What I Want to Ask George R. R. Martin

I’ve already seen all 4 seasons of Game of Thrones, so I know how involved Littlefinger is in many events. I’m going back and reading the books now, and I can’t help but feel biased now. I’m in the middle of the first book now and am looking at Lysa and Baelish in a suspicious light, but I want to know how much of the story did George plan out before he was writing book one and how much comes along as he’s writing? Did he already know the ending before he wrote the first book? Or was he still formulating ideas? I would imagine at least some is planned out because the subtleties of how the characters behave in earlier situations rely on how much they know. Additionally, did the actors playing Lysa and Baelish know these facts when they were portraying them in the first season? Because it would slightly alter their approach! This also goes for any of the other characters that are keeping secrets. Do the actors know?

Track: Soon We'll Be Found
Artist: Sia
Album: Some People Have Real Problems

Sia - Soon We’ll Be Found

Check out the music video! Very creative.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1x8DMfbYN4

Track: Clown
Artist: Emeli Sande
Album:

Emeli Sande - Clown

Loving her voice and songwriting.

I’m not afraid of dying, but I’m in no hurry to die.

Stephen Hawking

There’s nothing like the Eureka moment of discovering something that no one knew before. I won’t compare it to sex, but it lasts longer.

Stephen Hawking
So I just found out Emma Watson has a younger brother named Alex, born in the same year as me lol (1992)

So I just found out Emma Watson has a younger brother named Alex, born in the same year as me lol (1992)

Sia

What I thought Sia might look like:
image

Who Sia actually is:
image

Humans don’t have the best sense of hearing, but we are able to discern sounds to a pretty good level. After hearing Sia’s recent songs like Titanium with David Guetta (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRfuAukYTKg), Wild Ones with Flo Rida(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpOR_HuHRNs), and Chandelier (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vjPBrBU-TM), I totally thought her voice resembled a woman with some African descent. She never really appeared in videos though, or I just never looked at the music videos and heard the songs only. And since I’ve only recently seen her name in music, I probably just assumed she was new and a younger artist. But I was completely wrong! Sia is from Australia and has been in music for quite some time. She is currently 38. (Many people were wrong before they knew what JoJo looked like too!)

What led me to this discovery was her song Chandelier. Sara Bareilles was doing a cover of the song, then I checked out the actual video. In it, there was a young girl dancing, but I thought, that couldn’t possibly be Sia! But now it seems the video represents a younger spirit of herself.

After that, I discovered so much more about her! She has written so many songs for other artists, including Diamonds for Rihanna, Perfume for Britney Spears, Pretty Hurts for Beyonce (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXXQLa-5n5w), and others for Christina Aguilera, Lea Michelle, etc. She also stopped touring and performing while showing her face in front of audiences. Some say it’s due to her anxiety and Grave’s Disease diagnosis. Some say it is because she wants people to focus more on her voice during the performance. It could be a combination of both. But it must be difficult to deal with an autoimmune disease. She lost her boyfriend to an accident a few years ago and entered a bout of depression where she did a lot of drugs and even attempted suicide. Luckily, her friend found her and she seems happy now. She said all she wants is to create music and that’s what she’s doing!

Here’s a video of her singing Breathe Me a few years ago
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSPAargq4LI

It doesn’t matter if it’s a relationship, a lifestyle, or a job. If it doesn’t make you happy let it go.

William Chapman (via phoe-bs)

(Source: williamchapmanwritings)

How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you.

Unknown  (via floreali)

I am inspired by my students

My experience today was different from what I normally encounter. Usually, I would say that my students bring me joy simply because I love what I do. Even if I’m having a stressful day, or if I didn’t sleep enough, or if I feel sad, after I’m done tutoring or teaching them I feel overwhelmed with joy. Because every time our session is done, I see the genuine happiness in their eyes. I know their thank you’s are true, and I’m happy to be able to help them in a class they want to do well in.

Today, however, my admiration comes from a different type of story. Most of the time I just talk about biology with my students. Sometimes, we’ll mention trivial things going on in our lives, how we’re doing, etc. Today, I was humbled when my student shared a very important part of her life with me. I was also just amazed at how much she endured and still manages to be one of the funniest and upbeat people I’ve met. She comes to drop-in often and always has questions ready. Today they just learned about the nervous system and she was very excited to clarify some points. I know she is smart and is doing her best in this class. I was so thrilled when she said she got A’s on her first two exams! Who would have known that only a few years ago, she had to go through a massive head surgery? She mentioned that she was born with a hole in her skull, but never really thought too much about it until she was a teen. After going to the doctor, she found out she had to get surgery for it because the hole was getting larger, and an artery had burrowed in. So for months during her freshman year of high school, she had to deal with the recovery of her head surgery. She wore hats for her shaved head, and said that nobody really noticed. Another time in her junior year, after getting her wisdom teeth pulled, her head suddenly felt like it was going to explode. Doctors were scared that it was a bacteria infection that could have manifested into meningitis. She was bedridden in the hospital for over a month. But throughout the whole story she was frank and upbeat. “Yeah those 2 were not fun years. And right after I got out of the hospital my mom caught a super bug.” She laughed a bit at my astonishment. “Yup, but it’s all good now!” And then as we finished our conversation, she mentioned that’s why she was so interested in the nervous system. So what began as a normal tutoring session ended up as a huge learning experience, for me. I learned so much more about my student and realized how strong and brave she is.

Limited, and Yet Not Limited, Vocabulary

So I’ve been studying for the GRE the past few weeks, and a big chunk of preparing for this test requires learning a plethora of words. Of course, that is not true for everyone’s plan of action. Some people are very familiar with these “GRE words” and may choose to focus more on brushing up on math. Presumably, this test incorporates words that we, as college students, should have seen in our daily lives, through reading, interactions with colleagues, etc. This got me a little discouraged because I have been running into words everything that I have never before seen in my life! I’ve been doing my best to try and learn/memorize as many words as I can each day: I downloaded vocabulary apps on my phone (which are actually quite helpful), I make flashcards every time I run into a word I do not know the definition of, I’ve been reading more news articles from noteworthy journals (not just Yahoo!), I’ve encouraged my friends to find random words and test me on them any time of the day, and I set a goal of finishing A Game of Thrones and another book before my test arrives. Through all these different exposures, I have to say I’ve learned a good number of new words these past few weeks.

However, I keep thinking to myself, wouldn’t it be so much easier if I had already known these words in the first place? If I just sprinkled these into my daily conversations with friends. In fact, why couldn’t I? As I thought more about this, I became slightly envious of those who grew up with English as their main language in their household, who were able to talk to their parents in English and probably knew words I’m learning now when they were very young (not to say that this is my parents’ fault at all). I even thought, well, if I was an English major, or something similar, this test would be so easy for me! How lucky for them! Is this test unfair? I also blamed myself for not reading more books in college. Why didn’t I? What was I doing these four years? Definitely not preparing for the GRE!

Then it dawned on me. I actually have been reading a lot. Not the conventional book though (there have probably only been 7 books that I’ve been assigned). As a Biology major, I’ve been reading textbooks, research papers, other articles that are either assigned or contained in readers, lab manuals, etc. This also made me realize, I DO know a good amount of vocabulary. After all, biology crams so much information into your brain. I’ve memorized all these concepts and new terms that many people may not be familiar with. During my studies, I remember reaching the point where Wikipedia no longer helped me. If I typed in some topic into Google, the only results that would show up were research publications in journals like Science, Pubmed, etc.

I mean, I can list a few concepts/words that I have learned in college that other people may not. Histone acetylation, heterochromatin, epigenetics, actin and myosin, microtubules, chondrocyte, osteon, sarcoplasmic reticulum, enchephalitis, edema, proteobacteria, acromion, epigastric furrow, chilopods, echinoderms, hemocyanin, aminoacyl tRNA synthetase, topoisomerase, hemizygous, epistasis, allosteric regulation, cholecystokinin, gastrin, glucagon, tricuspid valve, protonephridia, aldosterone, angiotensin, carbocation, sterocenter, nucleophile. These are all words that most biology majors have encountered and mastered. THESE are the words that you may hear in our daily conversations.

Biology HAS taught me many words and concepts indeed! It is almost like a new language. This is also likely true for many other majors as well. So, this short self-reflection has taught me to not envy the differences I have with others, but rather appreciate them. It has reminded me that no, I’m not dumber than somebody else because I was not exposed to the same words as they were. There are still other things I’ve learned that they may not have. We all have our own background stories. Unfortunately, the GRE does not test on any of the words I listed. I’ve been telling friends I fear this test because my vocabulary is limited. Now I know that’s not the whole truth. I do have an extensive vocabulary, in a sense. I just don’t know all the words for a different setting, for this test. As much as I wish they would, that would require non-science majors to learn some science vocabulary. Is that fair? Probably not. True, I need to learn words that might come second nature to an English major, I know that putting common biology terms would be too specific. It would be similar to putting architecture, math, or physics terms in which most people may not know. I know ETS is trying to be as fair as possible, but there is a little extra work for us science majors preparing for the verbal section.

At the same time, I am grateful for what this test is teaching me. By reading more articles and books outside of my usual subject, I’ve learned more about the world around me and some new vocab. I feel a tiny bit more rounded, which I guess a college graduate should be. So, bravo to the GRE. For now. I’ll see if I feel the same after I take the test. lol

One of the most moving videos I have seen yet :’)

Track: I Choose You
Artist: Sara Bareilles
Album:

Sara Bareilles - I Choose You

This song is just too sweet <3

I’ll be alright. Just not tonight. Someday…

Sara Bareilles - Gonna Get Over You

(Source: hippopotalust)

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I shall try this blogging thing.
If you would like to ask me any questions, just go to (http://www.ilovehippos.tumblr.com/ask).

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