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January 31, 2008

Rise and Shine

This morning on the way to class I stopped at the Gopher Express for a Clif bar (peanut butter, chocolate chip) and some OJ. I was hesitant to buy the Clif bar for two reasons: 1. I ate way too many of them last fall on my camping trip in Yellowstone 2. $1.79 seems like a lot of money for a health bar. However, after I purchased my goods and realized that I had only spent $3.51 on breakfast, I was pretty thrilled. I realized that 2 dollars it not a lot to spend on something that will fill me up for a long time and has a lot of good nutrients in it. Looking back is was probably a better decision that the bagel and cream cheese I was eyeing beforehand.

In Sr. Seminar we watched a clip from a video on UTube, and I have done some emailing too.

Movie Night In

During my class last night we watched a short movie from TED about fractals. The class is Design Factors of Human Perception, and our professor is trying to get us to think outside our usual design strategies. The movie lasted about 15 minutes, but I was restless from the uncomfortable chairs in the auditorium and my mind was elsewhere. I had a bad experience with fractals once in high school too, so I was not all that focused on the movie.

Last night after class I dove into some chicken almond ding that Erik had ordered. I was hungry and it was filling, but I don't remember much more about it. Sometimes when I am really hungry I don't really think about the food I'm eating - I just eat. We also watched Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train off of the Net Flicks website. Erik has a subscription to Net Flicks and can watch movies off of their website as part of the deal. They have a limited selection of movies on their website, but we have managed to find a few good ones that we haven't seen yet. The movie was entertaining as most of Hitchcock's movies are. I am especially a fan of the dramatic screaming scenes where there is a close up of the frightened woman's face.

January 30, 2008

Staying warm and working hard

My consumption level has been relatively low today. I do not have class until 6 tonight, and I am not leaving the confines of my warm apartment until I absolutely have to. I have parked myself in my dining room, as it is the warmest room in the apartment, and I am doing some hardcore school work. I have taken a few breaks to watch a few shows on the Food Network, mostly because I needed some time away from school. There was an interesting show on earlier today about cheeses in Scotland, and Everday Italian is featuring some "light" meals right now. I spent a few minutes here and there on the internet looking at my email account and the AIGA Minnesota website. I checked a few dates of upcoming AIGA events and sent a few emails. I am also making a lot of headway in the Introducing Postmodernism book, which I would consider consumption. I have spent about 2.5 hours reading the book today and wondering how much of information I will really retain. Sometimes I wonder where all of this information is coming from!

Late Night Eating

I have class until 8:10 on Tuesday nights, no real opportunity to eat dinner beforehand, so I stopped at Arby's for a roast beef sandwich last night. I need to get to the grocery store for some cooking basics or quick microwavable meals to make dinners when I get home on my later nights, but it has been too cold to go anywhere not required! When I got home my roommate was watching House on TV so watched 20 minutes of that. I wasn't really paying attention to the programming, as I was very hungry and not that interested in a repeat of the its Christmas episode. $4.20

January 29, 2008

American Gladiator: what a show

In senior seminar we talked about wrestling as a spectacle, particularly in the sense that Barthes wrote about. One of the modern day references we talked about was American Gladiator. The new and "improved" version of the show started airing on network TV about a month or so ago, and I admit that I have watched a couple of episodes. I was always intrigued by the show when I was young, but never really remembered a lot of it, so I was interested to see how today's version of the show would appeal to me. After watching a few episodes and I have come to a few conclusions, which follow closely with Barthe's observations about wrestling.

American Gladiator is a spectacle. Although it is not as planned out as professional wrestling, there is still very much an exaggerated play on the audience's emotions and expectations. Each gladiator has a character that they play, and some are more obvious stereotypes that others. In the beginning of the show and at the beginning of the events that gladiators are announced and appear with dramatic lighting and music - and lots of flames. Some characters take their characters to extremes such as Toa, who carries a spear with him, and Wolf, who howls and growls at contestants. Each gladiator appears and acts exactly how the audience expects them to. For the most part, the women are fit but also very attractive. The men are bulky and play their characters like they are the kings of the ring.

The stage is set with red, white, and blue everywhere. Fans cheer and hold sign, much like at a sporting event. The announcer of the show even compares the events to "David and Goliath". Everything has been carefully calculated, down to the overweight, "average joe" referee who stands on the sidelines and asks if the competitors and Gladiators are "ready".

One of my least favorite parts of the show, which ironically enough is the part that is supposed to appeal to the women in the audience, is the way that each "moral" contestant is played up as America's hero or heroine. When a new competitor is introduced they show a video of their daily lives and soft, dramatic music plays in the background. They make everyone seem lovable and try to get the audience to "know" them in a 30 second clip. This too plays into the idea of the spectacle, but creating characters for even the regular people. Personally, I think that this part of the show is too corny to take seriously, and the times that I have watched past episodes we have skipped through them with the TiVo.

In the episode we watched in class, we saw the Powerball event. First Jesse and Koya competed against the gladiators Venom, Siren, and Stealth. Jess was injured during the event when one of the gladiator's tackled her against a wall. A replay followed the event, where the contact was played in slow motion to really get the audience to react. The gladiators and the other contestant try to act sincere as though they have a "great respect" for Jesse and all of her efforts in the game. What they are really connecting with is the story she told earlier about raising her three girls. The gladiators do not really "respect" her for the 2 minutes she played the game with them, they "respect" her for her life as a dedicated mother - the real American hero.

There are no real villains in the game. Although the audience cheers against the gladiators, they do not really see them in a negative light. They are strong and sometimes scary, but they never play dirty and always show sportsmanship. This is supposed to be a reflection of true, American sport. Everyone gets a chance and everyone gets the glorification they "deserve".

Cold again

This morning I watched about 20 minutes of news from Fox 9 while eating my breakfast of granola and yogurt. I bought the granola from one of my favorite cafes, Trotters, and I am trying plan, non-fruity yogurt for the first time. I watched Fox 9 because I wanted to know about the weather for the week, and I know that they always have weather on the 9s.

I spent a few minutes on Craig's List looking at apartments. Erik and one of his roommates are looking for a new place since their other roomie is leaving, and there is a possibility that he and I will just stay in that place after we get married; therefore, I have some say in the places they are looking at.


My consumption for the day did not start until 12pm, when I went out to lunch with my mom. We went to Houlihan's in Richfield since it was on the way home from my doctor's office in Bloomington. I had a buffalo chicken sandwich and some Mediterranean orzo. I chose the orzo over french frieds since it appeared to be more flavorful and less fattening. $10.50.

Later on in the afternoon and watched the Food Network for an hour or so. The programs I watched were Barefoot Contessa and 30 Minute Meals. Although I was paying attention to the programming, I was doing a number of other tasks at the same time, so I don't remember much about the shows.

A Sunday without football!

It has been a long time since I have spent a Sunday without watching football. I admit it was a nice change of pace. I met Erik and his mom and sister at French Meadow Bakery in the morning for breakfast. We meet there most Sundays before going to church at the Sanctuary to talk and catch up on life. I had the breakfast bagel sandwich and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, both full of flavor and nutrition! $11.02

My big breakfast held me over until about 4:00pm, when a craving for a cheeseburger hit. I haven't had a cheeseburger is so long! The quest was on to find a tasty yet inexpensive burger. Luckily I remembered that Figlio's has their happy hour from 12-7 on Sundays! Erik, his roommate, and I were off for mini burgers and a beer - at a great price! $6 with tax and tip!

After Figlio's I stopped at Duplex to visit my friend Kristin. We got together for a glass wine (at happy hour price) after her shift. I haven't seen her for a couple of weeks, so it was nice to get caught up. Whenever we get together, we tend to splurge on a dessert, so we couldn't pass up the mixed berry bread pudding. $7.00

Spendy Saturday

Due to my pseudo-nomadic lifestyle, especially on the weekends, I have decided that keeping a written record of some of my consumption habits will be the best way to keep me on track with recording information. I do not always have access to a computer and the internet, depending on where I am spending my time, so I have started written down the things I consume as a journal, which will be transferred to my blog when I have it available to me.

I spent my morning eating chocolate pancakes on the couch with Erik watching last night's PTI (Pardon The Interruption), followed by some of CNN's coverage of the presidential race. We watch PTI often, and I my sports knowledge has grown beyond basketball as a result - which often proves helpful in a heated Trivial Pursuit game.

That afternoon I went with my sister to Michael's to help her pick out some decorations for her upcoming wedding in May. We are looking for some faux greenery and/or some ribbon to use for the centerpieces. After browsing through the expensive and obviously fake looking grasses and vines, I convinced my sister that it would be more economical and classy to use real plants. We did find some cute ribbon to tie around some mason jar luminaries that we will be making later on. Unfortunately, we were also sucked into the 80% reduced prices Christmas decorations section! I was hesitant to look around, but 80% is a deal! I ended up finding a package of 12 Christmas balls for my tree next year for $1.39, some fun ribbon for $1.00, and some red ribbon which I will use for my own wedding that was on sale at 4 rolls for $1! I was fairly excited and proud of my purchases, given the fact the I would most likely have bought all of those things at another time in the coming year, and for a much higher price. Total: $3.39

That evening Erik and I went out to dinner at Spill the Wine, with some money that my parents had given us as an engagement gift. We are both getting into wine, and I had been there this past summer for their happy hour. Also, Erik was able to purchase a $50 Minnesota Originals gift certificate online last week for the restaurant for $35. Between the $15 we would save with the certificate and the $50 from my parents, we figured we could have a really nice night and taste some great wine. We ordered bruschetta as an appetizer, and it was a truly original take on the dish. I ordered the market place Salmon, which came with shrimp (which were NOT de-veined), and grilled asparagus. Erik ordered some sort of pasta dish with squash, but I was too distracted by my disappointment in my own meal to remember all of the details of his. The fish was bland, and the non-de-veined shrimp incident was not handled very professionally by the staff at Spill the Wine. However, we both ended up with fabulous glasses of wine and a great dessert! The overall experience was a split, but we did end up joining their Wine Club. For $25 you can get 8 glasses of any wine on their by the glass menu, any time, no expiration. Since we had such a good experience with the wine portion of our evening, we decided that joining the club would be a good way for us to try more wines and save more money in the end. Total after the using the gift certificate and with tip: $62.00

After dinner we went to the Lagoon to see Juno, which was a great movie! I had heart a lot of people saying that how good this movie is, and they were right. We like going to see movies at the Lagoon, since it is near Erik's house and they have a good selection of independent films. If you go on Sundays you can take your stub to Bar Abilene and get a free margarita! $8.10

January 25, 2008

Searching for New Zealand

I have just spent the past 2 hours searching the internet for information about New Zealand. We are supposed to be "getting to know" our country, city, or state for Graphic Design 4, and with any luck by the time I am done with this project I will be a Kiwi at heart. I have sadly become dependent and acceptant of Wikipedia as a valid informational source. I also explored, which obviously has lots of good tourist information. One thing that I found to a surprisingly good source for images is Facebook (I suppose it's time to admit that Facebook has done a few good things for me). There is a New Zealand group, where people have posted tons of images. I also spent quite a bit of time browsing my so-to-be brother-in-law's profile page where he has posted a lot of photos from his semester abroad there. He and my sister will both be excellent sources for the project.

And, I am drinking a coke right now. If there was ever a semester that could addict me to caffeine, it will be this one!

D. Brien's = D. Licious

After class this afternoon I met Erik downtown for lunch. We went to D. Brien's Deli in the skyway and I had a great sandwich. Erik's been telling me that it's a good choice for a skyway lunch because the food is good and fresh, and the prices are reasonable. $5.99

Splurge for cooking

Last night my sweetie and I made a trip to Kowlaski's and South Lyndale Liquors to collect some necessities for dinner. We made chicken marsala with a twist, which included a few ingredients we did not have on hand. I am usually a fairly thrifty shopper, but as we continue to cook and continue to get better at it, we have decided that fresh, quality ingredients are something that it worth spending the money on.

At Kowlaski's: focaccia bread, a pint of yogurt, mascarpone cheese, onion, garlic, chicken breasts, bananas (not for the marsala), cremini mushrooms, and dark chocolate gelatto (let's just say I needed it!). $32.44

At South Lyndale Liquors: one bottle of dry marsala wine and a bottle of Malbec from Argentina. I have found that marsala is much too sweet, so we had to buy the Malbec to drink with the meal. $16.22

Surprisingly enough the rest of the night was not filled with the usual TV show or movie, but rather we ended up in an extended political debate. I also was able to collect a fair amount of garbage in the cooking aftermath!

January 24, 2008

Printing expenses on the rise

Attempt #1 at a rough portfolio, with moderately successful results. I am wondering how long it will take to get it right, and how many reprints it is going to take. 11 pages on 11x17 paper, and 3 are possible keepers. $14.06

January 23, 2008

Another book!

Another book from Amazon (hopefully my last of the required texts!) "Universal Principles of Design" I'm starting to wonder if I will actually read all of these books, or if I am wasting money? $25.32

Books, Books, Books

Bought too many books off of Amazon today for classes. Time to expand my design library. "Becoming a Graphic Designer", "The Brand Gap", "Designing a Digital Portfolio", "Looking Closer 4", and "Introducing Postmodernsim" $82.77. Saved $6.96 with the Super Saver discount on my shipping by spending A LOT of money!

January 22, 2008

Lunchtime Consumption

Had to eat some lunch before a long stretch of classes. Trying the healthy route with a chicken pita. $3.20

Also, had to print some test runs of my resume. $4.60