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Some of you may think that football is a primitive sport closely mirroring the historic clash of the Neanderthals versus the Cro-Magnons.  I confess that I used to be one of you.  Before I came to Cal, I couldn’t understand what made football fans so passionate, what made my dad jump to his feet in front of the television yelling “GO GO GO!”, and what made millions of fans impatiently ask each week, “Is It Monday Yet?”

Marshawn Lynch played for the Bears against USC in 2006, and was drafted in the NFL the next year.

I’m still not a fan of professional football, or even of watching college football on TV, but there is something incomparable to being in the student section of Memorial Stadium at a Cal football home game.  The entire student section becomes one entity, collectively holding our breath, groaning, and cheering as the game unfolds.  When Cal scores a touchdown, the atmosphere in the stadium is wild.  The six points are heralded by a loud explosion from the victory cannon and the marching band’s victorious rendition of “Fight For California”, while in the student section, I jump up and down inarticulately yelling something really intelligent like, “YEAH!  YEAH!  YEAH!”, high-fiving everyone within a two-bleacher radius, and assisting brave crowd-surfers on their ascent to the top of the stadium, gliding upwards upon a sea of jubilant hands.

Those of you who went to Monta Vista may recognize these rather rabid-looking fans, featured on Sports Illustrateds website last season.

Those of you who went to Monta Vista may recognize these rather rowdy-looking fans, featured on Sports Illustrated's website last season.

No matter how many times I’ve seen it, this year’s promotional video for Cal football always gets me pumped.  I think it’s exceptionally well edited and visually strong, and if I didn’t already have season tickets, this video would certainly prompt me to buy them:

I will certainly be watching tomorrow’s home game vs. Oregon.  There’s only one way to end a post like this, and that’s with “Go Bears!”

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ChunkIt!, a search engine tool created by the company I’m interning for, was featured this year in an article called “11 Things You Shouldn’t Leave For School Without”.  The article was posted on Dumb Little Man, which is kind of like LifeHacker in that it teaches you tips for making your life easier.

The article’s 10 little-known but highly recommended websites for students includes OttoBib, an automatic bibliography creator tool; eFax, which allows you to recieve faxes as email attachments in your inbox; and Qipit, which allows you easily to turn cameraphone photos of your school notes into documents.

Of course, the website I was most excited about seeing in the article was getchunkit.com:

”Instead of clicking from link to link, this add-on is able to mine every link on a web page and pulls out the information for you. Makes researching 10x faster.”‘

Dumb Little Man about ChunkIt!

“11 Things You Shouldn’t Leave for School Without” was featured on Propeller this week, and has something like 1500 diggs on Digg.  If you’re a student, check it out and bookmark it; it has lots of helpful suggestions.

One of the new things college freshmen have to learn in the first few weeks is how to do their laundry properly.  It’s amazing to see that some of your floormates who are smart enough to build a computer or win a debate tournament haven’t the faintest idea how to sort their laundry or what machine settings to use.

First, you need a kickass laundry basket.  I got mine from IKEA, and I almost always get compliments on it in the elevator or in the laundry room because it’s just that flippin’ awesome.  The most important two aspects of a laundry basket, though, is that it fits in your closet and has comfortable handles.

My laundry basket can beat up your laundry basket.

My laundry basket can beat up your laundry basket.

Your other basic laundry supplies should be: a net for delicate clothes, a detergent for front-loading washers, fabric softener sheets, and a quality stain remover.  I’ve tried many stain removers over the years, and Zout is the best.  It comes in a spray, foam, and liquid; I prefer the liquid.  It uses enzymes to get out all kinds of stains without damaging the fabric.  In most cases, it doesn’t even matter how old or set in the stains are.  Seriously, Zout is your new laundry best friend/miracle worker/life saver.

Canonization of Zout forthcoming?

Canonization of Zout forthcoming?

When it comes time to sort your laundry, you should sort whites/light colors in one load, and bold/dark colors in another load.  If you go to Berkeley, you’ll probably have a third pile for blue clothes that consists entirely of jeans and Cal gear.  Remember to pre-treat clothes with stains.

The classic sorting rule about washing new clothes is that if you’re washing something for the first time and it is not pure white, you should really wash it by itself.  If you’re feeling particularly lazy and/or poor (in other words, if you’re a college student and not Martha Stewart), you can risk washing the item with everything else and you’ll probably be fine if you use cold water.

In fact, the most foolproof setting for all loads of laundry is cold water, because it prevents colors from bleeding and is far more environmentally friendly.  We’re big on that in Berkeley.  The only reason to use warm or hot water is if you have a load full of white bedsheets; white obviously doesn’t bleed or fade, and hot water kills germs.  Permanent press is fine unless the load contains delicates, in which case your setting of choice should be obvious.

The Wasup machine is a water-saving combination washing machine and toilet for urban dwellers.  Awkward.

The Wasup machine is a water-saving combination washing machine and toilet for urban dwellers. Awkward.

When you transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer, remember to remove delicates for air-drying.  Also, check to see if your stain remover has worked; if it hasn’t, and you throw that shirt in the dryer, all bets on future removal are off and you could be a very sad camper.  Remember to clean the lint screen, and if you have anything particularly linty to dry, like a towel, consider setting it aside rather than throw it in with all of your black shirts.  Don’t forget the fabric softener sheet, and use the delicate heat setting.  Any higher, and the industrial power of coin-operated machines will shrink your clothes.

Remember to set a timer for your washer and dryer so that your clothes don’t get unceremoniously dumped on a neighboring machine by an impatient fellow laundry-doer.  There’s nothing worse in laundry land than having all of your underwear piled out in the open for all the world to see.  Don’t forget to fold your clothes right after you take them out of the dryer to save yourself a lot of work with an iron later.

Overwhelmed?  Chin up, you can’t be worse than Rachel in this classic Friends episode:

In addition to learning to cook, I’m also learning to grocery shop in my first few weeks in the apartment.  I usually shop at Trader Joe’s on College Avenue because it’s easily accessible by bus, the items are always good quality, and it’s often cheaper than Safeway.  I love Joe.

One cool thing I learned so far to save money is to substitute ground turkey for ground beef.  It’s cheaper per pound, leaner (and thus healthier), and it’s better for the environment.  Cows take up a lot more resources than turkeys do to produce an equivalent amount of meat, making both the dollar and the environmental cost higher.  (Of course, if you really want to eat efficiently on the food chain, you should become a vegetarian.  But I can’t give up my meat just like that.)

At Trader Joes, ground turkey is about $2.99/lb.  (P.S. This isnt Trader Joes turkey.)

At Trader Joe's, ground turkey is about $2.99/lb. (P.S. This isn't Trader Joe's turkey.)

So far, I’ve used ground turkey to make meat sauce for my pasta, as well as a delicious lasagna.