Posts Tagged ‘Summer’

From Coast 2 Coast on 2 Wheels: A Freshman’s Bike Trip Across America

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Reaching the California coast after 72 days on the road.

How far can you get in 72 days on a bike?

If you’re Taylor Burdge ’16, the answer is 3,886 miles and 19 states. This past summer, Taylor participated in a program called Bike and Build, which organizes cross-country bicycle trips to benefit affordable housing groups. She raised $12,145 for the cause, which was 270% of her original fundraising goal, and went all the way from Portland, ME to Santa Barbara, CA.

Talk about a full summer.

Essential to the trip were its 13 build days, in which Taylor and her fellow 32 riders pedaled to local housing groups to supply them with manual labor for their projects.

The tasks she and her fellow bikers undertook were not for the faint of heart: reconstructing a convent that would become a 10-family home, weed whacking and building sheds, putting up siding, using a 10-caliber nail gun to build compartments for building supplies, and demolishing a building that was going to be turned into apartment complexes.

“Bike and Build is wild. I have no idea where I’m sleeping tomorrow, what my next meal will be, or even what town I’ll be in. But the constant change keeps everything exciting.”

Bikers for hire.

This was not a slow crew, either. Taylor and her fellow riders would normally get up before 5:30am, and their typical pace was 15-18mph. The group even developed their own vernacular. Riding 100 miles in one day was called a “century ride.” Every three mornings, the bikers would go on a “rando-ride”…their numbers were randomly drawn from a hat, and they would ride with the corresponding group to avoid getting cliquey.

Taylor also kept a blog of her travels over the summer, which I urge you to check out. The posts are moving snapshots of America. If you quickly scan through them, you can watch the climate palpably change as she goes further south and west. You can picture her pack of merry builders battling heat, saddle sores, and flat tires, and hitting speeds of up to 50mph on downhills as they spend five weeks in the middle of the desert.


You Know You’re in Turkey When…

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

(An American of Turkish heritage in Turkey)

By: Peri Unver

*These observations are not generalizations but merely my own personal ones that I have made this summer.

1.  You take your life into your hands whenever you’re in a car as drivers think the middle of the
road is the way to go.  Also, it’s not a complete day until you’ve been honked at least forty times.

2.  You are greeted first by a hello, how are you, kiss on both cheeks, and a comment on how much
weight you’ve gained.

3.  You can fist-pump to the break-up songs.  At first, it’s hard to tell that the song is telling someone off and it’s unsettling to then hear “Shake your booty on the floor now” (inevitably in the remix).

4.  People on the street are gladly willing to help direct you someplace or help you get out of a
sticky parking situation.  However, smiling (especially in the grocery store) is seen as a sign of weakness.

5.  The food is mouth-watering good everywhere and hole-in-the-wall, home-food places are best
(as in New York).  Places to eat are so clean that even in the food court in the mall there are fresh, open salad bars and buffets.

6.  The color of the ocean simply cannot be replicated and it is easy to see why the name is
turquoise, or “Turkish blue.”  It is easy to scoff (especially when you’re from California) at those with surf boards asthere are no waves in Turkey.

7.  The understanding of making a line at a bank or another established location is a circle.

8.  The price of everything, from clothing to food, is negotiable.

9.  It is a prerequisite that you must be able to sing and dance in order to become a Turkish
citizen.  You must also know the lyrics to Turkish songs as questions about that are always asked on game shows.

10.  In almost anyTurkish home you enter someone will be able to read your fortune from Turkish
coffee grinds (“fal”).

11.  The concept of personal space is a foreign one in Turkey. Wherever you are, someone might be virtually sitting in your lap and not even notice it.

12.  When you are going to watch a show at night settle in because you’ll be there for the long
haul, at least three to four hours.  When asked if the show is still on the answer will always be yes.  (It’s no wonder when on the Turkish version of Wheel of Fortune one of the slots is “tell a secret” and song and dance breaks are taken frequently.)  Also, during commercial breaks, you can indeed make a sandwich, take a shower, visit a neighbor, and still be in time for the next portion of the show.

13.  The relatively new law (2005) requiring accessibility for people with disabilities unfortunately falls short, as I personally witnessed this summer as I used a wheelchair.  Almost everywhere is not
accessible and the ramps are of varying widths and scarily, angles.  (Places from the movie theater and even an orthopedist’s office have a hill of steps and no lifts, ramps, or even handrails.)

Even with all of its quirks, it is a beautiful country to visit with much history, nice people, and amazing food.  So hos geldiniz (welcome) to Turkiye!

Camp Stanford Checklist

Sunday, February 19th, 2012


Happy second Saturday!  First Sunday?  Either way, it’s a three day weekend!  Woooo!!  And you know what this means… time to bust out the Ray Bans and flip flops for some early season sunning.

As spring break approaches and the days get longer, you may find yourself with increasing time and impetus to enjoy the outdoor resources Stanford has to offer.  To help out the freshmen and anyone else new to the notion of Camp Stanford (the theory that in the absence of homework, Stanford is basically an amazing summer camp for twenty-year-olds), here are some suggestions from the peanut gallery on how to maximize your sunshine.

  • Frisbee:  necessary for both daytime and nighttime use.  For after-dark Frisbee golf, I highly recommend one of the light-up ones (glow in the dark ones fade too quickly per “charge”).  There isn’t any one defined “course” for Frisbee golf on campus (though the AxeComm has a pretty good one here), so I recommend just starting at your dorm and connecting the dots from landmark to landmark until you arrive at a fun fountain to splash in.  Be careful in avoiding fragile or damageable targets.
  • Bubbles:  for chillin’ in the Claw, around the Claw, on a roof, or in your dorm courtyard, bubbles are ideal for blowing off some post-midterm steam.  Bubble wands gain you extra awesome points.
  • Outdoor-friendly speakers:  plugs aren’t quite abundant on the Oval, and laptop speakers rarely cut it.  Find some hearty blasters to connect your iProduct to, and jam away!  (the Apple Store in the Stanford Shopping Center has one of the better selections I’ve seen)  Speaking of music, with great speakers you’ll definitely need a… (more…)

Crônicas do Brasil: The “Real” Deal

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Downtown São Paulo.

Tudo bem, Stanford? I write to you from Brazil, where I have spent the past seven weeks working for a commercial real estate company in São Paulo.

Before the Brazilian winter ends, I intend to write a couple posts about my observations and experiences here. The first will give some timely updates on the state of Brazil’s economy, with a focus on what I have noticed in person. In a later post or multiple posts, I shall address Brazilian culture, the Portuguese language, and some overall takeaways from my time in Sampa. All questions and comments are welcome.

Robust Economy

São Paulo (SP) is unquestionably booming. Lots of construction–particularly of high-rises and large shopping malls–and a flourishing nightlife indicate the city’s increasing wealth. SP is a car-centric city; even the poorest households in the C segment favelas will have a car. Every gas station provides ethanol. As in the U.S., credit cards are accepted at almost every place where you could conceivably spend money, except at some cheaper restaurants. Unlike the U.S., nearly every card transaction is conducted with a portable point-of-sale, separate from a computer or centralized system, which frequently makes the transactions faster.

Furthermore, Brazil’s unemployment rate just went from 6.4% to 6.2%. Residents of SP work as hard and long as New Yorkers, and they have a strong sense of national pride and Brazil’s increasing importance in the world.  (more…)

The Countdown Begins…Now!

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Do you know what this week is?

Ok, for those of you who aren’t obsessively checking their calendars like I am, this week marks the midway point of summer.  Yes people, summer does come to an end and for many of us, we are in that odd point of the summer where many of our friends are prepping to return to school while an endless august stretches out before us.

But don’t freak out, September isn’t here yet, which means there’s still plenty of time to get the most out of the summer before returning to the Stanford grind.

So we at TUSB are bringing you Back-to-School Boot Camp (and for people who aren’t fans of the military, please don’t get up in arms about the name, it just sounds good), just our small way of helping you—our valued readers come to school being the best you can be (ok, no more military puns, they’re just too easy).

First up, how to get the best out of the rest of your summer

This is something I’m struggling with personally, especially since my summer is ending much sooner than I’m prepared for.  But to calm my anxieties, I came up with a personal To-Do list containing everything I want/need to do before the summer ends.

I considered posting my personal version, but at 33 “to-dos”, I thought for everyone else’s sanity it would be best if I didn’t. Instead, I’m doing a much better condensed version with 10 Most Important Things needed to have an amazingly awesome jealousy-inducing summer 2011.

Things TO DO Before School Starts:

10) Sleep!

9) Get a tan – Now I’m not advocating baking in the sun or lying under ultraviolet lights for extended periods of time. However, I am encouraging everyone to go outside. This is summer, so there’s no excuse for having the sickly pale skin indicative of staying indoors all summer staring at a computer. Save that for the school year when you have to spend 23 out of 24 hours at Meyer just to get through midterms.

8 ) See Harry Potter – I personally have yet too because I’m too much of baby to watch my childhood end with the final film credits, but everything must come to an end

7) Go on a Road Trip – Think of all those classic movies that extol the virtues of hitting the road and living life spontaneously. Follow in the footsteps of the greats, and create your own summer adventures that will create memories that will last forever. Even if you don’t have access to a car, be brave and see how far you get with public transportation (trust me, you will have stories)

6) Get your Notebook on (i.e. Find yourself a summer boo-thing) – Okay, so you maybe you’re not spending the summer by the beach where Ryan Gosling or Rachel McAdams are just hanging out, but you know you’ve had your eye on that cute co-worker for a minute.  But unless you’re 1000% positive you’ve met you’re true soul mate, just make sure you prepared to leave he/she behind before school starts

5) Go to a concert – This is the height of concert season, so take advantage of it.  See your favorite artist or band live, it’ll definitely be worth it.

4) Family Bonding – You’re not going to see them for a while, so do something with them, at least for a day.  They’ll appreciate that time you took to spend with them, and this can also double as a great opportunity to learn how to do your own laundry.

3) Function with friends!

2) Get opinionated – Summer is the perfect time to get up-to-date on everything that’s happening in the world.  Stanford is the ultimate bubble, which means we often are the last to know about major events, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less interested or invested in current events than folks in the real world.  So take this time to read (for fun!) and discover what’s going on all around you.

1) Get you summer story together – When you get to school, the single-most asked question will be “How was your summer?’ Of course, you can answer with the standard “It was _______ (fill-in whatever adjective that works best)” but what people really want to hear is a great story. So before you step foot on Stanford’s campus, get together a 2-3 pithy anecdotes about you did so you can impress everyone you see.

You win, Tablets.

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

So on my way home after finals this past Tuesday, I had the misfortune to have to carry 2 laptops (both partially broken) in my airport-dubbed “personal item” bag. Carrying one computer is already a pain, but after 2 computers and over 6 hours of getting on an off planes, my muscles felt like jelly.

The entire time I had serious envy of the crazy amount of people whipping out iPads and Kindles. And I also felt serious amazement. When had everyone jumped on the tablet bandwagon? I mean I understood that people were buying them off the shelves but it wasn’t until my semi-bulky laptop ran out of battery after an hour and a half that I finally saw why people could love them. If I just want to watch a movie or read, why would I want my whole laptop when I could something shiny and slim in the palm of my hand? I wasn’t working on America’s next greatest novel on the plane so what need did I have some keyboard?

So now with that miserable experience behind me, and my new-found love of Angry Birds thanks the Google Chrome extension so in addition to my current summer plans, I think I’m going to finally take a look at the options for tablets and/or e-readers. I tend to distrust new technologies that everyone loves but never really needed before. But my mistrust died with my arms. I’d love to hear some thoughts on the current tablet-PCs out right now.

What do you consider to be the best Tablet-PC?

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O, and for those of you who’ve never played Angry Birds, here is a cute introduction:

Eugenia Maluf: I Know What you Did this Summer

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

You don’t get to dress up in semi-authentic CaliforniaMex historical costumes for your summer internship, but Eugenia Maluf does. (That’s right. Be jealous.) She also teaches children about the history and ecology of the Presidio in San Francisco.

Eugenia Maluf '11 (center) and her co-workers dress up for a program

1. Who are you?

Who am I? I’m Eugenia motherfuckin’ Maluf, that’s who. Don’t ever forget it. I’m also a rising senior studying History and Spanish.

2. What are you doing this summer?

I am working for the National Park Service in San Francisco. I work with Group Programs and Community Outreach in the Presidio.

3. So what do you actually do?

I do many things. Three or four times a week, I lead or assist in education programs for youth groups who visit the Presidio and Crissy Field. So far, I’ve done programs about the Buffalo Soldiers, native plants of the Presidio, bugs, and the Spanish colonial period of San Francisco. I’ve also compiled lesson plans for many of the educational programs as well as improve learning materials for these programs. Sometimes, I even dress up in nineteenth century Mexican clothing and try to convince eight year olds that I am over 200 years old (they do not believe me).

4. Other than work, what are you doing?

I live in the Presidio, so I spend a lot of time getting bitchin’ views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the ocean. I also go to a lot of concerts, eat expensive sandwiches, judge people in the Mission, and do other things that some people would label, “pretentious” or “bougie.”

5. Cream cheese or Dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs. All day. Everyday.

Great Foreign Film Series on Campus This Summer

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

If you’re around and into good movies, the Division of International Comparative and Area Studies (ICA; yeah, I haven’t heard of it before either) is putting on a film series featuring a slate of well-renowned recent foreign films. The film series, “Global Intimacies: Six Films Portraying How Global Changes Transform Kinship, Passion, and Friendship” will run every Wednesday starting tomorrow (July 7).

Departures showcases some pretty stellar cello-based filmmaking.

It also includes two films I highly recommend: The Lives of Others and Departures, and it gives me an excuse to promote these movies to you:

The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen, Germany, 2006; showing July 7) won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. This is not normally the most astounding accomplishment, but it beat out another great movie, Pan’s Labyrinth. Written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (who is lucky to not be an athlete, because that name is not fitting on the back of any jersey), it is an enthralling account of a writer’s life in East Germany.

Departures (Okuribito, Japan, 2008; showing August 18) won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. The acting in Departures is pretty bad (the lead role is played by a former boy band star), but the clever storyline and cello pieces make the movie thoroughly enjoyable.

The series also includes Sin Nombre (Rotten Tomatoes score 88%) and Tulpan (RT 97%). If that’s not recommendation enough, my mother saw Tulpan and thought it was good.

The details of the series:


And if you haven’t seen Toy Story 3 yet, you should probably do that first.