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my new favorite pictures.

 corgi puppy jumping

Corgis are just too darn cute.


This is a great story by Karen Heller about the Franklin (Institute) in Philadelphia.

I love learning and I watch the Science Channel all the time. As a kid I remember enjoying museums – The Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, the Kohl Children’s Museum (I grew up near Chicago) –  where I could learn stuff, and play at the same time. I’m disappointed after reading this article about the Franklin (it sounds really weird to me to call it that).

Karen Heller: The dumbing down of science

By Karen Heller
Inquirer Columnist 

Earlier this year, one of Philadelphia’s illustrious cultural institutions underwent cosmetic surgery and had its name reduced.
Our largest science institution simply became the Franklin, as if it were some glistening condo development or waterfront casino.

Which is fitting, given all the sizzle, pyrotechnics and cost. Adult admission has soared to $23.25 if you want to see the current exhibits “Real Pirates” and “Chronicles of Narnia,” the latter – correct me if I’m wrong – based on a fictional world and $1 billion global movie franchise.

“Adults” happens to mean anyone over 11, a rather severe view for an organization geared toward students. Imax? That’s $5.50 extra. Audio tour? Yo ho ho, and an additional $6. For that kind of money, I left my two adults, 12 and 14, at home.

New York’s American Museum of Natural History, a superior museum, offers $17 student tickets for ages 13 through 17 that include general admission and its more substantive featured exhibit, “The Horse.” Why does the Franklin choose to financially penalize children for aging?

Pirate booty

“Pirates” is the latest in the Franklin’s succession of tantalizing blockbusters, following “Body Worlds,” and shows on the Titanic, Star Wars, and King Tut, the equivalent of a casino floor show, there to draw in folks who might find science sort of yucky.

This show makes painful attempts at diversity. Kids, Indians, former slaves, boys and even women were once pirates, too. See? Any one could grow up to be a criminal!

“Pirates” offers instructive points on torture, amputation and hooch. Did you know that “pirates drank anything they could get their hands on?” You can acquire alcoholic alchemy: grog = rum + water. The show even offers Smell-O-Vision, a wood scent permeating the tavern display. It’s a blessing no one opted for eau de scurvy.

What “Pirates” doesn’t teach is science; instead it dumbs down learning to a theme-park level. The show ends, as these things always do, at a gift shop featuring a dazzling array of overpriced junk – swords, a stuffed “pirate pup,” and skull-and-crossbones sunglasses.

Pieces of eight

The afternoon I attended, the Franklin was swarming with tourist families and urban day-campers. This seemed a smart arrangement: Full-paying tourists subsidizing underserved city youth.

The rub was that neither group appeared well-served by science. “Sports Challenge” is more Dave and Buster’s than lessons in physiology, a homage to hyperactivity where kids run around without ever stopping to learn.

“Sir Isaac’s Loft” contains one of those George Rhoads kinetic sculptures found in airports. “Sometimes you just can’t avoid science,” the caption reads, almost as an apology. “My intention is not to exemplify scientific principles,” Rhoads states on the plaque. Oh, great.

Frequently, the Franklin seems as scared of learning as it does of science. Lopping off the “Institute” is an indication. What I watched was kids dashing madly, going from one pit stop to the other, without absorbing much. There was so much insistent fun (!) and no, this-isn’t-really-science stuff that the place is transformed into just another consumer palace.

The one science at which the Franklin excels is the dismal one of economics. Inside these hallowed walls, pretzels miraculously soar from 50 cents to $2.75. Bottled water, scientifically equal to the free fountain variety, is $2.75. Though prices rival those at the ballpark, there’s no dollar-dog day. Hot dogs are always $3.75.

Start your engines, adults 12 and older. This Wednesday is “Race Car Day,” when that great organization of higher learning, NASCAR, teams up with the Franklin for a full day of science and fumes.

That last line made me laugh :)

So excited!

From a Rise Against MySpace bulletin:

New Album: Appeal To Reason, and Fall Tour!!!
That’s right, our new record, Appeal To Reason, has been completed and will be released October 7th, 2008. As you may know, we have once again teamed up with our friends Bill Stevenson & Jason Livermore, who produced Appeal To Reason at the Blasting Room, along with their capable team of engineers. Bill & Jason are the genius’ behind The Sufferer & The Witness and also the responsible for the re-mix of our first record, The Unraveling on Fat Wreck, as well as numerous other songs, including our recent cover of “Little Boxes” for the show “Weeds”.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, we’ve teamed up with some old friends for a fall tour and are hoping to bring it to your town. RISE AGAINST, ALKALINE TRIO, THRICE, THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM. We considered giving the tour some fancy name, but then realized that nothing looks or sounds as good as those four bands together, in our own humble opinion.

See you this fall !

-Rise Against

I don’t know who Gaslight Anthem is, but after missing Alkaline Trio last night I’m glad to know they will probably be back in the fall + Rise Against and Thrice!

That makes up for the fact that today I found out I have my first two cavities ever. booo.


Update: The dates have been announced and are available on Rise Against’s Myspace page. See you at the Philly show October 16th!

Another update: Got my tickets during the presale wednesday! Also, I listened to Gaslight Anthem and I don’t get why so many people are so into them. Whatever!

We saw Alkaline Trio last night at Croc Rock in Allentown. yay! It was fun. Here is what they played (not in order)

help me

in vein

calling all skeletons

goodbye forever

i lied my face off

time to waste

mercy me

private eye




this could be love

we’ve had enough

every thug needs a lady

maybe i’ll catch fire

she took him to the lake


old school reasons


I wish they would have played 97 instead of radio, metro instead of old school reasons, and different songs from good mourning, but it was a fun show anyway!

update Just got back from seeing Alkaline Trio at the Montgomery Mall at the Zumiez Couch Tour. Man, did I feel old! It was too bad the crowd didn’t seem that into the band. Oh well… it was free. They played almost the same set minus: clavicle, maybe i’ll catch fire, she took him to the lake, old school reasons, radio

update This post gets a lot of hits… if you’ve been to a recent show, help out other fans and post the set list (or any songs you remember) as a comment.

update In Philly 10/16/08 they played private eye, calling all skeletons, i lied my face off, i found away, in vein, goodbye forever, emma, clavicle, this could be love (maybe more – this is what I remember).

I watched The Blue Planet – Deep Sea last night. It’s “an immensely fascinating BBC documentary about the creatures that live thousands of feet beneath the waves.”

You have to watch this! 

While screwing around on the internet last night I found these two cute bags.

1. “I don’t get wasted” Organic Cotton Reusable Shopping Tote by Origins Organics

i don't get wasted tote

As someone who doesn’t drink (and never has) and likes organic/green stuff, I thought this bag was really awesome. Up to $120K of profits from the bag will benefit the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), a not-for-profit organization that offers grants to organic farmers. It doesn’t look like you can buy it online, but apparently it’s only $10 at Origins stores (looks like they are in most Macy’s stores).

2. “Hot dog” tote bag. From fred flare

Dachshund toteDachshund tote

I kind of have a thing for dogs with little legs! They don’t have a Corgi tote, but this Dachshund is just too cute. I can never spell dachshund, so I googled it…

cute daschund puppy
Awww! I <3 puppies.

I always recycle, I can’t stand to see bottles, cans, paper, etc thrown away, but instead of reusing water bottles and then recycling them, I’ve decided I’m going to get this SIGG I AM NOT A PLASTIC 1.0L (33 OZ) reusable water bottle.

SIGG I AM NOT A PLASTIC water bottle is proud to partner with SIGG to create a re-usable water bottle so we can all do our part and ditch the plastic!

Some info from the SIGG website:
• SIGG bottles exceed FDA requirements and have been thoroughly tested to ensure 0.0% leaching – so they are 100% safe.

• SIGG bottles are manufactured in an ecologically-friendly environment and are 100% recyclable after their very long lives. In fact, most SIGGs in Europe are still being used 10-20 years after purchase.

• SIGG Switzerland utilizes only foodgrade, 100% safe paint in the manufacturing of our water bottles.

• SIGG bottles absolutely do not contain any of the following harmful ingredients: antimony, arsenic, soluble barium, lead, cadmium, mercury and selenium. The paints used to decorate SIGG products are completely safe and in compliance with ASTM F963-2007.

• Most disposable water bottles (e.g. – Evian, Dasani, Aquafina, etc.) are made of PET plastic. According to the American Recycling Institute, only 14% of these bottles are recycled. Most of the PET bottles end up in litter or trash where they can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade, filling our landfills and injuring wildlife.

• Americans are currently adding 30 million PET water bottles to our nation’s landfills – everyday

• Even if PET bottles are sent to the recycling center, they are really being “down-cycled”, converted to a lower form of plastic, much of which goes unused.

• PET is a petroleum-based plastic. Manufacturing and transporting bottled water (especially from distant countries such as France and Fiji) unnecessarily burns fossil fuels – approximately 1.5 million barrels per year according to the NRDC.

Only 14% are recycled?! That’s terrible. I’m disappointed in you America :(

Little changes can make a big difference. Start today!

Update: I got to see the rest of my family for mother’s day and my brother gave me my birthday present…
Whispering Meadows 0.6 Liter Sigg Water Bottle
this beautiful Whispering Meadows 0.6 Liter Sigg Water Bottle! It’s so cute. It has an illustration of a field with ladybugs. I used it all day today. Thanks Mike!

I think I’m still going to get the other one for Jeff. Saving the word, one water bottle at a time ;)


I was just watching tv and a commercial for M by Mariah Carey Gold Deluxe was on… a $600 value for $75. $600?! Who in the world would pay $600 for perfume (or parfum as Mariah calls it)… I guess no one, that’s why it’s $75.

This makes me laugh:

“I absolutely love the parfum…Wearing M by Mariah Carey Gold is a very sensual and glamorous experience. It is almost like being wrapped in liquid gold.” – Mariah Carey

M Gold

Mark Beemer and the Shirts for a Cure project were just featured in the May 2008 issue of Alternative Press. Click here to check it out. The Syrentha Savio Endowment (SSE) was started by band photographer Mark Beemer after he lost his wife Syrentha to breast cancer. SSE provides financial assistance to underprivileged women who cannot afford expensive breast cancer medicine and therapy. The Shirts For A Cure Project (SFAC) was launched by SSE to give voice to the social concerns of punk bands and their many fans as well as to raise awareness about breast cancer prevention.

I’ve supported both of these charities since I heard of SSE at the reunion shows Kid Dynamite played in Philadelphia in 2003 to benefit SSE.

Instead of having favors at our wedding reception we donated money in our guests’ name to SSE.

SSE wedding donations

At the Kid Dynamite show I bought the blue version of this shirt:

kid dynamite liberty bell sse shirt

I also have this Hot Water Music shirt (which I happen to be wearing today)

hot water music shirts for a cure shirt

And Jeff has this Rise Against shirt:
Rise Against shirts for a cure

I think the next one I’m going to get is this The Loved Ones shirt… or you can get it for me, I wear a small :)
The Loved Ones Shirts for a Cure shirt

Shirts for a Cure is a great charity! Support it!

Thanks to all of my friends who wished me a happy birthday :)

I feel like my brain is kind of broken… I was just watching The Hills and my favorite band Alkaline Trio was on it. It was so weird, and surprising. I don’t know what to think. At least Audrina has the good sense to know they are good.

My mom got me tickets to see Alkaline Trio at Croc Rock June 20th. Yay!

And speaking of Alkaline Trio, Matt Skiba has cute/funny pictures of himself from when he was younger on his MySpace page. Here are a few:
Matt Skiba How about this haircut?Matt Skiba Every picture should have a reflection.
Matt Skiba The new look for 2008!!!Matt Skiba Bolo tie anyone?

And here he is with his parents. Aw.
Matt Skiba with his parents
Back to my birthday. My sister got me this awesome Marc by Marc Jacobs coin purse and a silver “W” key chain. (Also Marc Jacobs)
Marc by Marc Jacobs coin
I also got the Cloverfield and Clue DVDs. :)

My mom, grandmother, sister and I went to the Brandywine River Museum on Saturday where I once again wished I had $5000 to spend on this print. (Snow Hill by Andrew Wyeth) It’s big (26 1/2 by 40), beautiful and would look great in my new living room ;)
Andrew Wyeth Snow Hill

Jeff took me out to dinner to Carrabbas. I had Mezza Luna (as always) yum. The host looked like Ryan Atwood. Weird.

Ryan Atwood

That’s pretty much it. Not sure if I’m a fan of being 28, but I guess I don’t have a choice!


Update: Here is the video of Alkaline Trio “recording” their new song, “In Vein” on the Hills. It pretty much just focuses on Dan singing and Lo being a ho-bag.

My Aunt sent me this video of a daschund named Jerry playing catch with a “robot”. It’s so cute!

My friend Sybil sent me this survey to find out which celebrity my dog is. (They make you put in an email address, but you can put in a fake one)
According to it Blue is Madonna.
blue madonna justin

We got Mario Kart Wii on Sunday! It’s so fun. I like it better than the Game Cube version. It’s more like your are actually driving. As of right now I’m even better than Jeff! I’ve been playing as Baby Peach. Here is a picture of Mii winning :)

Lately I’ve been focusing on trying to lead a healthier (and greener) life. I’ve been taking my dog for longer walks, doing yoga most days and trying to run, jump rope, or some other physical activity daily.

I’ve also tried to cut the junk food out of my diet. I’m choosing foods that are all natural and organic when possible. I’ve also been trying to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and less high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients and preservatives. I’ve started eating brown rice instead of white rice, whole wheat bread instead of white bread, Multigrain Cheerios instead of regular or Honey Nut Cheerios and baby spinach instead of iceberg lettuce. The changes have been easy to make (although I have to admit, I like white bread a lot!)

Some more foods I’ve found I like are:

Kashi Organic Promise Cinnamon Harvest
It tastes awesome and one serving really fills me up. It’s great to snack on instead of chips or cookies, plus it only has 4 ingredients: Organic Whole Wheat, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Cinnamon and Natural Cinnamon Flavor. Yum. Oh, and if you didn’t know, paperboard like cereal boxes can be recycled!!

Organic Apple Sauce.
I used to buy the little cups of Mott’s Apple Sauce because they are convenient and I found I was more likely to eat it in a single serving cup rather than out of the jar. I wanted to eat organic apple sauce and I didn’t like throwing away all of the plastic cups so I went to Target on a mission to find some reusable cups. What I found to be the cheapest (and met my requirement of not being made of type 3, 6 or 7 plastic) were Gladware Mini Round Containers with interlocking lids. They are about the size of the single serving apple sauce cups and the can be reused, plus the jar can be recycled :) So I’ve been buying a jar of organic apple sauce, filling up the cups and enjoying producing less waste.

Lifeway LowFat Raspberry Kefir

I usually only drink a little bit at a time, about half a cup, but I like it better than yogurt.

Kefir contains probiotics. “Probiotics which literally mean “beneficial to life,” are live cultures that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Most probiotics include the live active cultures often added to foods like yogurt. Researchers have studied bacteria extensively and considerable evidence indicates that there are several strains of essential good-for-you bacteria that have an ability to promote healthy gastrointestinal functions, increase immunity and help prevent the development of cancer-causing toxins throughout the body. Lifeway Foods has seven live and active cultures to produce a wide array of health benefits.”

Research has indicated that the bacteria in kefir help:
* Traveler’s diarrhea, viral diarrhea in children and irritable bowel syndrome
* Prevent vaginal yeast infections
* Boost the immune system
* Reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol
* Reduce the symptoms of food allergies such as lactose intolerance
* Suppress the development of certain cancers, such as bladder or colon cancer

The bag says they are All Natural and I like that their plant in California runs on solar energy and that they buy green energy credits to match 100% of the electricity required to make each bag of SunChips.

Some of these still might not be the best things in the world that I could be eating, but they’re better than Coke, Dorritos and Oreos!

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll pretty much like any song Alk3 puts out (except My Standard Break From Life – ugh) They released a 3 song EP today called Agony & Irony which is apparently only available on iTunes. I’d rather buy a CD, but I didn’t see it on Amazon so I just downloaded it from iTunes. If you like Alkaline Trio (and you should!) you’ll like these songs. I wish Fire Down Below was on the EP!


I should have never signed up for Crate and Barrel emails… I got one today with this awesome couch. It’s called The Azure Sofa and is my favorite color and it is green! I wish I had $1,899 to spend on a couch.

my new couch