance to the event; some prefer to visit during a less-crowded weekend, some make travel plans far in advance, and a whole other category of parents go so far as to attend even when their kid isn’t around!

My parents fell in the middle category for my first two years at Stanford and drove up from Santa Cruz to take part in the festivities. “We look forward to getting the schedule every year as if it’s a menu for a gourmet meal,” said my mom, Shani. And this year, even though I’m studying off-campus at Stanford in Washington for the quarter, my parents kept their perfect attendance record and joined the ranks of the most committed Parents’ Weekend attendees. “It is, after all, called Parents’ Weekend,” my mom said, “and we’re Stanford parents no matter where on the globe you are.”

Proud parents of Lea Gee-Tong ('13) at Parents' Weekend--without Lea!

As it happens, my parents don’t even stand among the most die-hard of those who attend when their students are studying abroad. Last year, when Kelly Vicars (’13) was abroad in Paris, her dad, Jim, flew all the way from Colorado to attend the event! Once a Stanford student himself, he admits that while part of the allure was in “wanting to walk the same grounds as Andrew Luck,” he also finds attending classes to be “incredibly expansive, thought-provoking, and stimulating.”

When Kelly is on campus, such as this year, spending time with her and meeting her friends and their parents is at the top of Jim’s Parents’ Weekend agenda. And while he certainly missed his daughter last year, he managed to put a positive spin on his solo attendance by remarking on how much he saved by not taking her out to dinner!

Karen and Cliff from the East Bay are the enthusiastic parents of Lea Gee-Tong (’13), who’s also in Washington, D.C. with me this quarter. They love the atmosphere created by an abundance of Stanford parents on the Farm and wrote me an e-mail to this effect from their iPhone while sitting in a Parents’ Weekend class: “There’s a different (and quite wonderful) vibe to the campus during Parents’ Weekend,” they shared.

The two split up their schedule to tackle a long list of enticing events, including a variety of classes, and convened for key events like “A Conversation for Junior Parents.” “It’s fun being a student for a day!” they said. “We only have four chances to attend a PW and we didn’t want to miss one!”

Karen and Cliff also attended an LGBT community center reception and took pride in talking about their daughter with her peers and co-workers who were surprised to see them. Best of all, Lea’s parents made up for her absence by taking her friends to lunch.

To all those parents missing Stanford when your students are abroad, these parents agree: “Don’t even hesitate, just go.” Perhaps the Parents’ Weekend coordinators will even instate a new event for childless parents! If only financial aid packages included parent visits, too.

If you can make it to the Farm, act fast—Lea’s parents already reserved their room for next year at the Stanford Guest House!

This Week In Stanford 2/27/12 – 3/5/12

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

It’s petition season! Although many people consider this the season of Lent, or the advent of spring, at Stanford it is a time to blindly sign petitions for groups asking for special fees. Whether it’s for new costumes for a dance team, or a Segway, chances are you will not fully understand what you’ve endorsed. This is especially true since the petitions are open and a good friend can give you a guilt trip when you’re not one of the first people to sign your name. Here’s to the beginning of ASSU election time!

If you want a list of something you will read, check out the news below.

  • Despite how much people mock it, Valley Girl slang is setting the vocal trends for our generation. Rather than a mistake, it’s a tool  with a “stylistic end.” Linguistics Professor Penny Eckert chimed in to say how young women are setting the standards for how people talk. I have no idea whether this is good or bad.
  • The opening of the Bing Concert Hall getting closer and closer. In anticipation of a summer completion,  officials have released a listing of the concert hall’s first performances. Opening with Stanford performances alongside the SF Symphony, this venue will host shows from Yo Yo Ma, Los Lobos, and Glenn Kotche all within the first few months.
  • Scientists have found a new kind of  planet, and we’re not talking about Pluto here. Researchers from the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics now predict that there are nomad planets, distinct from stars, floating through our galaxy. This could change our understanding of space and the Big Bang. It also shows that term planet is starting to encompass more and more of those objects scientists are finding in space.
  • Before the upcoming election, Jay Roach ’79 reminded the Stanford  community about our last major political race through the pre-screening of his movie the Game Change. The producer claims that it’s a “factually accurate” account of how Sarah Palin was chosen as John McCain’s running mate. You can determine if that’s true by checking out the real premiere on March 10th on HBO.
  • My next piece of news isn’t actually Stanford-related but I think it merits mentioning. Pinterest is one of my favorite new distractions and I know many other students that have been caught in its web. BUT if you’re a guy and you don’t like wading through the clothes and cupcakes on the original Pinterest, I recently discovered It was E-Week  last week; I think the site is fun example of entrepreneurship.


Spring into Spring with the 2012 Course Guide

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Think you know all the ins and outs of spring’s awesome courses?

Story. Of. My. Life.

Ha. Think again. Here, for your pleasure, I have painstakingly compiled a list of the hands-down most awesome, useful, compelling, frightening, GER-fulfilling, enjoyable classes you could ever imagine. Remember  before Chem 31, Math 51, and IHUM… back when you applied to Stanford? Remember how you raved about how excited you were for the “engaging classes”? After reading this article, you’re going to realize you weren’t just saying that. Stanford is killing it next quarter in terms of super-interesting classes, and you have the opportunity to get in on the action. I know Camp Stanford is tempting, but after reading this article, you might actually want to bulk up your course load with some of these. And, speaking of Camp Stanford, the categories are…

Camp Stanford: Whether you’re trying to recover from the carnage of your winter course load or just getting a jump-start on summer laziness/craziness, here are the best classes to keep the thoughts of warm breezes and fun-in-the-sun swirling in your head until June…

  • EARTHSYS 180B: Principles and Practices of Sustainable Agriculture: A course that lets “The Farm” live up to its name. Get outside and onto Stanford’s community farm and others in the area. Enjoy the sun on your neck and a little dirt on your nose. (3-4 units, multiple times)
  • ATHLETIC 80: Lifeguard Training: Didn’t snag the Google internship you wanted? No sweat. Speaking from personal experience, I can attest that lifeguarding is a solid career choice for those  looking to dip their toes in the real world. Make decent cash, get the tan of your life (and hopefully not melanoma… sunblock, guys!) and know that you can save a life if need be.  (2 units, T/Th 12-2, fee)

    Once upon a time...

  • ATHLETIC 51: Beginning Golf: If you were able to make it into this class, I commend you with my highest honors. (1 unit, multiple times, fee)
  • ATHLETIC 320: Backpacking: You might have given up Stanford Sierra Camp to work for a start-up, but maybe this class can scratch your outdoorsy itch before you sell your soul for equity. (1 unit, M 7-9:30) (more…)

Keep it civil, please

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

DeLong's email attacking SMD

Dan Ashton is the current deputy chair of the ASSU Senate.

Mudslinging began in the ASSU Presidential race even before TUSB could blog about the race.

In the included email to students, Daniel DeLong personally attacked current ASSU Vice-President Stewart MacGregor-Dennis when discussing an unbiased event for the upcoming elections.

The context makes it worse: DeLong and SMD are probably running against each other next year.* The attack was, in effect, a negative campaign message.

An apology was issued by DeLong later the same day, saying that he never wished to “tarnish the reputation” of SMD.

[EDIT: removed additional commentary about the apology]

I hope everyone remembers that in a STUDENT Government, student body unification — not divisiveness — is the ultimate goal.

As a result, I really hope this is the last personal attack we see.

This Week In Stanford 2/7/12 – 2/13/12

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Love is in the air, and chocolate covered strawberries are invading TAP. Other people may show their love through gifts and over-the-top planning, but I’m going to share my love for Stanford with facts.

  • Happy Birthday Stanford Review! Our only conservative newspaper, founded by Peter Thiel himself, has just celebrated its 25th anniversary.
  • Alumnus Ramon Saldivar was honored with a National Humanities Medal from President Obama this morning.  Just another humanities win for Stanford.
  • The achievement gap is growing. Unlike the uneven representation between races, a Stanford study has found the problem now lies in a disparity between income levels. The rich are out pacing the poor in education.
  • Speaking of being poor, tuition is going up by 3% as of next year.  The only good news is that Stanford managed to raise $253.7 million dollars over the past few years to help students who need it.
  • When I first heard of the Ronald McDonald house, I feared it had something to do with the bringing a Mickey D’s to Stanford’s campus. I might be ok with an In N Out, but never a McDonald’s. And then I learned that it’s actually living quarters for patients and their families at the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital!  And lucky for those families, they are once again planning to expand.
  • Another congratulations are in order – Matt Olsen, ’14, represented Stanford in Jeopardy‘s college championship edition. He did an amazing job making it to the semi-finals.
  • If you think your cat is driving you crazy, you may be right – literally.  It seems that bacteria spread from your cat may actually be leading people into doing self-destructive things.

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…)

Before Traveling, Check for Manifestação

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

This quarter, I am studying abroad in Madrid.  We only have class Mon-Thurs, so the majority of us use our time over the weekends to travel, myself included.  This past weekend, I decided to travel to Lisbon with some friends.  It is a beautiful city with great food (I highly recommend it), and its friendly people and low prices, at least in comparison to Madrid, quickly won our group over.  We had a jam-packed schedule, as we were only in Lisbon from Thursday afternoon to Saturday afternoon.  As Saturday winded to a close and we were walking to our hostel to get our bags and head to the airport, our group gave ourselves a solid pat on the back.  In a mere 3 days, we had seen all that we set out to see, ate some fantastic food, and met some incredible people.  We had planned so well…. or so we thought.

As we were walking to our hostel, we noticed a fair amount of people in the streets, a pleasant contrast to the relative emptiness of Madrid’s streets on the weekend, and in particular, a small group of protesters in Terreiro do Paço square.  We figured this was normal, especially since the Portuguese economy is not doing any better than the Spanish economy (to learn about that, go read some of George’s old posts).  In fact, Lisbon’s walls and streets are filled with graffiti and posters, proclaiming things like, “Money is taken from the poor and given to the bankers.  More hours.  Less pay.  Less life!”

As we exited the hostel and got ready to head to Terreiro do Paço square, a hub for buses and the nearest bus stop for the bus to the airport, we realized that there were an increasing number of people in the street…and an increased police presence.  In fact, Terreiro do Paço square had been blocked off by the police and streets were being closed for the incoming masses of protesters.

What we expected to see (image from Wikipedia)

What we actually saw (image from Reuters)








We were in the middle of a manifestação, or protest. Not prepared for the chaos about to ensue, we figured we would head to the closest square, where we hopefully could catch a bus or take the train or metro to the airport.

Image from the International Business Times

Rolling suitcases in hand, we ran through the crowded streets in the opposite direction of the march of protesters that was headed from the outskirts to Terreiro do Paço square.  All ages of people were in the streets, shouting, holding signs.  Some wore masks, impersonating Guy Fawkes, who has become a symbol of anti-greed.

The manifestação had been called by the CGPT, or Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores Portugueses, to protest the austerity measures that had been taken on by the Portuguese government last May in exchange for a 78 billion dollar loan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.  These austerity measures included an increase in sales taxes and increase in public transportation fares, and salary reductions.  More controversially, the government has lengthened workday hours without additional compensation, cut holidays,  and reduced compensations for fired workers.  Since these measures, the economy has only worsened, with employment hitting around 13%.  (more…)

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Meanwhile, at Stanford...

Anyone know the scoop on Mr. Fire and Brimstone here? Freedom of speech debate aside, you have to give him credit for the sign…

Stanford Challenge Accepted

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Unbeknownst to most students, yesterday was a day of celebration. Our school’s officials, faculty, alum, donors and more had an event to honor the end of the incredibly successful Stanford Challenge. By raising $6.2 billion dollars, exceeding the University’s goal of $4.3 billion dollars, the campus has not only maintained its grandeur during tough economic times, but has been rejuvenated in front of our very eyes.

This was one of my favorite statistics.

Even though President Hennessy sent out an email yesterday sharing the story, I don’t know if the average student checking their email understood the magnitude of what was accomplished. We may have a healthy endowment, but this was still the most money raised in a university campaign, ever. Be proud, Stanford.

But it’s not enough to just talk about the Stanford Challenge. I think it helps to see the results. This campaign has shaped the Stanford experience current students are all living, right now. If you were curious about current or past construction sites you’ve seen around campus, I’ve listed  an explanation and snapshot of a few of the projects below. If you want more details, make sure to check out the Challenge’s website. (more…)