Penn State News

I recently had another article published on Penn State News. Check it out here:

http://news.psu.edu/story/417886/2016/07/19/academics/penn-state-student-gives-back-campus-inspired-him

 

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Pokemon Go

Pokémon Go was just very recently released and already has topped the charts, breaking new records on the Apple store for number of downloads.

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Even I have downloaded it and have been actively catching Pokémon, evolving them, and hatching little babies with the eggs I have collected. (I have five now and I am very excited about this).

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I have joined Team Mystic or The Blue Team at the suggestion of all of my friends (Penn State students. We always have to be blue. There is no choice. Blue or nothing).

However Pokémon Go has done something that has not happened in a very long time, at least not where games are concerned.

Pokémon Go has forced people to be active in order to play. To find Pokémon you literally have to get up out of your bed or house and walk around. They don’t come to you (unless you have a lure of which I had three and used all of them lying in bed at midnight last night) but rather you must walk around (or drive around which is far more difficult and dangerous) and find them yourself.

You also have to walk around quite a bit to hatch eggs (from what I can tell 2km for the shortest distance, 10km for others) and just so you know driving doesn’t work. It knows you cheated and drove. You have to walk.

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Also, if you are like me, once you have been catching Pokémon for a while you run out of balls to catch them in. This means a trip to a Pokéstop to get more balls. (This is also where you can get more eggs which are becoming my favorite thing to find. Update when I finally hatch one. Currently it is taking forever as I started hatching one this morning and sitting at my desk means walking to the bathroom is the only activity I am getting.)

You can also attempt to capture gyms with Pokémon you have trained and evolved. I am not that far yet as my best Pokémon doesn’t have enough candy to evolve so I have to wait.

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(She needs a name btw so suggestions are welcome. I can’t call her Eevee forever.)

Overall I love playing the game and it has gotten me to be far more active, walking around my neighborhood or taking the longest route possible to the bathroom or the microwave for my lunch at work.

Funny how an app can cause people my age and younger to be way more active just to collect our Pokémon.

Torre

Recently I had the opportunity to visit a restaurant in Center Valley, PA by the name of Torre.

Essentially this is a review of the restaurant along with a slight delve into Latin American food.

To start the decor is amazing.

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The semi-authentic chic style and design was beautiful and made for a wonderful atmosphere. The table I was seated at had a massive window open right next to me, letting in a light breeze from outside.

The first dish I tried was a Cameron Ceviche.

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I honestly had no idea what it was when I ordered it. I just knew it came with shrimp. After asking the waitress and getting the dish I learned it is a dish, often served on the coastal regions of Latin America, with seafood, often raw, along with various vegetables and an acidic sauce made from things like lime or lemon. It had an interesting, intense flavor and I would definitely order it again.

The second thing I ordered was the Vera Cruz taco. Also because it came with shrimp.

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So this dish was also amazing. Grilled shrimp with a fresh salsa and avocado. Rather self-explanatory and amazing.

So is this food completely authentic? Probably not. However with the avocado and basic ideas of the dishes it does draw from Latin American culture.

I would definitely recommend going  as the prices are within the $14 per plate which is reasonable for the portion size and the food is amazing.

Playhouse West Film Festival 2016

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Playhouse West 2016 Film Festival.

The festival was a two-day event in Philadelphia, of which I attended day one.

It featured both showings of the films and Q&A sessions after with the filmmakers.

Now I have attended a great number of various film festivals and it can be very hard to impress me but this one did.

This high-rated acting school in Philadelphia put together an incredibly well done film festival with numerous short films.

Many of the films were put together by current and former students of Playhouse West artistic director Tony Savant including performances and screenplays by Jim Parrack, Leven Rambin, Marshall Allman, John McNulty, Evangeline Young, and many many others.

The festival also featured the debut of the film “Red” by Tony Savant starring Jim Parrack, Evangeline Young, Luke Eddy, Tony Savant, and Kim Savant.

(Find award winners here: http://www.playhousewest.com/2016-awards.html)

This is by far one of the best film festivals I have attended and I will definitely be planning on attending the 2017 film festival next summer.

It also gave me an excuse to wear a dress I’ve been waiting to wear all summer which is also a reason to be happy.

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Policies

Ok so I am a little late into the conversation with this one so let me recap.

In April this year (2016) Target announced that everyone can use the bathroom whose gender they identify with. This policy was essentially created so that transgender people can be more comfortable using a public restroom.

Honestly I have no problem with this although I think the real solution would be to just make all bathrooms those uni-sex single person ones with the door locked because I don’t know about you but I suffer from some serious stage fright in a bathroom full of people, regardless of the genitalia they were born with.

Quite a few countries, such as Germany, have public bathrooms that are completely unisex and it doesn’t matter who you are; everyone uses the same bathroom.

I have several transgender friends and I honestly don’t see a problem with them using the same bathroom as me. It doesn’t bother me.

A lot of people are saying that it bothers them out of worry for their children. I have no children so I can’t understand this part but I do understand that a transgender who was born a man and now fully looks like a woman is never going to feel safe in a men’s bathroom and is at a much higher risk for violence and sexual assault and that is terrifying. The same goes for a woman who was born a man and has to use the women’s bathroom even though their appearance and often body is completely male.

What is going to disturb you or your children more? A person who is completely male in body and appearance but was born a woman using the bathroom with them or a person who looks like a woman and you’d never be able to tell otherwise but who was born a man?

Alright so now I’m going to throw a whole other element into the mix, as if some people aren’t mad enough at me.

You take your kids or you go yourself to Old Navy and Walmart all the time. Just the other day I was at Old Navy and Walmart.

I first noticed this at Walmart. We were getting a pair of pants for my boyfriend to wear to work that he didn’t have to worry about ruining. He went to try them on in the fitting rooms. When we first got to the fitting rooms he was the only one there.

Then a mother and her daughter showed up. Her daughter was perhaps six. The little girl gets a fitting room right next to my boyfriend, a fully grown man (who would never harm anyone but that isn’t the point) and then the mom walks away to continue shopping.

Then another man, probably a few decades older than my boyfriend, gets the fitting room on the other side of this child.

Then there was a middle-aged woman in the next one, a teenage boy next to her, and two little girls whose mother stayed outside of the fitting rooms in the next one.

So here we have multiple situations that could go very wrong.

One of the men on either side of that little girl could do something but her mom isn’t there nor does she care. (I doubt they would but I am making a point).

The teenage boy could do something to either the woman on one side of him or the two little girls on the other side.

Or the woman could do something to the boy.

Or any other number of situations.

However no one is up in arms about this. No one seems to care or notice. But how is it any different? If anything it is far worse.

So we went to Old Navy then and I wanted to try on a dress. Well come to find out they have the same type of fitting room policy.

But now from reading all of the negative comments about Target’s bathroom policy and having noticed the Walmart bathrooms I am now very conscious. I go into a fitting room and then change my mind about evening trying anything on and leave.

Normally I don’t react like this to this type of situation and I have since used their fitting rooms but it made me think.

Here I was about to change right next door to a man or maybe another woman or a child but still. It doesn’t matter. They are all right there and any one of them very well could do something to me.

Yet we are worried about people who simply want to use the bathroom that their gender is because they fear the same thing?

As always I welcome comments and ideas and opinions. So answer this:

Why does everyone care about the bathroom policy when you could be changing at a Walmart or Old Navy next to just about anyone?

The Tigers

Not to continue to re-hash the whole gorilla incident once again like it seems everyone has been doing over and over again but I have a point to make about it without saying a word about what my opinion is on what the outcome of that situation was. So for anyone who has been unable to see this news story that has gone viral everywhere: At the Cincinnati Zoo a male silver-back gorilla named Harambe was shot by zoo officials and ultimately died after a young boy climbed into his enclosure and then fell down to where the gorilla was housed with 2 female gorillas. That is the gist of the story without adding any of my own opinions or blaming anyone or saying a word about anything other than exactly what happened. So this story has gone completely viral with people on all different sides of the argument angry at each other and angry at some party involved in the situation. Some people think that the zoo shouldn’t have killed the gorilla, some think they were justified. Some people think he was violent with the child others do not. Some people think that it’s the mother’s fault for letting her son escape, others disagree. Everyone has their own varying opinions on what happened and what should happen and who is to blame. So let me just completely change the subject because this post is actually not about gorillas or the Cincinnati Zoo or parenting or anything like that. This blog post is a question and a story about tigers. So let’s talk about tigers. Tigers are my favorite animals. They are deadly and endangered and beautiful.

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So within the same week that the story about a gorilla named Harambe was running, another story was running that I was far more devastated by. In Thailand they have these places called Tiger Temples. Well one particular temple has been under investigation (a story I have been following) for some questionable behavior and the possibility that they are selling their tigers to the black market for various reasons. So then that same week as the Cincinnati Zoo story a story about this tiger temple came out that was absolutely horrible. That tiger temple had 40 frozen tiger cubs. 40. 40 dead baby tigers. They deny that they were going to be sold on the black market where all kinds of horrible people find nasty uses for their bodies however authorities don’t really believe them because honestly what other use do they possibly have for freezing baby tigers? So here’s the difference between this travesty and the death of 40 endangered baby animals and the Harambe story. Harambe was one animal. This is 40 poor babies. Is it sad that both of them died regardless of reason? Of course. But 40. However the story trending and getting beaten like a dead horse was the story about Harambe. This terrible tale of 40 dead tiger cubs never trended, barely got any attention, and no one seemed to really care. So my question is simply: why? Why is it that Harambe got so much more attention than 40 poor little baby tigers?