Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fall 2015 course load forecasting

In about a week and a half, I'll be starting my senior year of college. Without a doubt, this final hurrah at UC Berkeley will differ from the previous three years, most obviously due to the (hopefully) tremendous influence of out-of-state interviews at medical schools, which did inform the way I selected my classes. I've also been afflicted with a sense of wistfulness, of lost opportunities for boundless intellectual expansion that high school painted my undergrad education to be. Perhaps this will be the year where I'll finally live out that dream.

Without further ado:

Cell Biology for Engineers (4 units, letter graded): to fulfill my bioengineering laboratory course requirement. It's been eons since I've been in wet lab, and while I am not thrilled, this class is reportedly fun and effective at building a practical skillset. However, the mandatory 4-hour lab block will be a sure obstacle in scheduling interviews (I hope not)

Biological Performance of Materials (4 units, letter graded): another bioengineering class. Though I semi-audited a  class about mechanical testing of materials and last semester's cell and tissue engineering class had a solid amount of materials science, I've been eager to jump back into a materials course. A pal from my research lab and possibly my grad student mentor from that same lab will be taking this class as well

American Environmental and Cultural History (4 units, P/NP): most people I know completed the university American Cultures requirement as freshmen, but I've been procrastinating. Though the prevailing opinion is to take a big, easy, introductory sociology or anthropology class for an easy A, I've been waiting to find an AC that strikes my interest and fits my schedule. Easiness be damned since I'm not taking it for a letter grade anyhow. Yes! Senioritis lives on, but for practical purposes, I'll have less time than ever this semester, and I certainly don’t want to have the burden of writing articulate, well-researched/reasoned papers!

Environmental Philosophy and Ethics (4 units, P/NP): bioengineering majors are required to take an ethics class. My boyfriend coerced me (successfully) into taking this class with him, though I cannot fathom why he wants to take it for a letter grade. This class is mildly interesting to me, and though I do like the prospects of having course material support when I have to miss class, the alternative seems much more appropriate for my scholastically lazy attitude

Seminar on Social, Political, and Ethical Issues in Health & Medicine (3 units, P/NP): now this is the alternative. It's a 3-hour seminar series with no assignments. It's meducational, very interesting and popular, and relevant to my future. What stopped me from enrolling in this class first (unit cap on enrolling in classes until Aug. 17) was a concern about the grading scheme. If it's by attendance, then I may be screwed over by interviews. Thus, I enrolled in the above class just to be safe, and will drop either this one or the class above when I decide which one I prefer

If I have time time, I'll audit a Spanish class.

I'm not sure what this course load will be like. With so many P/NP units, how heavy will this burden actually be? Will my dreams of a chill senior year be dashed by the hectic interview season? Am I overestimating my ability to net interviews? Time will tell. However, the stark difference between this schedule and its predecessors is its remarkable lack of technical classes. I've taken 4 techs in a semester several times, and even those with 3 have been tough to bear (Spring 2015, with 3 techs + 5 letter graded units of Español). I'm so used to going full throttle with my schedule that having something lightweight is putting me off-kilter before instruction even begins.

Of course, research, clinic stuff, and MD application cycle 2016 will have more opportunities to intervene this semester, so I'll need to stay alert and ready to put some serious work in. Diligence is the engineering major's virtue.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sullen summer day

I fell hard for the skater/fit-and-flare trend, and this garment is but one of my troop of dark blue dresses. The fabric, as you may be able to tell, is yet another trendy trait: scuba (neoprene), love it or hate it. It gives this dress structure, and while ZZ and I disagree whether it looks old-fashioned or futuristic, it looks different.

My issue with this dress was simply how do I even wear this? None of my shoes looked right with it, the material retains heat while the cut leaves me with cold shoulders, and the print demands attention. I saw a girl walking about campus with some brown fabric boots and a leather jacket over this dress and I was perplexed.

Once I found the right shoes, though, things became simple. Why complicate things at all? Dress + shoes = outfit. I own no accessories or jewelry, and this dress is articulate on its own. What does it say? It flatters my figure, which is to say, it hides where my legs begin and accentuates the length of my arms and neck. The fabric is heavy and sturdy enough where a gust of wind wouldn't faze me in the least. It's long enough where I can sit down in any way I please. With the right shoes, dresses like this are the easiest thing to wear: crawl through it and go (though the high collar does have two annoying-to-do buttons at the back).

There's an aesthetic and a MAC collection titled 'Moody Blooms,' which always comes to mind when I look at this dress. Though I wish the flowers were bigger and less Forever 21, I like the color and print just fine. As I try to move towards a more beloved and consistent wardrobe, I will analyze outfits that I feel confident, attractive, and happy in. To me, I am in power and comfortable in this kind of a get-up. It's something that doesn't take much thought to put on, and though I hesitated to wear it in spring semester because I thought it looked a bit too dressy, screw that. I wear what I like.

Though I think it looks vaguely sci-fi and futuristic, I do feel like this when I walk slowly and purposefully in this outfit.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Stationery acquisitions

Except for the leftmost journal and postcard, all items pictured here were acquired within the past few weeks. This rare rainfall of paper goods is worthy of a blog post, I insist.

Clockwise from the far left:

1. William Morris 'Windrush' midi format journal, Paperblanks: Vol. X of my life, spanning Feb. 6 2015 to Aug. 4 2015. Behold that cover. The gold catches the light beautifully, but towards the end of its use, I did notice some wear at the corners and spine where the plastic film overlay was spalling. Overall, it's a gorgeous book, holding gorgeous memories. In summary: unplanned romance, over-planned MD app cycle

2. Cork pocket-sized notebook, Tiger: a gift from a friend who studied abroad in London in the spring. Unlined, small, and perfect for everyday carry. Once I finish my Moleskine, I'll use this as my commonplace book. Speaking of CPB, I need to utilize it better

3. Celestial journal, Peter Pauper Press: described as 'beatific' on the PPP website, this gem of a journal will serve as Vol. XI of my life. The heft is incredible, the binding durable and reliable. The paper is impeccable, edged with gold, and has slightly less 'bite' than Paperblanks, much heavier than Moleskin. It was out of stock until right before the death of Vol. X; it did go on sale right after I bought it, but ~ $13 is still more than reasonable for a notebook of this quality (so I say right now, time will tell)

4. Kitty cat sticky notes: a gift from my boyfriend's mother. Very cute and good for little lists and reminders

5. Watercolor UC Berkeley postcards: purchased from Avant Card from a sour cashier. I needed a postcard to send to my boyfriend's family but ended up buying four in total to make the $5 credit/debit card minimum

6. Old library photograph postcard: I got this from a Doe librarian a few months back and just now wrote on it. At the end of each diary, I write a postcard to myself n+7 diaries in the future, and keep the card in Vol. n until the time comes to retrieve it

This is a rare accumulation of stationery, which I find precious and worth writing all this for. Many of these were gifts, for which I am grateful. Blank pages, beautiful covers, elegant design -- stationery is the category of consumable good that I truly could dragon-hoard.

Monday, August 3, 2015

I.B.'s Hoagies: French fry adventure

Damn right the fries are my way.

When it comes to French fries, consider me a professional. Let this post be something to cleanse your Internet palate of the lovely foodie posts on other blogs. I know for a fact that Berkeley is crawling with good food for low prices, but this is my blawg and I want to talk about I.B.'s. Also, consider this a middle finger to the Golden Bear Café, which has recently decreed that they will no longer sell fried foods. I only got to eat their chili cheese fries twice. I loved their French fries and tater tots. I worshiped at the altar of their deep fat fryer.

Anyways, it seems kind of foolish that I've never been to I.B.'s. Smoke's Poutinerie across the street used to be my fry fix, but they're overpriced and le poutine does not appeal to me. Their fries are flaccid and overly salty. They also look withered. I.B.'s better hold their shape, are a more appetizing golden color, and have better crisp-crunch. Imagery.

I claim to be a red-blooded, fast-food-eating, salt-of-the-earth gal that doesn't care about pretty plating and food trends, but I did, in fact, cut up an avocado and mix it about with my fries. I did it in broad daylight on Durant Ave with my Swiss Army knife, so I did redeem some of my dignity. Cheese curds and gravy a la Smoke's does not appeal to me, as I would like to still have some brain function after a meal.

By far the coolest thing about I.B.'s is their condiment bar. Behold:

I put horseradish, kimchi aioli, ranch, sriracha, and a blizzard of Tajín over those fries. Fuck le poutinerie for only having malt vinegar and ketchup. Avocado on top. By the way, I got the small order of fries in a large container for better ingredient mixing.

In summary: fuck GBC for getting rid of fries, but I.B.'s condiments are far superior; cheaper and better-tasting than le poutinerie; $2.49 for a small order of naked fries, customize to your heart's content.

I've been writing secondaries all month so this here was a bit of a writing break. Another remark: the regular fries are far superior to the sweet potato fries, which come with a bizarre garlic sauce. I am told to be suspicious of the hoagies, which are very reasonably priced.