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urban oasis.

So I bought these socks a long time ago in Seoul and I'm now finally getting around to sending them to the President. I'm also taking the opportunity to write him a letter!
Dear Leader,

I hope this letter finds you and your family in good health and spirits.

My primary purpose is not to correspond with you necessarily but to send along these fabulous socks I found while on my way to a bar in Seoul, South Korea. It is one thing to have buttons, shirts, bumper stickers, yard signs, mugs, aprons, baseball caps, water bottles, tote bags and magnets (all of which, by the way, are grossly overpriced) but it is a whole other ballgame when you have socks featuring your own face, socks that you can be reasonably sure almost no one else has. Socks that you can campaign in.

In exchange for enclosed socks I would appreciate it if you eliminated my student debt. I am a graduate student studying international relations at North Carolina State University; so hypothetically one day in the future I would be working for our country (unless, that is, I am buried by my debt). Is it not the most frustrating thing to work so hard for years to get a job and come out already owing more than what the average student’s annual starting salary is? I think so.

Also, I wanted to donate $5 on your website but there is a minimal limit of $30. I was going to enclose a fiver but I need that for candy bars from the vending machine at school. But it is the thought that counts, right?

Always your voter,

Leah
Nailed it?
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School is good, if not stressful. My brother made a joke that in graduate school you'll always be behind on reading. It is completely true. I have so much reading to do for tomorrow that I haven't finished because I was freaking out over my first paper, which is the dumbest smallest potatoes type of paper ever, but still.

Cats are good. My birthday was last week and I spread out celebrations over a few days. My sister made a cookie cake, like a literal cake made from cookies and icing. It's huge and delicious. Everything is pretty good right now. 

 
 
Current Mood: busy
Current Music: Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Pin
 
 
urban oasis.
27 August 2011 @ 06:07 pm

Yeah, it was totally not that bad. It didn't even rain all too much, but it did get windy. There are quite a few branches that came down and I've heard reports of trees down as well but have not seen any. The power flickered. I expected for the power to go out, at least that, but nope. As my Floridian classmate put it, "Was that a hurricane or did a bird sneeze?" 

Keeping an eye on New York and New Jersey, though. I hope everything pans out well up there. 
 
 
Current Mood: busy
Current Music: Beck: Still Missing (Royksopp remix)
 
 
urban oasis.
26 August 2011 @ 02:15 pm

Hurricane Irene is coming ashore as I type this. For reference, I am right outside of Raleigh. We don't expect it to be too bad here since we're further inland but the coast will bear the brunt and then it's going to head up to the NYC area. Honestly, I think I'm more concerned for them than I am for my state. We've had hurricanes before and we all know what we're supposed to do, so ideally everyone is already prepared. But NYC? They don't get them too often. And that whole area is flat and at sea level so there will be a lot of flooding.

In any case, I got my flashlights and bottles of water ready. I'm trying to get my laundry done before because I'm fairly certain the power will go out, and get some cleaning done so if I do have to sit in a dark apartment it'll be a clean apartment. And I have a massive amount of reading to do for next week's classes so I'll be getting into that as much as possible. Worst case scenario is that the university has to close down for a couple of days and I miss classes. Two of my classes meet once a week and the other twice a week, so missing a class would be fairly devastating considering the whole course. 

I'm very curious to see how my cats will react to the storm. When strong thunderstorms come through the area Hazel will hide under the bed until they pass. Lily doesn't seem to care one way or another, she's a little oblivious to things. I wish I was home to see how they reacted to the earthquake but I'm guessing that Hazel hid and Lily just sat there. 

My birthday is coming up, too! It's weird because my last two birthdays were in Seoul and their age-counting is different from everywhere else so I didn't really pay attention to the fact that I was 24, 25. Now it's coming up n 26 and I'm wtfing a bit. This is adulthood for realsies. 

It falls on a Wednesday this year. I have a meeting on that day with the Committee for International Programs and then I have class until 8:45 pm, but the MIS Graduate Student Association is having a pub night at their regular place on Hillsborough Street so I think I'll roll over there afterwards and partake in a little celebration! Then I took next Saturday off to get Korean food with my family in Greensboro and possibly go to noraebang. I haven't been to noraebang since I've been back and I'm absolutely dying to go! 

I hope all is well with everyone else and, in the least, that you aren't experiencing some natural crisis! What are you all up to? 
 
 
Current Mood: busy
Current Music: Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Pin
 
 
urban oasis.
23 August 2011 @ 07:28 pm



Okay, what? Yeah, we felt that earthquake all the way down here in Raleigh. Apparently you could feel it from Charleston to Boston! What the hell? A quick lesson in US geography: There are earthquakes only in California, Alaska, and Hawaii. I've read that they can happen in the Appalachian region because there's an old fault or some such. And I think they do happen but that they're so small that you can't feel them and they certainly don't happen at the same frequency as, oh, say, Japan. 

My "I was there" story: Just hanging out with a classmate in the student lounge in Caldwell Hall; I was sitting in a chair that was against the wall. It shook pretty hard for a good thirty seconds. I mean, it felt like the building was vibrating, like there was a train right outside. I actually thought it was construction but then that didn't make a lick of sense. You could hear the building shaking. Everyone just kind of looked at each other and went back to work. 

Plus? In a few days Hurricane Irene is predicted to come ashore on North Carolina coasts. It won't be so bad inland but there'll be heavy winds and rains. At least it'll be during the weekend so hypothetically I'll be home and I won't be outside walking anywhere. 

In non-natural disaster related news, I started graduate school last week. It is awesome. I feel like I can't be in class enough and I'm so terribly disappointed when I have to leave. I was bummed when the weekend came and I had to go to work at the grocery store instead of going to class. My favorite class so far is Global Environmental Law and Policy because the professor just makes it fascinating. Really, I thought that would be the most boring class but it's great. So far the work doesn't seem like too much but I'm sure it'll come up and kick me in the ass real soon. I'm ready for it. 

And I'm just going to leave this here: 


 
 
Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Rich
 
 
urban oasis.
16 August 2011 @ 06:06 pm
 
 
08/26/1993 // 08/16/2011

Tomorrow is the first official day of school! With classes! Today I had the school-wide graduate student orientation that I was required to attend, so it's technically the first day, right? Anyway, it went well and I got a lot of good information for me to make the most out of my two years. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed (okay, I'm panicking a little) but I'm still really excited! I've already met so many cool people. Totally looking forward to it. 

Did anyone else's mother make them dress up for the first day of school? I wanted to throw a gang sign I just made up (curling my fingers into MIS-- Master of International Studies) but my mother thought that was a little too much. :) 
 
 
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Maps
 
 
 
urban oasis.
05 August 2011 @ 09:22 pm
 
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Current Mood: goodgood
 
 
urban oasis.
19 July 2011 @ 09:18 pm
 
 
Not too long ago a heat wave came through the region, and then we were blessed with unseasonably cool temperatures, which was pure heaven. Now, the heat is coming back for round two. I walked home today, and that doesn't normally bother me except that it was so humid that my clothes were sticking to me. Luckily, it was in the evening just after the sun set, so I still had light but it was a lot cooler. 

Half of my walk takes me through a tree tunnel leading up to the apartment complex. With the streetlamps beginning to turn on, it reminded me of the scene from My Neighbor Totoro where they are waiting for the nekobus. I wish I had a nekobus to drive me around. 

Our air conditioning broke down last night so we had the repair guy come in today to fix it. He said it was the damndest thing; when he opened up the unit to repair it, he saw a note signed by himself detailing the date of the install, July 19, 2006. So, happy fifth birthday, air conditioner, enjoy your new motor! 
 
 
Current Mood: hothot
 
 
urban oasis.
12 July 2011 @ 03:09 pm
 
 

My name is Lily. 
And I'm going to try to nurse on your face whether you like it or not.

Things are going well. She's adapting, and so is Hazel. She's sitting next to the laptop right now watching the screen. eeee09wee888888i And walking across the keyboard to lay on the other side. 

I feel like I'm falling apart physically. It all started when I got a pimple in my nose piercing. Then I became clumsy. I kept running into things or dropping things on myself, so I am covered in bruises. When we got the kitten, the scratches across my arms and chest began. Earlier in the week I twisted one of my fingers and now it goes numb when I move it in certain directions. And finally, this morning while I was trying to make breakfast, I burned most of the fingertips on my left hand. It was incredibly painful for about an hour until Jason got some Lanacane, then I just went back to sleep. They're all bandaged up and it makes it difficult to do much of anything. 

Also, it hit above 100 degrees today. I don't hate the summer, I don't mind it at all in fact. But not when it's hot as hell outside.
 
 
Current Mood: grumpyinjured
Current Music: Bekah: Take Me to the Place
 
 
urban oasis.
11 July 2011 @ 01:53 pm
 

Meet the newest addition to our family: Kitten! We finally got her yesterday and have been keeping her in the office, separated from Hazel for the time being in order to slowly introduce them to one another. She's about four months old and probably doesn't weigh more than four pounds. Even though she came from a shelter, the adoption agency is sure that she's a Japanese Bobtail due to physical attributes (stub tail, longer back legs, location of coloring) and her personality (adventurous, bubbly, curious). I feel lucky to have found such a cat! 

She's got the cutest face and I don't think photos do her justice. Her eyes are very striking and unique. The coloring on her paws is especially cute; they call it tortie point, I suppose since it's kind of patchy and swirled. She's very talkative and, as a result of being weaned off her mother far too soon, she likes to suck on faces. She'll jump into my arms, crawl up onto my shoulders, and start sucking at my cheek while kneading with her front paws. I let her do it, but by the end my face is invariably covered in kitten slobber. 

As for a name, Jason and I can't settle on one. His three favorites are Dot, Snow, and Sugar and my three favorites are Bijou, Honey, and Miho. What do you all think?

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Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: DBSK: Honey Funny Bunny
 
 
urban oasis.
10 July 2011 @ 12:32 pm

These are three of the books in my rotation right now (I am now of the tendency to have 6-10 books sitting on my nightstand, which I read on and off). I already finished Blink, but have just started the other two. I think all three of worthy of sharing. I hope I can push you to read at least one of these books; all of them are really great and just beg to be read. 
 
...

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell is a non-fiction pop-psychology volume about how snap judgments are made. The book moves, of course, from more basic concepts of snap judgments to more complex ideas. As a writer for the New York Times, he is rather skilled in weaving a good tale. The idea is that, while you may think you're in complete control of your decisions, there's a mechanism within your subconscious mind that works to make decisions in a matter of milliseconds. Most of the time, you are not even aware of this process occurring, nor can you explain why you made the decisions you did. It also talks about environmental factors that affect your decision, and how pliable, but sharp, your subconscious actually is. There's also a suggestion that you can improve snap decisions, but I don't think he went in depth enough to explain how that is done. 

Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn is a book I picked up to prepare myself for entering the International Studies program at NCSU. It is about gender equality being the biggest struggle of the 21st century. I believe that both the authors also wrote for the New York Times, but felt that they weren't doing the issue justice. They extensively travelled the areas they write about, so they're not mere observers in the horrid phenomenon they write of. I'm only about one-fourth of the way in but it's already shaken me to my core. The book opens up with an introduction on the Girl Effect, in which an area improves economically, socially, etc, when a girl is given an education or a chance at business, and in turn that girl gives back to her community. The first few chapters are about sexual slavery, and it's really difficult to read about forced prostitution. The stories are horrifying. Later in the book they discuss rape and honor killings, maternal and infant mortality, and education. Definitely something to read in order to understand the sorts of problems we're facing as women and as a species.

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, the only fiction on this list, is pretty much the funniest damn thing I've ever read. I haven't finished it either; in fact, I just picked it up yesterday, but every chance I get I pick it up. It's a satirical poke at America, but also I think he's trying to bring environmental issues to the forefront. I'm not sure how it's going to play out, but I see some connections so far, and I'm actually pretty excited about getting to the bottom of it all. Plus, he illustrated it. And the illustrations are hilarious. 
 
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What are you all reading these days? 
 
 
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