Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for...


Well we've reached the final post on the Blogging A to Z Challenge, April 2012! Woo! I can't believe it's the last day of April, though... where did the month go? Anyways, in celebration of the final day of the challenge, the topic is... Zoot Suit! 

What is a Zoot Suit, you may be asking?  According to the free online dictionary, a zoot suit is "A man's suit popular during the early 1940s, characterized by full-legged, tight-cuffed trousers and a long coat with wide lapels and heavily padded, wide shoulders"

Cab Calloway
The style originated in the Jazz Age of the 40s in Harlem and spread through ethnic communities across the country, primarily worn by Mexican- and African- Americans.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for...

You Only Live Once

Cliche I know, but true nonetheless.  In recent years, I have slowly but surely come to the point where I will attempt almost anything at least once.  I say almost because I'm not stupid and I'm not going to try drugs and death-defying stunts and what not.  I mean, trying new foods and stepping out of my comfort zone.  You only live once, so why not try everything?  The main thing that I get out of this is to live your life with no regrets.  I don't want to be 80 years old and look back at my life and say, why didn't I do that while I had the chance?  Or, why did it take me so long to try this food or go to that city?

This is very close to the post I did for N- New Experiences.  But the differentiating factor between YOLO and New Experiences it that living life with no regrets doesn't necessarily have to be trying new things.  It can simply be living everything that you are doing to the fullest extent possible.  Make the best out of every occasion.  Work at the job you love, or at least can tolerate until you find another one.  Don't worry yourself to death!  Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that everything happens for a reason and if something didn't happen, then maybe it just wasn't the right time.  Things like that.

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for...

X Chromosome

The superior sex chromosome.  The X chromosome is found in both males and females.  Though the Y chromosome is the one that determines male or female (XX= female, XY=male), the X chromosome is the one that determines life.  Without an X chromosome the Y chromosome will do no good.  A body can survive on one X alone, it is called Turner Syndrome.  A body can also survive with more than one X, a male with more than one X had Klinefelter's Syndrome, and a female has Triple X Syndrome. 

So uh, yeah.  Everybody out there should thank their parents for their chromosomes.  And be grateful you have an X, the chromosome that gives life.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for...

Wuv, twue wuv!

 For all of you out there who may not realize what this is from (you fools), it is from the timeless classic book/movie, The Princess Bride.  The book was originally published in 1973 by William Goldman and the movie was produced by Rob Reiner in 1987.  The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies simply because of the vast subject areas that it covers.  It has romance, comedy, adventure, and fantasy.  And it has it all in spades!  And then, at the climax of the movie, there comes a priest; The Impressive Clergyman.  And he makes such a beautiful speech... it just brings a tear to my eye every time.  That tear might just be a tear of laughter, but it's a tear every time.  Sadly it is Buttercup's marriage to Humperdink, not Westley, that brings about this wonderful scene in the movie.  But that's still okay with me as they find twue wuv togevah at the end of the movie.

So thank you, Impressive Clergyman, for your contribution to one of the best movies of all time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for...

Who will suck your blood!  Muahahahahaha!!!  But seriously now.  There has been a major raise in vampires in the main stream culture pretty recently.  Vampires and other mythological creatures used to be considered dark, and only the strange, nerdy, or goth people were really into them.  But now everything has changed.  I think that it really started with Twilight.  I mean, after the first movie came out there was just an explosion of vampires everywhere!  At least three new shows started on TV and more movies with vampires and werewolves and such were coming out, it was crazy. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for...

Every little girl's dream!  Wait... that's not right.
That's more like it.  Every little girl's dream!  A magical creature combining a horse with a narwhal!  Clearly the best genetic combination ever (though closely tied with the Pegasus, a horse with wings).  I really don't know what else to say about the topic.  It's a unicorn.  What else is there to say?  I suppose I could go into the history behind this majestic being, but I'd rather show you some pictures...

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for...


Tapioca is actually so much more than just a pudding.  However, I'm not here to talk about the food.  I'm here to talk about the comedy.  For any of you 'Whose Line Is It Anyway' fans, you may recall quite a memorable sketch performed by Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles.

Well, okay, you probably recall quite a few memorable sketches with those two.  They were on the British version of the show as well as the following American version.  As much as I have to give the British their due for beginning the series, I really do prefer the American version, simply because of the difference in humor.  I like me some British humor, but when it comes to improvisation?  American all the way, baby. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for...

7th Rrrrregiment!!
Like that wasn't obvious!!  The 7th Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps is an Open Class drum corps based out of New London, CT.  They were founded in 2004 and continue to push their way to the top every season since.

Now, I'm not biased or anything like that, but I absolutely love drum corps as an activity.  It combines the best of... everything!  It has music and arts and dance and athleticism and pure entertainment!  Not to mention the family and friends and memories and jokes and everything else involved with living/ working with people for an absurdly long time.  I myself have been with the corps for the past four years, and this season, 2012, will be my fifth and final year with the corps as I am aging out.  As per DCI rules, anyone ages 12-21 can march, and I have finally reached the magical age of 21 and will thus be ending this chapter of my life at the end of the season.  Yes, this is upsetting, it's been the majority of my life for five years now, but it's also a little freeing.  I can now go on and explore other interests.  Of course I will miss it, but there's not much I can do, so I'll make the best of it.

For those of you who don't know, drum and bugle corps is a performing arts ensemble consisting of only bell-front brass, percussion, and colorguard.  They are independent organizations dedicated to developing strong leadership, character, and integrity in young adults.  During the summer they travel across the country, competing against each other and performing for thousands of fans.  I like to describe them as marching bands on steroids.  But whatever you do, don't call them a band.  They are corps, plain and simple. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for...

(WNYC's) Radiolab!!

I have mentioned Radiolab more than once in my previous posts, but this lucky guy is strictly devoted to the awesomeness of this show.  So Radiolab is a program on NPR that is "a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience."  It is a wonderful program.  They do features on everything from zoos to sperm to deception.  They have full length programs, usually around an hour in length, and others called shorts which range from 5-30 minutes.

The two hosts of the show are Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich.  Both men are interesting, funny, and genuinely interested in the topics they present.  The thing I really like about this podcast (I get it on iTunes) is that they take some really difficult scientific topics and present them in a way that makes sense.  They even did a post specifically on that, but don't ask me to remember or find which one that was. You really don't need to know much about science or math or anything to listen to and enjoy a show by them.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for...


See what I did there?  Well, this is probably going to be my shortest post in this challenge because I just don't have any time to write it!!  So here it goes, don't you just hate queues?

In an era when the newest and the biggest are clearly the best and everyone has to have that new thing RIGHT NOW, queues are becoming more and more common.  And they just suck.  No way around it, they just do, especially when you're not there for the newest release, but for a really common reason, like looking for some headphones at a tech store or something.  Happens to me all the time.  So have fun with that...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for...


No, not that one...

And not that one either!  The Pablo I'm talking about is less of a person and more of an entity...

He was spawned in the summer of 2008.  He quickly sowed awe and fear and even hatred in those around him.  It didn't take long, however, for people to realize just how awesome he truly was.  Pablo completely transformed my first summer at drum corps.

Pablo was a piece of fabric.  An extremely LARGE piece of fabric, but fabric nonetheless.  He was the main feature to end the 7th Regiment's 2008 program 'Mexican Landscapes.'  In the show we had the desert, the green wood, and the river.  Pablo WAS the river.  After the three main movements were done, it was Pablo's turn to shine.  He sat waiting at one end zone and was carried by two colorguard members, weighted down by four more, to the other end zone.  He would first engulf the entire drum corps, and then they would run under him until it was their turn to drop out one by one, forming a river across the field.  The first time Pablo was used, in Rome, NY, the audience went crazy.  Which was extremely rewarding because we probably spent around 6 hours working on it that day alone.  By that point the six guard members (myself included) who had to run with him were hating the entire world.  Pablo would stick to people's sweat and it would transfer.  So then, when we were running him across the field and we'd get slapped with a sweat soaked piece of fabric in the face and it was not easy to dislodge.  Let's just say I wasn't a very happy camper.  On that note, are you ready to meet Pablo?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for...

Operation Wallacea

So this is along the lines of my E and N posts.  Operation Wallacea is a program that offers biological and research conservation opportunities across the world.  And it is the next program I want to be involved with.  OpWall is great because they have many location options as well as length of time options.  Some locations cater more to one area or another, and you can chose a location based on what you want to do.  They offer programs in 11 countries: Indonesia, Honduras, Egypt, Cuba, South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Peru, Guyana, Romania, and Mexico.

I personally have my eyes set on Indonesia for summer 2013, hopefully participating for the full eight weeks.  This means, however, that I need to raise over $5,000 to cover the program costs, travel costs, and extras.  I was making a fair amount of progress on that until today when I walked into the Bursar's Office and gave them a check worth $1,518.00 to pay for my summer class.  Man that was painful.  However, if that means I will definitely be graduating next spring instead of the following fall, I guess I'm okay with it.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for...

New Experiences.

N was originally going to be for New Zealand, and I mean seriously, what else could N possibly be for?  Except that I don't really have much to post about New Zealand that I haven't already.  Basically it would just be a reminiscing blog and I don't want to do that.  So I will, instead, focus on new experiences and anyone interest in reading about my time in NZ can check out this post or this one. 

New Experiences!  I love doing new things.  Even if they turn out to be pretty suck-y, new things just give a little kick to life.  I've had a lot of new experiences in the past year, going to NZ, traveling around NZ, traveling around cities, abseiling, almost skydiving, etc.  All of those experiences are great memories to have.  Even little things like going to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair last fall or the 2012 Northeast Conclave of The Wildlife Society this past weekend (the reason I posted three blogs at once) are great to mix up the daily grind.

Yes, days off are always important.  Give yourself some time to relax, sure, but make sure you get out, too.   There is so must to do, so much to see, and so much fun to be had!  Why would you ever pass it up to sit on your couch and watch reruns on TV?  There are plenty of activities out there, both that require money and ones that don't.  There are plenty of parks around, even stopping by a playground while school is in session and spending some time reliving your childhood is a great way to step out of the ordinary.  Teach yourself to knit or go to a photography workshop.  Like the picture says, try something new! 

A reoccurring theme in one of the books I'm currently reading is the John Lennon quote, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."  Don't let life go on without you because believe me, it's entirely too short to begin with.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for...

Mauve Marauder.

Who is he?  What does he want?  Will we ever know!?

Let's find out.

In high school our cafeteria was filled with the stereotypical plastic chair-

There was a rainbow of colors, ranging from red to blue with some brown and black thrown in.  And then there was The Chair.  This chair was unlike all the other chairs in the cafeteria (which was large by the way).  It was the only chair of it's color.  Well, one day this chair just so happened to be at our table.  And so our discussion turned to it's magnificent color.  Except, we couldn't decide on the color.  Some said it was purple, but that clearly wasn't it since there were red tones to it.  Some said it was more brown.  But we finally, for the most part, decided that it was mauve.  And when I say we, I mean myself and my friend Emily.  Sarah, however, was having none of it.  She declared the chair purple.  And from that point on, the argument began.

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for...


AAaaaaand how they differ from Alpacas!!

Woot!  So this is a fun little topic that I find most people get confused about.  First off, llamas and alpacas are both camelids from South America.  Both animals have been domesticated for about 5,000 years, but for different purposes.  The llama was bred for pack-animal work, where the alpaca was bred for it's super-soft fleece.  When looking at the animals side by side, it is very easy to tell them apart as llamas are almost twice the size of alpacas.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for...


My lovely roommate!!  Here you see her cleaning the mold off of our bathroom ceiling as there is no fan in the bathroom.  Stupid design plan if you ask me.  But we take care of it.

Here we see her eating a deep fried Oreo.  I don't actually have too many pictures of her, so that's all you're going to get.  She's a pretty decent roommate, considering those I've had before.  And the best part?  We actually get along!  Yay!  I drag her around to more things than she probably wants, but she puts up with me.  Good times.  I guess in the future I should take more flattering pictures of her...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for...

Jeremy Kyle!!!

Or, more accurately, the Jeremy Kyle Show.  The Jeremy Kyle show is a daytime television show, similar to Jerry Springer or Maury, but filmed in Great Britain, and waaaay better than anything in America.  The thing that I loved about watching Jeremy Kyle while I was in NZ, other than the entire hostel showing up to watch it on a daily basis, is the sheer awesomeness of Jeremy himself.  He is not afraid to yell at his 'guests' and tell them what's up.

He has a wide variety of guests, too, which makes it way better than Maury who's always looking for someone's baby daddy, or Jerry Springer, where almost the entire show is bleeped out.  Take some of the following for example:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for...

Invasive/ Introduced Species.

Many of you may not realize, but introduced and invasive species are a big influence on the native biodiversity of many countries in the world today.  And for the most part humans are solely responsible for this.  Most of these species were introduced with full knowledge of humans, say reintroducing mustangs into this country.  But it is usually the unintentional introductions that do the most harm.  And I say this because the unintentional ones are usually very small animals or plants or insects that are overlooked on transport vessels or imported goods, etc.  Think zebra mussels.

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for...

Hunger Games! (Duh)

So clearly there has been a lot of hype about the series lately, with the release of the first (of three, hopefully) movie.  If you don't already know here is a quick rundown of the first book/ movie taken directly from the Hunger Games website;
Set in a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called The Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed. When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdee steps forward to take her younger sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
So yeah, not exactly your common young adult novel.  I'm hard pressed to even think of other stories like it, except for Lord of the Flies by William Golding and The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell.  Due to the violent nature of the book, there is some controversy involved.  Murder stories are most typically reserved for an older audience.  But the whole thing with this series is that the contestants are children, aged 12-18.  So who better to read the books?  I personally read The Most Dangerous Game (which, if you didn't know is about hunting humans for sport) when I was 14.  I don't think I've been overly harmed by it.  You know, except for those three ghouls I killed on Halloween last year... I kid, I kid.  But seriously, if people are worried about exposing their children to violence then they should lock them in a padded room with puzzles of kittens or something because violence abounds in this world today.  

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for...

Guy Fieri

You may know him from the following Food Network shows; Guy's Big Bite, Diners, Drive-In's and Dives, Tailgate Warriors, and NBC's Minute to Win It. This post isn't strictly about him, but it's his influence that led to it!!

We'll start with a quick info session, the Food Network is one of the only channels that we watch in my room here at DelVal.  We occasionally watch Fox, and when I say we I mean me, and when I say Fox I mean Bones.  Other times we flip the channel and end up watching Too Cute or Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet.  But usually, it's Food Network.

Friday, April 6, 2012

F if for...


Whoops!  Where did that come from?  Sadly my topic is not that of King Ferdinand circa 1492, but rather Ferdinand the Eucalyptus circa 2011.  Ferdinand is a tree.  A eucalyptus tree that my roommate and I made last October for the Homecoming Parade on campus.  The theme of Homecoming was Bright Lights, Big City, so Animal Science Society chose Sydney as their city.  We then had to make a float with the Sydney theme for the parade.  I was given the task of creating a tree.  Keep in mind I'm a poor college student.  Soooo the backbone was made of cardboard from cereal boxes and such, and then it was wrapped and stuffed with newspaper, painted brown, and had green 'leaves' stapled on it.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for...

Education Abroad Network!!

That's right, this is a straight up plug for the Education Abroad Network. The Education Abroad Network (TEAN) is the company that I went through when I went abroad to New Zealand last year (has it already been that long?!).  Anyways, I was and still am completely satisfied with my experience with TEAN.  They were there for me from start to finish, and even now everyone still knows who I am.

For any of my readers out there who may be thinking about studying abroad, I would definitely recommend going over with TEAN, if you can.  If you can't, for whatever reason, I still advise you to go.  And even if you're not studying, just GO!  GO ABROAD!  Travel the world and have fun! There is so much more in this world than where you live now.  Even vacations aren't quite the same as traveling, especially without an agenda.  There's something freeing when you realize that you don't have any plans to be somewhere or do something.  You can decide to take a train north or a bus east or a ferry south, etc.  Yes it can be scary occasionally (where am I going to sleep?) but then when you get to your destination for the day and you find this mostly empty hostel with an amazingly kind man running the place, it doesn't seem bad at all, especially when you have friends with you.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for...

Now before you stop reading, thinking this is going to be a tribute to my father, hang on a second and hear me out because this is really a story about Mike.

In high school, my dad started working at his current company.  Taking on this position meant he had to get up at 4am, meaning he went to bed at 8pm.  Well my high school concerts (3-4 a year) were always night concerts, starting at 7pm.  The band usually didn't go on until the second half, usually after 8pm.  You can see for yourself that this usually meant my dad would not get a chance to come to my concerts for the later years of my high school career.

My friends, being crazy, decided that the winter concert of my senior year was a great time to bring my dad to a concert.  Except they didn't really bring him.  Instead they hatched a crazy plan to get a picture of him, blow it up, glue it to a life-size cardboard cutout, dress it, and put it in the audience.

What they didn't realize was that I knew exactly what they were talking about from day one.  It really wasn't hard to figure out when they would talk about it in front of me, trying to make me mad because it was this big secret.  They even had code names.  MCKD= Mr. Caitlin K's Dad and MCKM= Mrs. Caitlin K's Mom.  Despite the fact that I knew what they were up to, I didn't realize the extent of how funny it was actually going to be when they finished the project.

So it's the night of the concert.  My mom and dad know, the band and choral directors know, almost everyone in the band knows, and they all think I don't know.  Well, I try my hardest to not go looking for it the moment I step onstage with the first ensemble.  Due to the lights it really wasn't that hard, since I could hardly see the audience anyways.  After leaving the stage I was walking in front of the audience when, bam!  My mom yells my name, I turn, and I see this guy-

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C if for...

Chickadee and Grandma Kenney.

Ever since I was a little girl my Grandma has called me her chickadee.  I'm not completely sure where the name originated in terms of calling me that, but I've always liked it.  It is, to this day, the only nickname I have.  However (a big however here) my Grandma is the only person who can call me this.  So friends be forewarned, if you ever call me this I will not respond.

In tribute to this childhood nickname, here is a chickadee. 

Adorable.  So this chickadee is a Black-capped Chickadee.  It is native to the majority of northern states and much of Canada, in any habitat that contains trees or woody shrubs.  Due to their natural curiosity and their unique body stature, chickadees are often the first bird that people learn.

Some cool chickadee facts?  The chickadee will hide seeds and other food items to eat later, similar to a squirrel.  The chickadee will place each item in a different spot and can remember thousands of hiding places.  How is this possible you ask?  "Every autumn Black-capped Chickadees allow brain neurons containing old information to die, replacing them with new neurons so they can adapt to changes in their social flocks and environment even with their tiny brains" (All About Birds).  Now that is cool. 

I am also contributing a picture of my grandma to this post...

That there is my grandma and grandpa on their wedding day.  Due to the fact that she hates having her picture taken, this is one of the few pictures that I have of her.  And, honestly, that is just fine with me because they are both beautiful and clearly in love.  I hope to find that for myself someday.  Though I do wish I had more images of her, at least I have these.

Note:  I will not post this entire challenge about animals.  They are just the most common thing in my life, the most common thing that I share with other people.  So get used to it!

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for...


That's right everybody, today's topic is the marvelous Binturong.  For those of you who have never heard of this enchanting animal, pay attention.  The Binturong is a medium sized carnivore from Southeast Asia.  This beautiful animal can grow up to six feet long, nose to tail, with the females being larger than the males.  The really cool thing about the binturong is that they possess prehensile tails, which is rare among carnivorous mammals (the only other example is the kinkajou of South America), and as they spend most of their time in the trees, they certainly need them.

The Binturong is also known as the bearcat.  If you look at the picture above you can probably see why.  They are relatively large creatures with long white whiskers.  The thing that really makes binturongs unique, however, is their scent glands.  As with most other animals in the Civet family, the binturong has scent glands located under the tail.  These glands are used to mark territory and identify individuals, as most scent glands are.  The cool part is actually the scent.  The binturong smells like popcorn.  Yes, you read that right.  Most people agree that the scent given off by the binturong smells like popcorn, as do their newborn cubs.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for...

Hello everybody!  Guess what today is?  Today is April 1st, otherwise known as April Fool's Day.  It is also the first day of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  Now if I was cool enough and though of this before hand, doing a post on April Fool's would have been a pretty smart thing to do.  However, I only now realized that it would have worked and I already have another topic that I really want to post about.  So maybe we'll talk about it next year. 

Okay so the topic I am so excited for is, of course, Avatar: The Last Airbender.  And I am not talking about the James Cameron Avatar with the blue people on another planet.  I'm talking about the Nickelodeon cartoon with the people who have the power to manipulate the four elements: air, water, earth, and fire. Each element has a nation built around it, consisting of benders and non-benders alike.  It is only the Avatar who can master all four elements and maintain world order.

The premise of this show is that the Avatar, Aang, has been lost to the world for 100 years.  Most everybody thought he was dead.  However, he is discovered in an iceberg by a girl waterbender, Katara, and her brother Sokka.  Together they embark upon a journey to help Aang master the four elements while simultaneously avoiding the seeking hands of the Fire Nation, who has practically conquered the world in the absence of the Avatar.

I absolutely love this series for multiple reasons, including:
1. The Characters
2. The Story
3. The Animation
4. Character Development
5. Animals