Sunday, February 28, 2010

Custom Scrapbook Blog Designs

I've ventured into starting a small business on the side! Head on over to 'Custom Scrapbook Blog Designs' if you are interested in a new scrapbook layout for your blog.

At this time, I am only working on scrapbook styled designs on blogger - but this may change in the future.

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Initial Thoughts on Earthquake in Chile

There's nothing more disheartening than waking up and reading breaking news alerts of a massive earthquake - one of an 8.8 magnitude and that tsunami's have already occurred in some places.

It was interesting to hear that the officials in Chile would not call it a tsunami, and instead referred to it as a 'large wave that washed over' the small island... but I guess its one of those things they do to not create more chaos.

It's apparently the strongest earthquake to hit in over 50 years.

I think it's safe to say that since the big 2004 earthquake/tsunami disaster, every time I hear about tsunami warnings, my stomach gets in a knot just thinking of the possible outcome. Yes, the chances are slim - but very possible.

That fact that there have already been over 52 strong aftershocks in under twelve hours since the earthquake really makes you think about what is going on in that part of the world.

Hoping the tsunami watches that are for about 27 different counties - including the west coast of the U.S. is just for precautionary measures and nothing comes out of it. But at the same time, it's kinda crazy that we are basically waiting for the tsunami waves.

UPDATE (3:47 PM): I just came across this via Twitter on The Huffington Post and boy does it give you some perspective. It's the 8.8 magnitude earthquake caught on camera:

Praying for the people of Chile,

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Olympics: Pre Mens Hockey Final

I'm not a big fan of sports. I watch it rarely. Except for the Olympics (see my blog post about that here), the only time I'm really into watching a game would be when I was watching the Rutgers football games - and that's mainly because that is my school's team.

Realistically, I just don't see the excitement in it considering there's like always some game on and I can already think of countless ways to waste my time that I need to be working on. If sporting events occurred less frequently, their competition level would seem more exciting in my opinion.

So many times I hear from my brothers (and others) they can't do so and so at that time or can't go here then because this game or that game is on- I just don't see why and how something on TV would dictate my schedule. That's just pretty ridiculous. 

But that's not what this blog post was supposed to be about - it was supposed to be on the the much anticipated game with Canada against the U.S... the one i'll probably be watching.

Why? Well, there are several reasons.

I honestly don't think I would watch the final game tomorrow if the pair of teams playing in the final were any other possible combination- considering I've only seen minutes (if not less) of any hockey games so far in these Olympic games.

But I am a Canadian who is now residing in the U.S.. The rivalry could not be any more intense... which leads to a part of the excitement in the competition.

The fact that U.S. beat Canada in the quarterfinals (i think?) adds to it as well to see how this game will play out.

Canada has more gold medals than the U.S. right now - and adding one more wouldn't hurt :).

Canada just has to win!

Anyways, I doubt I'll watch the whole game (I know I won't watch the whole game), but I'll have to catch at least bits and pieces of it.

Hoping for a Canada win,

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snowy February

We're in the midst of another snow storm!!!!! Can you sense my excitement? It's absolutely gorgeous outside and looks so pretty! I'm enjoying every minute of this.

We've had more snow in the February than the rest of the winter combined so far. This is the first time in many years we are actually having a snow-y winter, so I'm definitely enjoying it and remembering what our winters were like when we were in Canada... even though where we lived in Canada isn't getting much snow this year.

I only had one class this morning and the professor let us go as soon as we were done with our quizzes and so I was out in ten minutes. Ten minute classes - now that's something I could get used to.

I was surprised that Rutgers didn't end up canceling classes altogether when I woke this morning considering how bad the walkways were on Livingston Campus - they were so slippery. I almost slipped twice leaving my classroom building and so did others walking out. They did cancel classes for the evening since the snow is supposed to get heavier, so I guess that's something.

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Olympics: Ice Dancing

How amazing was the ice dancing competition yesterday night? Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the gold medal! I'm kind of biased being Canadian, but I think overall it was quite a show. A lot of them performed quite well. 

One of the things I like about ice dancing is that it is a competition, but with a fun twist... and drama.

Virtue and Moir became the first Canadians to win the Olympic gold medal in ice dance. Actually, not only was it a first for Canadians but also for anybody in North America. 

Other first for Virtue and Mori: they are the first ice dancing pair to win in their first Olympics and they are the youngest pair to win in the Olympics ice dancing competition.

Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White came in second and the Russians Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalincame in third. It was only the third time since ice dance became an Olympic sport in 1976 that either the Russians or Soviets did not win the gold medal in the ice dancing competition.

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why I Like Twitter

When I originally joined twitter, I played around with it for a few hours and then gave up because quite simply - it looked too complicated and I didn't get it.

Months later, I was convinced to give it a second try. And I'm glad I was intrigued to do so because now is it probably one of my primary sources to get the news (I talked about this here). This was just around the time when it seemed as if all the journalist and broadcast news organizations were creating twitter accounts as another way to stream the news. At this point, it's been about a year since twitter became really popular amongst journalists and news reporters and other public figures.

What I love about twitter is that I can follow whatever I am interested about from my laptop or my phone ... or anywhere else where I'll have access to twitter. Say I'm sitting in class or in the student center in between classes and can't watch the news coverage of something I really want to be watching. Chances are someone many people are tweeting quotes or paraphrasing the content of whatever is currently happening that I am missing.

For example when the whole 'balloon-boy' fiasco was happening, I was sitting in a class done the assignment I was supposed to be doing and suddenly I started getting tweets about the whole mess from the start and through all of its twists and turns.

Twitter has not only been great for news - sensational, real or otherwise, but it's great for having interactive discussion with others who care about what you care about. If you agree, great... if you don't - I think it's even better.

As I was watching Obama's SOTU address, I was following the trending topic and getting to read other people's thoughts live and have a conversation about something I care about with other people who care about the same thing. I don't know about you, but I feel like in my social group, very few people care about the same things as I do. It puts new media to a whole new level.

Not only that, nowadays, I probably access most of the articles I ready daily off of twitter from what others share in their tweets or what organizations like magazines tweet. Instead of going to different websites to find articles that are of interest to me or anything like that, they are all brought to me in one central location.   

As 2009 drew to an end, it was even cool to look through "Top Twitter Trends of 2009" which summarized what we as a collective groups of people from across the world found most important and worthy of attention across a variety of categories. 

It always amazes me when people compare twitter to facebook because they two could not be any more different and have two completely different purposes.

Do you use twitter? What do you like most about it? Or what do you use it most for? If you don't use it - is there any particular reason or you just don't see a need for it?

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

LSATs, Round Two

The LSAC really needs to get its act together - at least on the LSAT days.

When I took the LSATs last September the only part I remember being annoyed about was the fact that when I got to my testing location, I had to go the second floor of the basement of one building to find out where I was supposed to take the exam in a completely different building.

Why they couldn't post that list on the main door of the building or the MANY surrounding windows, you ask? Beats me. But when you find out - let me know.

I took the exam for a second time today. It was originally scheduled for February 6th, but it got cancelled because of snow (and ironically we didn't get the big snow storm till days later).

Anyhow, back to this morning:

I left early and got there with some time to spare (in case they did the whole 'go-down-two-floors-of-this-building-to-find-out-what-room-you-are-taking-the-exam-in-a-completely-different-building' again). This time, fortunately, they were smart enough to post the list on a window close to the doors. I still had to go to a different building, but it was a step in the right direction. Considering they do this at least four times a year EVERY year, you would think (and hope) that they would have the simple stuff like this pretty set.

So we are finally settling down (and this proctor didn't make us sit alphabetically or in any organized fashion) in the room and this one girl points out that not everyone has an admission ticket (since the exam was cancelled originally, those who hadn't printed it at the point no longer could) and the email we all received said we would get an empty one at the testing center if we needed one.

I wish there was a way to describe the look on the proctor's face because it was priceless. She looked at the girl like she was a)nuts and b)totally making this up. A couple of other people who were in a similar situation spoke up and the main proctor finally sent the other proctor to find out what she was supposed to do because she didn't have any empty admission tickets.

The second proctor finally comes back with some empty admission tickets. Way to being organized! You would think (and hope) that the proctor of the exam had simple information like this. We are already stressed out as it is, we don't need unnecessary stress added on top it.

Then the main proctor starts walking around the room taking attendance and finger-printing us for the admission ticket as a part of the process (she only made us do it once even though last time we had to do it in two boxes just like the instructions said) and when she gets to me - I ask her shouldn't I be signing the form now in front of you? To which she responds "oh, yeah". Like really?

Other things that annoyed me:  
  • The second proctor continuously coming in and out of the room. Like seriously she would not stay in the same place and the doors creaking every time was driving everyone crazy.
  • The proctor didn't put the timing on the boards for any of the section so it was hard to keep track of how much time we had left.
  • The proctor next door was talking loud enough so that we could hear her clearly and I was on the completely opposite side of the room.
  • The five minute warnings before the time allocated for each section was to be over turning in to a 'oh you have a little less than four minutes left' twice.
Oh and how can I forget this: when my original exam was cancelled I received an email from the LSAC telling me that within a week I would get another email with my new testing date. Exactly a week later, I got an email telling me my test would be on one of two dates (both Saturdays). And that I would get ANOTHER email telling me which of those two dates by the Wednesday BEFORE my test date. 

Seriously? Are they purposefully trying to annoy us and/or stress us out more than we already are?

I'm sure there were other small things too, but this is all I can think of right now.

23 days until scores come out.

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This or That?

“When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you, but because, in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you are hoping for.”

As soon as I read it, I chuckled because that's so me (and true, don't you think?)!

I don't literally flip a coin but for example I'll ask others for their opinions between things when I think I don't have a preference, but as soon as I ask, it's as if I suddenly do like one over the other(s).

Now what am I supposed to do if their preference is different than the one I just suddenly began to love? That's happen to me more often than I'd like to admit.

Faraz shared this on Google Reader earlier from here.

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Beginning of Winter Olympics '10

Olympics - it's honestly the only time every two years that I look forward to sporting events. In the summer games, my favorite are gymnastics and swimming (because of the last summer olympics)  and in the winter games - figure skating and ice dancing. The fact that the Olympics are being played in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada this year is a plus -- I'm from Ontario, Canada!

It's kind of bittersweet this year because this morning Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili passed away as he was practicing. International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge said Nodar's death just hours before the opening ceremony “clearly casts a shadow over these games.” I heard that it will be announced in the opening ceremony that this years games are going to be dedicated to Nodar, which is a nice gesture. At 21( my age!), he had his life cut tragically short... but he literally died doing something he loved. While that does not make it any easier, it is in a way some sort of consolation. 

There are so many aspects of the Olympics that I find so fascinating - like the fact that the best of the best from each country compete again the best of the best from other countries in all sorts of sports. I'm not naive - westernized countries obviously have better technology and opportunities because of what is available to them to  prepare and athletes from these countries are obviously going to win more... but the idea is nice anyways.

No matter whether you like sports or not, chances are you watch some aspect of the Olympics. It's just one of those things that bring people together. I know I personally watch more sporting events during the Olympics than I do any other time. With everyone's lives so busy all the time, the Olympics are one of those times that we slow down a bit to watch it together as a family. Even when we are all home, usually we are in our separate areas doing our own thing, but times like these - all five of us are sitting in the same room - and that doesn't happen often enough anymore.

Now onto the opening ceremony - the 'Parade of Nations'. Forget the spectacular show each hosting country puts on in the opening ceremony... my favorite part is the idea of all the athletes from each country walking in together representing their respected countries. It's as if for sixteen days - all the differences are put on hold.

The opening ceremony is just minutes away now... so ENJOY! 

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Outside the Window: Blizzard of '10

The last thing I did before going to sleep last night was look out the window and it was the first thing I did this morning too! :)

I'll admit last night I was kind of disappointed because it didn't appear to be sticking at all and was more of wet snow only. I thought Snowmageddon would lose some points for being a no-show and the score would be Snowmageddon - 0, Rutgers - 0.

But within like five minutes, when I took one last peek outside before going to sleep, the roads were already covered in a blanket of snow! Of course, it made me smile and I began to think again that maybe, we will get the storm!

And sure enough we did!

Here are a few picture I took an hour or so ago (around 11:10 AM):

I love the snow, but hate the cold weather that comes with it -- which is why i took the pictures from inside (which is why you can see the net from the window).

We're under a blizzard warning all day, so let's see if we get more and how much of it. Our local newspaper's website says 'that the worst is yet to come' and that the snowfall totals could reach up to  22 inches by Wednesday night. Let's see.

Either way, I got my snow storm! :)

it's now 1:50 PM: 

These two pictures are the same but I zoomed into the car to show how fast the snow is piling up -- in just an hour and a half (it's the same car from the last photo I posted in the morning).

Updated - 2:55 PM:

3:34 PM (yes, it's the same car):
Updated (8:00 PM):
Around 4:30 this afternoon, I convinced Ayaz and my dad to come outside with me to take pictures of the snow.  At that point, I had already taken 43 pictures through the windows. Here are some of the 106 pictures  I took (if that doesn't tell you I LOVE snow, then I don't know what would):
Ayaz's hand is by the handle for the car's door.
those lumps are cars!
to show you how much snow we had at that point- up to the car's bumper.
beautiful, white wonderland!
look at the thickness on top of the car as I'm cleaning it off.

snow is up to my knees!
look at how tall I am!  

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowmageddon - 1, Rutgers - 0

The snow hasn't even started yet, but Rutgers canceled classes for tomorrow because of the snow storm we are expecting overnight. Not only am I looking forward to the snow, but looking forward to some time to catch up on some school work that I had been neglecting while studying for the LSATs.

We are expecting somewhere from 10 - 20 inches and I hope it happens. ONE big snow storm per season is all I ask for!!

My cousin sent me this picture from this past weekend outside their house (they live in VA- where after having 30 inches of snow, they are expecting another 20 inches):
Wishful thinking, I know, but can we get something like this? :)

Update (8:01 P.M.) - it just started snowing very lightly! Doesn't this happen to me a lot? :)

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Battling New Jersey's Budget Deficit

In one of my classes we have been talking about how we would erase New Jersey’s $9 billion budget deficit. We did various activities, including a poll in our class and writing plausible lead stories amongst other things.

Today, we did this Budget Calculating activity as a class using the same aspects we used for all the other activities and it was interesting and shocking at the same time to see how knee deep we are. We are always saying we want the government to do more in providing funding for higher education but at the same time cut taxes and whatnot.... and this really helps put things in perspective.

In our class poll, we had to rank the ten aspects in order for which we would be most to least likely to do to counter the nine billion dollar budget deficit we are in. It was no shock that, as students, over half of us ranked cutting the higher education aid as what we would least prefer. From these ten aspects of the budget - how would you rank them to erase the budget deficit with 1 being your most preferred choice, 10 your least preferred?

You guys should try it. I found it pretty neat. The link above is, of course, only for New Jersey... but I'm sure you can find it for states as well online.

Oh and guess what? We are expecting ANOTHER snow storm tomorrow into Wednesday. This time I want it so it better happen (so just watch us not get any snow at all)! We got around seven or eight inches Friday night into Saturday and it's forecasted to be in the 10 - 18 inches this time - i don't even care if we get that much... just something substantive.

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Party

My brothers and I invited a bunch of our cousins from NJ and NY for a superbowl party tonight - with 30 people.

Here's the party recap in pictures (of food):

My dad and mom got this table cover for us!

A closer look at the edge:

Some of the snacks:

My brother Faraz helping me bake off some of the cupcakes (for which he took credit for):
I made the batter, Faraz poured it into the cups, I put them in the oven, I made sure they were done, I frosted, and I decorated. But Faraz takes the credit.

(Some of) the finished products!
 blue and white for the colts; black and gold for the saints. 

and Cajun Chicken Pasta

My cousin brought this (it looked like a cake, but turned to be more cupcakes):

A lot of our other cousins brought various snacks, but I didn't get a picture of those. :( Thanks for bringing them though!

What a fun night it turned out to be... even though I watched not even a minute of the game. :)
Oh yeah - in case you didn't know... the score was Saints 31, Colts 17.

Did you guys do anything for Superbowl night?

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

New Blog Layout

On a much brighter note, Louise at Adori Graphics designed a new look for my blog. She installed it for me this morning and it turned out great! She was great to work with, and really captured 'me' well. Thanks Louise!

I really liked my old design as well, but I had had that for a while and was ready for a change.

So, what do you guys think?

Friday, February 5, 2010

When Life Throws You Lemons...

Have you ever gotten the feeling that you were meant to do something? Well, I keep get the feeling that I wasn't meant to be a lawyer. And that's quite unfortunate because it is something I have wanted and ASPIRED to become since I was in the eighth grade.

It's funny how we plan for something, and something totally different happens. Or we are so sure of something, but God has something else in store for us. I've noticed that happening so many times on a much smaller scale than this. Or we try our hardest, and sometimes that still isn't good enough. Because the truth is, sometimes our hardest efforts aren't enough. But that's life.

I'm not saying hard work doesn't pay off, but it may be in a different form than we anticipate or want.

So many little things have happened along the way that have gone against me leaning in the direction of law school. I do believe everything happens for a reason.

Like seriously the ONLY time ever I don't want a snow storm, we will probably end up getting one. The snow hasn't started yet, but earlier this afternoon my LSATs for tomorrow were cancelled because of the impending snow storm.

Virginia is supposed to get hit with around 30 inches (and they already had 7+ inches about an hour ago)! While we are only supposed to get 8 - 14 inches, I'm not even sure how likely that is to happen considering it hasn't even started yet. I have a feeling the storm will just bypass our area.... which would be a bummer not only because I LOVE snow, but because after all the studying and prepping for the LSATs in the last few weeks, they are cancelled! I have devoted so much time to it, which is very hard with being a full time student and working as well (which is another thing considering I picked February over last December to retake the exam thinking about how hard it would be will school and exams). I'm supposed to be notified in about a week about my options so we'll see what happens. At this point, I just want them over with. All I am saying is, we better get a real snow storm.

If they were just isolated instances, I would for sure overlook them... but all I know is I need to do some serious thinking and evaluate my options. But then again, nothing worth having ever comes easy.

No matter what happens, at least I know I tried my best. And that's really all I can ask of myself.

Earlier, in haste and frustration, I was telling my mom that I feel like I wasted the past eight years of my life working towards my aspiration. But now, after a few hours to 'calm down', I'll take it as another life lesson.

Update (11:03 PM): I should have apparently written this earlier because it just started snowing.

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The News: Old School vs. New School

I'm a news junkie.

Everyone (and anyone) who knows me, knows that. I have 'breaking news' alerts from many different sources delivered to my phone, a few major websites are bookmarked, I have many RSS feeds coming into my Google Reader, I read the news online daily from various sources, I 'follow' newspapers, news broadcasting organizations and reporters themselves on Twitter... just to name a few (I used to even have news headlines and whatnot emailed to me but it became a bit much). I like to know what's going on not only around me, but nationally and worldwide as well.

I credit that to my dad - for as long as I can remember, he has ALWAYS read the newspaper and watched the local news, the national news, and various channels that cover international news. For as long as I can remember we would, as a family sit in the evenings (usually at dinner) and, talk about what happened that day. Even nowadays when our schedules conflict, when we are all finally home at night, we still do it.

Anyhow, back to the point. If you didn't notice, I'll point it out: most of my sources for the news are online. I do still watch the news on the TV sometimes (a lot more during election cycles). Technology has, without a doubt, come far. I can't even remember the last time I physically picked up a paper to read - even though we get them delivered to our home everyday because my dad still reads them.

I can remember when we had to wait until the next day to read in the newspaper about something, whereas nowadays - it's readily available to us with a few simple clicks. Sometimes (a lot of times) we know something is going to happen before it happens (especially in politics)!

A few weeks ago, I remember as I was reading an article on a local fire on the website of my local newspaper and I couldn't believe that the newspaper had gotten the article from the Associated Press! Why a local newspaper had to use an article from the AP to cover a local fire had me annoyed and amused at the same time (more annoyed at the time). Anyhow, I noticed it again a week or so ago and that time another thought came to my mind. As sad as it is that a local newspaper is looking for outside sources to write and publish articles for local situations, the unfortunate reality is perhaps that the local newspapers don't have the resources to cover such issues!

Sure the internet has created great conveniences for us all, but there has been setbacks and consequences as well. Can you imagine how many people have lost their jobs in the newspaper industry because they were no longer needed?

It got me thinking about it on a larger scale. Are people in the news industry losing their jobs because of the internet? Or are more and more people turning to the internet for their news because a newspaper simply is not enough.

At first, I thought that the answer was simple - people in the news industry are obviously losing their jobs because more and more people are choosing to get their news elsewhere (mainly the internet). Don't you think, however, that it is also equally plausible that more and more people are going to the internet because they have a variety of options and can hear from 'different voices' on a particular issue? We don't subscribe to many newspapers, but can very easily subscribe, or at least view, to many different sources online. Let's face it - a single newspaper can't objectively provide everything the internet resources can. And I don't know about you, but I want to know a few different sides of a story.

So now I'm curious. Do you guys read the news? If so, do you do it the old fashioned way (a physical paper) or go the internet for it all? Is one better than the other in your opinion?

P.S. Don't forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I'd love to hear from you.
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