29 July 2008

Internet Biking Maps

As a health-consious person I am always up for healthier ways to do things. That along with the price of gas has given me thought to riding my bike to work. As it turns out, more and more biking and walking routes, maps and services are being published online!

"As more commuters consider ditching their cars to save money on gas, Internet mapping services, cities and community groups are being pushed to lay out the best routes for biking and walking -- just like drivers have found online for years."

Clicking the image below will take you to the Orlando Sentinel article.

Generation Text

In this day and age, it's happened to all of us: be it a stumble, bumping into a stranger or walking smack into something - the tragedies of texting-on-the-go happen everywhere you look. We are Generation Text (don't laugh at me; I didn't come up with it).

Texting-on-the-go (TOTG), however, is slightly different than stationary-texting. I can't count the number of hilarious instances I've witnessed when someone is TOTG and they walk right into a wall, a stranger, door, you name it. I, for one, like to learn from other people's mistakes, thus I very rarely TOTG. When I do, my trick is to hold the phone up at eye-level; this way you can still watch where you are going.

The article linked to the image below is pretty interesting. One guy
almost ran down a bride at a wedding due to his TOTG. Several TOTG-ers have had
facial and other injuries from falling down due to TOTG. By far the most outlandish thing related to texting that I've ever come across is the National Texting
Championship. It's pretty lame in my opinion, but hey, the $50K reward is $50K.

28 July 2008

Afternoon Naps

Like most children, I dreaded taking afternoon naps when I was young. I imagined all kinds of thrilling fun that adults had while I slumbered away. I couldn’t wait until I turned 5, that magical year when my mother freed me and all the kids she’s ever taken care of from our daily drudgery.

Then, as a college student, my attitude turned an about-face. I came to cherish naptime, whether it was mid-morning, after lunch, or early evening – and sometimes all three. When I began working after college, one thing I sorely missed was that freedom to lie down and steal a half-hour snooze whenever I wanted. Still today, many moons later, I miss that freedom and love when I can indulge in the bliss of a wink or two.

On the days I am not working, I always set aside time to rest. Whether I actually fall asleep isn’t the point. It’s th act of lying down, curling up with a mom-made afghan, closing my eyes, and letting myself think or dream of anything I want. I don’t have to do any figuring or complex thinking. I can listen to music, turn on a daytime talk show, or count the sparkles in my ceiling if I want to. I can even imagine the thrilling fun other adults are having as I lie there at peace with myself.

That afternoon nap is the one time of my day when I can be private and keep to myself – and remind myself what good company I am.

By Jennifer S. Kushnier

27 July 2008

Miscellaneous Photos

New photo albums up on Facebook:

Kava, Picnic, Fireworks

Sexton's 21st and Dan's 18th

Camping, Purdue, Grandparents

Running, Pool Party, Lilies

New Random in Australia

Tamara's Visit 21JUN08

26 July 2008

The Six Sacred Stones

I am currently reading this Australian novel, by Matthew Reilly. The first Aussie novel I read was Picnic at Hanging Rock, by Joan Lindsay, and I could tell the difference in writing styles between the US and Australia. That difference is even more visible in The Six Sacred Stones.

The difference in the writing style isn't easy for me to pin-point, but it's there. Basically, it's a story written in a different culture with different points of view, and that right there is what I contribute to the differences in the way a novel's story is told.

The Six Sacred Stones' story is quite engaging so far - a race to find ancient international artifacts and use them to save the world (think Indiana Jones and National Treasure mixed with Bond and Bauer since the main character, Jack West, Jr., is an agent type guy). I'm a little hung up on Reilly's writing style, but I'm getting into the book more and more. I'm about 1/3 through it so far.

Click the images to see Matthew Reilly's official website and the Wikipedia article for the book, respectively.

Baldwin Park

Where in the world is Amanda Bennett? Orlando, Florida! Specifically, Baldwin Park. I really lucked out this summer for my Lockheed Martin internship accommodation. I'm living with a Purdue friend, Jason, who graduated from my major last December and also works in the same office I worked in last summer and am working in again this summer. It's a gorgeous area - plus it has a very chic and hot spot feel to it. The first photo is of the outside of Jason's apartment (he lives on the first floor). The second photo is a shot of some nearby apartments/condos along the way to the pool.

Right across the street from the houses is a green where I imagined tossing around the frisbee with Adam. He didn't pack it when he visited but we did enjoy an afternoon at the pool just behind the green. Here's something cool: the gym is near the pool, and it's called The Hopper Hall, named after Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. She's the woman who coined the phrase "computer bug" and whom inspired the Grace Hopper Women in Computing Conference.

With regards to apartment hunting, I'm considering living at Post Apartments in Baldwin Park. It's a close one between Post and Tortuga Bay. Post has a little more to offer (a running/biking trail around a lake, villiage center, etc.), but Tortuga Bay is less expensive and a lot closer to work. Hmm... lots of factors in this decision.

I am very thankful for Jason's hospitality. I'm not sure what I would have done about accommodation had it not been for him. Thank you, Jason!

Adam Sent Me Flowers

Adam didn't send me just any flowers, though. He sent me stargazer lilies - my favorite! These ones are white, and they are so elegant and lovely!

He bought them for me for my first week back as an intern at Lockheed Martin. He's so thoughtful and sweet!

Click the image below to see the Wikipedia article on the Stargazer Lily.

Thank you, baby, for the beautiful bouquet! I stop and smell them every morning before work and think of you. I love you!

Adam's Visit Photos

Click the images to be taken to the photo albums.

Adam's Visit - 5/5

Adam's Visit - 4/5

Adam's Visit - 3/5

Adam's Visit - 2/5

25 July 2008

I'm a Runner: Natalie Morales

My mom mentioned this article to me, and I'm glad she did. The article is an interview between Runner's World and Natalie Morales, a Today Show co-host about her half- and marathon history, achievements, plans and training during pregnancy. She is truly phenomenal; this article goes to prove not only that but also how tough situations (running with-child up to two days before delivery) can be overcome.

Click the top image to see Natalie's Wikipedia article.

Click the following link to read the article: I'm a Runner: Natalie Morales.

24 July 2008


In college, I was among a group of student activists who constructed a makeshift shanty-town, where we planned to sleep to raise awareness of homelessness. On the night of the event, a group of men living at a nearby emergency shelter found out and asked if they could join us.

A few students were afraid of getting closer than we’d planned to witnesses of the harsh issue we were tackling. But our visitors turned out to be kind and gentle souls who kept us up all night telling their stories.

We learned how three of them had come from Mexico, intending to make money to send to their families. When they found no work, they had become stranded. One guest was born in an orphanage and said being homeless was simply the only way of life he knew. My favorite, Earl, was having trouble getting back on his feet after spending time in prison for a minor crime. Nobody though enough of him to give him a secure place to live, but, as he showed us, he was brilliant enough to design plans for an entire underground city.

The next morning, we left our new friends and made our way to the school cafeteria. The cafeteria staffed served us mounds of waffles and omelets, which they said were “on them.”

We knew there had to be a powerful force at work to make things turn out so well: the college administration could have panicked and tried to stop us when we revealed our plans to sleep in cardboard boxes. The homeless men could have easily been cynical and dismissed us students as pampered do-gooders. We students could have rejected our homeless visitors, fearing the stereotypes that were simply not true. Instead we all shared a cup of true kindness – and were better for it.

This experience taught me that when it comes to kindness, there is very little difference between who is giving it and who is receiving it. And we all have access to the exchange of warmth and nourishment kindness brings our souls. We just need to trust enough to open our hearts. The rest will take care of itself.

By Mary S. Kittel

18 July 2008


Hello, hello! Things have been pretty crazy in these three weeks of being back in Indiana. This weekend is full, and I leave for Orlando on Sunday! I'm getting pretty excited: my internship packet arrived yesterday, and I am looking forward to my assignment I just received word on!

Any way, this is just a quick note to say that I'll be doing a lot of posting once I get "settled" in Orlando. I've lots to blog about!

Here's a photo of me playing around with Hayley [camping at Salamonie over the Fourth of July weekend] . I'd just given her a souvenir from Australia (the pencil set she's holding):

All righty. I'll write atcha later!


07 July 2008

14 Simple Ways to Supercharge Your Brain

A couple of weeks ago I came by this article through my Google homepage. After reading the article, when I stopped to think about the 14 ways, they seemed very obvious. Sleep? Yeah, that should help the noggin out a bit. So, yes, these are simple ways to give the old noodle a boost. Click here to read the article.

A Good Book

We swim in words all day long - stock quotes, headlines that scream, to-do lists, insurance forms, the occasional fashion magazine or dine-store romance. Yet for all their power to occupy or distract us, these types of writing will never compare to a good book.

A really god book doesn't just entertain; it leaves you fundamentally different. It's both a mirror and a magnifying glass - a woven compilation of seemingly small details that has the power to show you your truest self. When you read a good book, you see that everyone's problems are the same, but they're just a jumping-off point - that there are as many ways to live as there are grains of salt in the sea.

How do you know when you've found a good book? Time melts as you read it. Unsuspecting, you rack the spine and find yourself whisked to a place that sings to every cell in your body. Soon you're befriending characters that become soul mates, following a story that seems truer than reality.

Indeed, in the middle of a good book, you become so wrapped up in the story that you forget about the language, the way an exquisite painting renders color transparent. No one word, or hue, stands out as the most beautiful - they are all elemental, irreplaceable, in one complete, perfectly balanced whole.

Then, as you near the end of the book, you start metering out the pages in small doses because you don't want to leave the special world you've entered.

Most of all, a good book inspires you. As the words flow in and out of you, they change your attitude and open you up to new experiences. Read long enough, and a good book can make you want to be a better person, live a better life, talk to strangers, jet off to Paris, pick up a pen to write your own stories.

Next time a good book finds you, take a moment to give thanks for how one object, no bigger than the span of two palms, can contain so much of the world, teach you so much of what it means to be human, and make you feel so alive.

By Mariska Van Aalst