Oh the weather outside is (not at all) frightful

I’m going to go off on a narcissistic tangent right now, so hold on and I promise the part about me will be over soon enough.

Today, March 26, is my birthday. I’m 19. On this same day, every year, for the past 19 years, it has been a beautiful day. The springs in Seattle, where I grew up, are notoriously mild but rainy. But come March 26th, out comes the sun, and away goes the rain.

So this morning, when a close friend woke me with a birthday phone call, the first thing I asked was, “How’s the weather?”

I was pleased to hear that in fact, the weather was nice. And is nice. As I sit here in this well-lit office typing this post, the entire campus is illuminated by the glow that means (hopefully) the nasty weather is on its way out, and spring finally stopped hitting the snooze button.

With this new, improved weather, I’ve started running outside again.

There’s nothing better (in my mind) than lacing up the running shoes and taking a spin through some of the more beautiful parts of Boston. So without ado, here is my favorite, easy running loop.

Starting at Northeastern’s Marino Center, run North towards the Fens. Once you get there, take a left on the path that runs along the rim of the Fens. As you run along, you’ll notice another, parallel path to your right that is at a lower elevation. For the maximum nature exposure, run along this path. Continuing past the Fens, you’ll eventually cross Agassiz Rd. If you continue, the Fens eventually hits Boylston, where it loops back towards the start. At this point, I usually let my feet decide where in the Fens’ trails I want to go, but you can also follow the loop back.

I love this small park because of the density of nature compared to the rest of the city. Coming from the Evergreen State, trees are integrated into even the most urban parts of Seattle. So the Fens is my small way of recapturing my youthful love of all things nature. (Approx. 2 miles)

The Page 69 Test

The Page 69 Test is a fun and easy way to decide whether a novel is right for you. Simply open a book you think you might enjoy to page 69 and read that page. If you enjoy it, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the rest of the book. So the next time you’re in a bookstore, or here in Snell, try out the Page 69 Test and see if it works for you.

Pandora’s box of music

Do you ever get bored at work? (Note: if your boss is reading this, you should probably answer “No” to this question).  If so (or…not [see above]), then I have a great site, called Pandora Radio to share.  It’s a “radio” where you can sort of make your own playlists!  You can just type in a favorite song or artist and the radio will play songs by that artist and other songs from similar sounding artists.  You do have to register for the site, but the best part is, they save your playlists (and you don’t get annoying spam emails from them, either).  It’s something fun to play around with, or just have in the background at your desk.  You don’t even have to let anyone know what kind of music you’re listening to, so go ahead- listen to your guilty pleasure songs and music genres!  In my case, this is country music (ok… I guess I lied when I said Gretchen Wilson was the only country on my iPod.  Heh).

Meet Author (and NU’s own) Cynthia Baron

In her new book, Adobe Photoshop Forensics, Cynthia Baron, Associate Director of Northeastern’s Digital Media and Multimedia Studies program, reveals an intriguing relationship between art and science as she describes how new technologies have assisted in the creation of altered images used for advertising, political propaganda, and even scientific fraud. In this work, Baron provides real historical examples and case studies of those who have used Photoshop to doctor photos for their own benefit and demonstrates the techniques used to deconstruct a photograph to detect fraud. This will be a fascinating discussion for anyone who enjoys shows like CSI or wants to learn more about advances in modern technology.

HackerFactor.com’s Dr. Neal Krawetz calls Adobe Photoshop Forensics “excellent” and “a must-read.”

Meet Cynthia Baron on Wednesday, March 26 @ 4 pm. She’ll discuss her book, sign copies and take questions in 90 Snell Library. Refreshments will be served!

Lovely Volcanoes and Horrible Dams

I have always had an absurd and unnatural love for volcanoes. There is something very mystic about them, especially extinct ones, whose insides are still scarred from millions of years of eruptions. In the middle of chaos and fire, volcanoes persist, even thrive. And even though they are slowly contributing noxious gases to the air I breathe, I can’t help but feel that they and I have some unique spiritual bond… if volcanoes can really have a spiritual anything. It is for this reason that I cradle close to me the idea of Iceland, the enigmatic, romantic concept of an island both fire and ice, that stands so far from everything else, on the edge of the arctic, in a world all its own. I dream of going there like I dreamt of one day playing Scrabble with Kurt Vonnegut, or of seeing The Dismemberment Plan live. It now appears that all three of them may be out of the question. Just when I thought that Iceland may have slipped past the radar of the greed and industrialization of the Rest Of The World, this horrific little event occurs, one that left me sprawled in panicked horror on my living room floor for no less than an hour, clutching my heart and moaning to no one in particular. National Geographic’s March issue contains an article (http://www.savingiceland.org/node/1156) discussing the conflicts behind Iceland’s latest industrial progress, namely a dam called Kárahnjúkar, which required an enormous amount of flooding and will provide energy to a massive American-company-owned aluminum smelter. The smelter will provide much-needed jobs and foreign capital. however, and while it’s impossible to ignore the social aspect, it’s also impossible for me not to be enormously depressed about this: in my mind it will always be a tragedy, akin to the Truth About Santa Claus, birthdays after fifteen, and the last book of Narnia.