Archive | July, 2012

Review: Kindle 4

25 Jul

I was totally shocked when I opened up my three year anniversary gift to find a Kindle 4 from my wonderful boyfriend. Shocked, and slightly concerned. As much as I used to hate to admit it, I’ve never been much of a reader. I have this awful habit of starting a new book, then abandoning it halfway in for a new craft or to watch the entirety of “30 Rock” again on Netflix. Right now I can name four books sitting in various places across mine and Alex’s homes that need to be finished.

So I was concerned, mostly because I didn’t want Alex- who has this amazing way of finding the most creative and surprising gifts- to see this new toy go unused like I feared it might.  I’ve also been a fan of the actual book (as a print reporter I kind of encourage paper-based reading as much as possible). Tucked away on book shelves, rows and rows creating pretty new color schemes. I just wasn’t sure if I’d be on board for the e-reader movement.

I couldn’t have been more off base.

So far I have read six books in a little bit less than a month. That’s about as many as I’ve read in two years. It’s just so easy! I have this little library about the size of a piece of mail, and at any time I can grab it for a quick and easy read. No tabbing pages, or finding where you are if you’re lost, or carrying a bulky and sometimes heavy book with you. People aren’t grabbing you while you’re reading to ask what your book is about, because it’s pretty discreet. No strangers scanning the back cover while you’re in public. It really gives me no excuse not to read.

The Kindle 4 is currently my favorite piece of technology that I own. It’s small and incredibly lightweight, which means I can hold it in one hand and throw it in my bag without ever knowing it’s there. It’s got a great screen for reading that doesn’t tire my eyes out like a computer screen. And you know how they’re always flaunting that it isn’t hard to read in intense sunlight? Yeah, that’s a lot more exciting when you see it in person. The brighter the light, the easier it actually is to read.

Most importantly to me is that it’s really affordable, and Alex saved money buying the version with ads, which only pop up when I put it on sleep or at the bottom of my home page. They go entirely unnoticed and I don’t know why anyone would waste fifty dollars on the ad-free Kindle 4. Most library have e-reader rentals for free that last up to two weeks, and Amazon runs deals on all of their Kindle e-readers. I got my first book, The Hunger Games, for $3. So far I’ve payed maybe about $5 for books.

I really dig the lack of a touch screen. There are two buttons on each side of the e-reader, with a larger one to turn the page forward on both sides and a smaller one to go back just above. Engineered perfectly, so they don’t turn a page if you move your hand the wrong way. Then there’s a few small keys at the bottom as other guides. This isn’t designed for typing, so why make it annoying with a touch screen? Plus, in the month that I’ve had the Kindle 4 I have charged it once. I use it at least 3-4 times a day, about 3 hours a day, and I have only had to charge it for about 3 hours once a few weeks ago. It’s beyond convenient.

And the best part about the Kindle 4? It is nothing more than an e-reader. A fabulous, tiny little e-reader. Sure you can buy books on the Amazon site when around wi-fi, and when you’re done reading a book you can post a tweet that says you finished it, but there isn’t a Facebook notification popping up every time someone posts a new picture of them at a bar. It doesn’t vibrate every time I get a spam e-mail from some Nigerian prince. I am disconnected, and still able to access my own collection of reading. And let’s face it, who my age really needs a tablet? I mean how many tweets are you reading that are so urgent that you need to constantly be connected all day, every day. My Kindle pulls me away from the constant noise of social media for a few hours a day. I really can’t explain what it does for my mind. It feels like one big, long, giganticly refreshing sigh.

I absolutely love my Kindle. I would be so bored and boring without it. I tell everyone I know to go out and buy this instead of a bulky iPod. Just read!

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Making Sense of Penn State

24 Jul

In the last few weeks the Penn State University scandal has completely blown up to reveal a lot of truths, and people are scrambling to  make sense of it all. Authorities are fighting to put things to rest, blame those who should be blamed, and move on, and the rest of us are all left with our own emotions of what’s going on.

Me? I’m glad Sandusky is where he belongs. I’m still upset that it took so long to get him behind bars, and there are things that I really can’t shake. In his older age he is now facing a harsh and terrifying reality, but he got to live a very long life before he was confronted with any penalties or pain. His victims, however, weren’t so lucky. He threw these children into a complete tailspin before they had a chance to really grow, he altered and damaged their lives before they even began. They didn’t have the opportunity to grow up and grow old before their lives were destroyed by him. And there is nothing that will ever fix that. No amount of time spent behind bars will ever give those children the full life every child should have. So is there justice? I don’t think there ever can be. At least the public can rest easy knowing he can’t ever hurt a child again.

When the Freeh Report came out I was really at a loss for words. I wouldn’t admit to myself for the longest time that a coach that I had so much respect for could do something like that. On Saturdays, when a shot of Joe Paterno flashed on the screen, my heart picked up a bit. And when he passed away last winter I felt truly sad, because I thought he left the world misunderstood and unappreciated. He was a legend. He was the greatest coach that ever lived. And then all of the sudden I learned that he really wasn’t. His greatness was measured in wins, and his discretion went hidden behind title after title. He’s no longer a hero to me, and in a way he never really was. His statue needed to go down, and I was heartbroken to see it. Not because I didn’t want it taken down, but because I couldn’t believe that he had deceived us all so horribly.

The latest ruling by the NCAA, abdicating the wins for the last 14 seasons and banning the team from bowl games for the next 4 years, was in my opinion unnecessary. I understand what they are trying to do: wipe away the legacy of Joe Paterno and show that this type of neglect will never be tolerated. And that has to be done, but not necessarily by the NCAA whose job is mainly to prevent student exploitation. In that process they are not helping students, who were never involved in this scandal. Sure, they are punishing the bad guys but they are also wiping away 14 years of student history, attempting to take away wins from the students who have been made playing pieces in this terrible scandal. I had wished that they would have found a way to punish those that deserved it without hurting those that shouldn’t have been hurt.

Finally I look at the students of Penn State and am a little shocked at their insensitive reactions. Tears over football games? Running through the streets to defend your coach? I understand school pride, but that should not come first in regards to human decency. Plenty of people shed tears over the victims of this horrible scandal, as they should have, but the students who sat crying together when they found out that their team couldn’t play bowl games for four years looked plain selfish. I didn’t agree with the NCAA ruling either, but I respect the NCAA for taking a stand for what is right. Extremities were needed to pay homage to the victims and to show America that football does not come before the rights of every person.

Overall, as a sports fan, I am still hurt by what happened. I wish it had never happened. But as a person, I am glad that so much has been done to assure that bad people are punished and no longer glorified. At the end of the day, PSU football is just a sport.

Three Years Later…

1 Jul

Today marks three years since, after one or two too many drinks, I walked up to the adorably handsome Alex Young, pushed him a little too hard, and yelled “WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO ASK ME TO BE YOUR GIRLFRIEND!?”

…and the romance hasn’t stopped since.

To be 100 percent honest I have never shared the story of how Alex and I came to be “Alex and I” with anyone until this exact moment. Sure, people know how we met on the first day of journalism school after I complimented his Chelsea jersey, and how he was the first person I spoke to when I got off the plane during my six months in England- when I was jet lagged and crying and more scared than I’ve ever been in my entire life- on study abroad, and the first person I heard from when I got off the plane. People know about us, but nobody knows about that moment, that led to the actual us.

I think I’ve always been embarrassed to tell that story, but right now, on our third anniversary as a couple, it cracks me up. Because it is pretty our last three years together summed up into one obnoxious moment. Me: loud and abrasive and Alex: calm, a little reserved and sensible. I don’t think anyone would have expected anything different out of us.

It still shocks me that I’ve found someone who is so unbelievably like me in so many ways that can put up with my wackiness. And I really can’t believe that I have found someone that has never, ever show a shred of throwing in the towel. Even after so much, he’s stuck by me and is always ready for more. I appreciate a lot about my boyfriend, but that is something I won’t ever be able to express enough gratitude for.

What I’ve had for the last three years is something I never in my life would have thought I would have. I have a best friend that I never get tired of seeing, a comrade that loves naps as much as I do, a partner that knows when I need help and when I need to just be me. Someone I can learn from, teach things to, laugh with, cry with, cook next to, and just plain be with. I always say I have bad luck, but I think I just used up all my luck in finding Alex.

And honestly, I’m perfectly fine with that.