What the heck am I doing in the music department?

Yes I said music department.  I’m not taking any music classes, nor am I in any music club/fraternity.  So what in the heck am I doing in the music department?  It seems odd that I’m in the building a couple days a week, right?

WRONG!  At the end of October/beginning of November I accepted the job as a student set-up technician in the music department.  I kept checking the schools website for student assistants looking for some sort of second job.  Yes I love my student blogging job, and  will continue with it until I finish my undergraduate career here at Stanislaus State, but it doesn’t exactly give me a lot of free spending money, most of it goes to bills which is why I was looking for another job.

Student set-up technician, what does that even mean?  The job duties include, but are not limited to: working the box office during concerts, helping set up and tear down the stage, being an usher for concerts, and setting up classrooms.  Now if you aren’t a music major or have never had a class in the music building I know what you’re thinking, why do the classrooms need to be set up?  Well, because not every music class requires risers and 60 chairs, some only need a dozen or so chairs and some nice spacing for instruments.  Things need to change, and it isn’t a professor’s job to put away all of the extra chairs, stands or to set up risers (especially since it’s at least a two person job).  Those in tech pool who are available in between classes come and set up, unlock doors, and make sure everything looks right.

I got to experience working a couple concerts at the end of last semester, and am now working a couple days a week setting up classrooms.  Once the semester is more in full swing and concerts begin, I will be back in Snider Hall.  I am working with mainly music majors, so me being a chemistry major is a little strange.  I enjoy working there, and it allows me to get to know a few more people I wouldn’t usually have classes with.  It is definitely a good experience and gets me out of my comfort zone.

Hope to see you at a concert, don’t be afraid to say hi!

Here comes Spring Semester

With spring semester just 5 days away you might want to think about cleaning out your backpack and sharpening those pencils.

Spring 2015

 

Looking at my schedule it may not look like a lot, but as they are all upper division courses I know they are going to kick my butt this semester.

Scientific Evidence and the Law (CJ 4850):  First time taking this professor, and hopefully this class is interesting.  Course description:  Analysis of the impact of forensic science, scientific evidence on Federal and State criminal and civil statutes, as well as application and presentation of evidence during trial.  This may or may not require a lot of writing, which has me a little scared since I haven’t written a paper in years, especially one on scientific evidence.

Criminalistics II (CJ 3710):  A continuation of the course I took in the fall.  I’ll be learning about the use of science and technology in the criminal justice system, and doing a few labs along the way.  If I remember correctly we will be going more in depth on firearms, fingerprints, blood typing, questioned documents, the exchange principle, and bertillonage which were briefly mentioned at the beginning of last semester.  This is the class I am most excited about taking this semester.

Physical Chemistry I (CHEM 4010):  A combination of physics, chemistry and calculus all in one course.  This class had me stressing out the most when registration came around because it required instructor consent and an email that didn’t come until about finals week that had the permission number.  This class is one of the toughest chemistry classes around, and I’ve heard some horror stories.  I will be taking it with my roommate so hopefully we will keep each other on track and focused.  If you hadn’t noticed I don’t have class Fridays, which will probably mean a day of studying and doing assignments.  

Wish me luck, and here goes nothing!

One More Day…

I have spent the last 3-4 weeks working 40 hours a week at a somewhat stressful job.

I’m sure at least half of you are thinking that I’m crazy for spending the majority of my break working,  And maybe I am, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy my break.  I had Christmas off, had New Years day off, and spent quality time with my family.  What more can a person ask for?

Yes, during the past few weeks I’ve worked until 2 or 3 am, missed a couple fun times with friends and family, and had some crazy sleep schedule.  I’ve come home covered in sour cream, cheese, guacamole, different sauces, beans and meat juice but at least half of it was due to using my own clothes as a towel.  I have probably done more sweeping, mopping and dishes than you could imagine.  I have had people screaming in my ear, and others who I could barely hear telling me their orders.  I probably come home smelling like tacos every day.

If after all that you haven’t guessed, yes I’ve been working at Taco Bell.  And none of the things I’ve said above are bad, I have enjoyed the past few weeks no matter how stressful.  I’ve got some amazing co-workers who I am going to miss not seeing almost everyday.  There have been some good times, decent laughs and even free fries (the benefit of being next to a McDonalds).  Tomorrow is my last day working there, and some of my co-workers have already told me they are sorry to see me go, and I’m going to miss them too, but school is calling and I can’t ignore it.

I am sorry to be leaving because it has been fun, but I do want at least one week to have some fun, stay out late, and not smell like tacos. How time flies, I can’t believe break is almost over and I’ve got one day left working.

Cookies, Chex Mix, and Muffins, oh my!

Being home for the holidays usually means baking. In the past years it has usually meant a lot of baking, half a dozen different kinds of cookies, fudge and biscotti. Obviously we have slimmed it down some since we didn’t always end up eating all of it which was a bit of a waste.

My parents were away in Hawaii the first half of December, and I was busy studying for finals so it wasn’t until I got home that the baking began.

Our first try was almond butter cookies.  There were just a few slight changes to our traditional peanut butter cookies such as using almond butter (obviously) and using almond flour instead of regular flour.  Although because it was our first try at it there was a little bit of inconsistency when mixing and we had to add a little regular flour (I think we used almond meal instead of flour) which also made our cookies a little gritty.  Not to worry, they were all still eaten, and we know better for next time.

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The holidays usually mean Chex Mix also.  It is probably the one thing we make every year without a doubt, it’s just a matter of how many batches we make.  We always go for the original mix, but the type of pretzels and nuts that go in change from year to year depending on what we have (or who is making the mix) since my sisters tend to pick around the nuts.  We’ve made two batches so far, and I’m thinking about making another before going back to school to share with my roommates.

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Lastly there are muffins.  Yes muffins, which aren’t usually on the list of holiday baking but my mom had gotten a few new recipes while in Hawaii and came back with breadfruit.  Yes breadfruit, which I’m pretty sure can only be found in Hawaii, so if you want some good luck with that.  So we made breadfruit muffins, which were delicious, even topped some with macadamia nuts, yum!

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2014 Goals – Update

It doesn’t feel like a year has gone by, but maybe with school keeping me so busy everything just seems to mush together. The year is over, which means its time to see how I did managing my goals for the year.

Goals 2014

1. Explore Turlock. I tried new places to eat, found some good ones I think.  Checked out a couple parks, they’re beautiful by the way.  I also went to Sharkey’s, which is a little pool hall for anyone interested, there’s food, music, even a few arcade games if you’re interested.  I’d say this one is a check, although I might keep it on the list just so I go and keep looking at what’s out there.

2. Get Back into crafting. I made some progress in my crafting (did I mention I had like 3 projects going at once?) I need the motivation, and somewhat the time and space to do it.  I just need to pull a table into my room and just lock myself inside for a week, and I’ll get stuff done, as long as I’m working and going to school that might be a bit of a problem.  It just didn’t happen like I wanted it to, at least not as much as I wanted to.

3. Get a 3.5 GPA.  Spring 2014 semester ended with a 3.2 GPA which I was kind of okay with, but getting on the Dean’s List having that 3.5 would have made all the difference.  Fall 2014 came with some slightly new challenges and an old one too, that being said my GPA was 3.49, oh how mad was I when I was this close to the GPA I wanted.  Ugh

4. Read the 5 books listed.  I read, and read, and read…and then read some more.  Over the summer I had put my mind to it and read the five books listed, and then read a couple more.  It was my summer, and reading was just a good pass time.  I read a total of 7-8 books, and I’ve still got the intent to read more. I did it!

5. Be more experimental with baking.  I’m not sure I experimented as much as I wanted with baking, but I did get new recipes, use a few of them such as the roasted strawberry banana bread.  I think I more expanded my cooking skills this past year making new things for dinner and not always going for the simple stuff, but I’ll take it.

6. Go to the gym 3x a week.   During school is when I tend to keep this workout up.  My roommates and I try to go to Zumba 2-3 times a week, and then if we are lucky or bored or something we will go do a different workout 1-2 different days.  It was a little hard planning because of having a night class, and schedules that didn’t mix together.  Don’t you know going to the gym with a buddy is a lot more fun then going alone?  I had the determination, and for about 95% of the time going to the gym worked out well.

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I’ve decided to keep my goals going this year as well.  Someone told me it was easier to keep your goals if you have them written down and actually look at them, and it seemed to work this year.  Here is what I’ve got planned for this year.

Goals 2015

 

Do you have any goals for yourself?

Let there be lights!

My favorite part(s) about this season is the lights and the music, but mostly the lights.  I love driving around town seeing all the different houses lit up.  I love seeing the different decorations, and see what may have changed from last years decor.  My cousin used to participate in a decorating/lights competition in his neighborhood each year so I knew that was always a good place to go.

What about Turlock?  I know my home town pretty well, I’ve lived there my entire life, so going to Turlock and not knowing where to look for lights was a little more of a challenge.  I was out of luck knowing where to look my first year at school; I instead drove aimlessly around looking at lights trying not to get lost.

It has now been a couple years and I’ve gotten better at not getting lost, but also knowing where to find good decorated houses.  I had heard about Oxford court my first year but it was a few days to late for me to go see them (since I had gone home for the holidays).  This year my friends and I went to a couple well known streets.  There was the famous Christmas Tree Lane, which is really off Berkeley Avenue and Tuolumne Road, the entire block/area is lit up with different decorations and beautiful houses.

I had also read about a new house on Sycamore Street, with over 25,000 lights they also have music playing and an appearance by Santa as long as it isn’t raining. They pass out candy canes to everyone who comes by, and also collecting toy donations for the Marines’ Toys for Tots.  Their show runs from 6-9pm each night, and will last until the 31st of December, so go check it out if you have a chance!!

Merry Christmas everyone, hope you are all enjoying your breaks.

A little adventure

Hello everyone, I’m sure you are all glad to be done with finals and such I know I am.  I was just about to rip my hair out Sunday night right before my big organic chemistry 2 final, oh never again.  But hey we all get through it.

To celebrate the end of the semester I went to see one of my favorite comedians, Mike Birbiglia perform at the Turlock Community Theatre.  Okay so this was before the semester had actually ended, and I had the tickets since August, but it is a good excuse as any to go see the performance.

Tickets

I’m sure most of you are saying who is Mike Birbiglia, its okay most people would say the same thing about Turlock.  He did a little joke about that, as he was going to the rental car place, they had never heard of Turlock.  No surprise really. But he had been in Turlock a couple years ago for a different performance, so at least he had heard of it.

My first, and really only challenge was finding the place.  I had never been to the community theatre, and have never driven past it in my adventures around Turlock, so it was all a little new.  I spent a good 15-20 minutes confused as ever, because the address is part of a school is a school (did I mention I did this earlier in the day so I wouldn’t be lost).

Now you may understand the confusion, passed by circled around passed it again, and still a little lost.  Did I write the address down wrong switch the numbers or something?  No, then why was I at a school, and see no signs what so ever that say Turlock Community Theatre.

I wasn’t lost. At least I didn’t think I was.  Thank goodness for internet on my phone because their website did explain that the box office was at the main entrance of the School District Office.  Okay, so I’m not lost.  I’m at the correct address, just not sure what door to walk through to so that I don’t walk into a classroom. Brave through it, walk, and hey I actually had the right door, thank goodness!  This sign helped a little bit too.

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Yay!  I was in the right place.
It made getting there at night 10 times easier.

The performance was hilarious.  There was one opener for Mike Birbiglia, and then he was on stage.  All of his material was new which was good for me since I probably have most of his stuff memorized.  The whole thing was over by 9:30, and I wish I had a chance to meet him, or at least get a picture with him, maybe next time.

Great performance and I hope he comes back to Turlock so that I can see him again.

Check him out here.

 

A Day in San Francisco

It all started on Monday when the flyers came out Ice Skating and shopping in San Francisco, I mean who wouldn’t want to experience that. Housing did a couple of ice skating events last year, and I happened to miss both of them, which bummed me out, I did not want to miss out on it this year.  I talked with my roommate (because obviously I didn’t want to go alone) and since it sounded like so much fun we decided to sign up.

The day arrives, and we know a few things: snacks will be provided at the end of the day (the drive back), our ice skating time is 6-7:30pm, and we were supposed to be leaving campus at 12 noon.  So this meant a few things, either eat a big breakfast, lots of snacks, or buy food when you get there.  My thought was San Francisco, there’s plenty of places to eat, small breakfast, and by the end of that two hour ride I’ll be ready for a decent/delicious meal. We arrive in Union square, maybe 2:30…we didn’t leave exactly at noon, and with a bit of traffic, no way did we make it there in exactly two hours.

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Lets go over this again.  2:30, San Francisco, Union Square, on a Saturday, during the holidays.  Maybe a little more planning on my part should have been done.  We did see Ghirardelli (Mmmm Chocolate) but that’s not exactly a good lunch.  Really I didn’t want to have to wait forever for food, but I didn’t want fast food.  We went to the Asian box on the bottom level of Macy’s (I swear there is food on like every floor there) seemed like a good compromise and it didn’t seem to take to long to get our food, it was just a little different experience ordering and such since we really hadn’t heard of it before.

While we were eating we tried to look up places to find some good shopping places around.  Obviously Union Square has a million places to shop, but I’m pretty sure as a college student I don’t have enough money to shop at Neiman Marcus, Sachs Fifth avenue, or Tiffany & co.  maybe I do, but I was looking for things slightly more reasonable.  My roommate found a place that looked interesting over on Market Street so we headed down to look for it.  I did mention chocolate right, yeah we found Ghirardelli, practically ran inside, I mean who wouldn’t stop and look inside at least.  Well there was also a little thought of a hot chocolate or something, it wasn’t that cold, but who could resist.  Once we were done there, we were still looking for the place she had found.  Either our phones were having problems or we are horrible at directions (it might be a mix of both), and I’m pretty sure the place we were looking for no longer existed.

What? Excuse me, are you serious?  Yes.  But we had passed a good dozen stores in the search for this specific store, so hopefully one of them will have something good, something that yells San Francisco.  Yes…maybe.  Were we just on the wrong street or the most horrible tourists in San Francisco ever?  I hope not.  Maybe we were just looking for the wrong stores, a decent souvenir place, especially since I don’t think my roommate had ever been and it is such an iconic place.  It’s San Francisco, there has to be something, there must be something…I mean I know there is something, we were just in the wrong part of San Francisco for me to know where to look.

So we walked, and walked and looked for stores, we went in some, avoided a few others, and found a few things.  Little nick knacks, magnets, mugs, cards.  I’d say it was a decent find, I only say decent because there was something I had in mind, a shirt of some sort with a decent San Francisco logo.  I wanted something original, not something you might see every tourist wearing, I wanted it to be special.

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We had walked and wandered and shopped long enough we wanted enough time to get back to union square take a breath some, and then do some ice skating.  That was half of why we came, to go ice skating, and since I’m pretty sure its been 10 years since I’ve ice skated I wanted to do it.  There was the chance the moment my skates hit the ice I would fall on my face, but that is just part of the experience.  Sometimes you have to hug the wall a little before getting comfortable, and I was okay with that.  It did take some time to get used to, and I may have looked a little like a worm wobbling back and forth trying not to fall or run into people, but so did about half the other people there.

I must say there were a lot of people skating. We had a time slot for skating, it wasn’t just set by housing, but by the rink in Union Square, each session was an hour and a half, and seemed to give a occupancy limit since a few times said sold out, but there were 50 people from housing skating, plus 100-150 (or more) people in the ice rink.  It was a small ice rink, maybe a little bigger then a bedroom in an apartment.  I mean the entire establishment took up a decent amount of space for tickets, skates, and lockers, but the place you actually skated seemed very cramped.  I was scared of running into people, and since I was no skating expert, and people were going in all different speeds, trying to avoid people was difficult.

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We could have skated the entire 1.5 hours, but since we had already walked lets say 4 miles trying to keep moving for another hour and a half on our feet seemed impossible.  We made it the hour, which wasn’t too bad, but we were sore.  We went looking for something to drink, and possibly a snack. We had walked back and forth enough to know there was a Walgreens or CVS near by somewhere to get something to drink at a reasonable price, and a nice snack.  Surprisingly Walgreens also had a decent amount of souvenirs, cards, mugs, snow globes.  Right, always the last place you look.

The ride back was nice, I’m almost sure I fell asleep for a little, but by the time we were back at the dorms my body was sore and ready to crash.   It was a blast going and exploring in San Francisco, and ice skating was a lot of fun even if I did fall.  If they do it again next year, I would definitely do it again, Union Square was just so magical.

Why I love Chemistry

Some people hate chemistry, I was actually talking with someone a couple days ago, who prefers something you could actually see.  Yes, when you perform a lab in chemistry things change, they move, benzene might become nitro benzene but unless there is a color change or some physical property change you don’t actually see anything change, it all happens molecularly.

Yes there is a chance that in a chemistry lab you could be doing the same thing over and over again, had you not been using different chemicals or there was a different lab title.  It may all be boring, you might not see your reaction happen, stand in lab for 2.5 hours and hope that what you did is correct, but not be 100% sure.

It’s the moments where you can actually see what happens that make it all worth it for me. Last week in lab was a synthesis of luminol, where we used 3-nitrophthalic acid, hydrazine, triethylene glycol, and a few other chemicals, mixed them together (not all at once) boiled them, and created luminol.  We then got to test our luminol to see if it actually worked.  Guess what mine did!

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Awesome! The nice thing was that for those whose luminol worked (because yes not everyone’s did) it was going to be used in learning demonstrations at local grade school.  That’s even better, seeing our luminol actually put to work, it means I did something right.

Another lab we did which didn’t give as amazing result was the synthesis of a fragrant ester.  We combined an unknown alcohol, and an unknown carboxylic acid to create an ester.  I say it wasn’t as exciting because we had to look at a bunch of graphs and charts (IR, HNMR, and CNMR) to figure out what ester we made.  Yes we were synthesizing a fragrant ester, so it had some sort of smell, but it was slightly fruity, with a sharp undertone.  What it should have smelt like was cinnamon, and maybe if you were in that mind set it would have worked, I mean I did smell it after I knew what smell I was supposed to be smelling, but before it didn’t smell quite like I would have expected.

ETCIN

Ethyl Cinnamate

The lab was still pretty fun, so I guess I shouldn’t be complaining.

If you’re ever interested in what goes on in the chemistry labs, the week before finals there is chemistry presentations from different labs going on, everyone is allowed to come check out what students have been working on.  Sorry to say the last one of the semester was this morning, and was the general chemistry 2 grand experiments.  Try and check them out next semester they are always so fun.