Category Archives: Blog

Mothers Day Away

My mom is truly one of my best friends but we haven’t always been so close. Just like every kid, I went through my “leave me alone mom” stage; there was constant fighting and eye rolling (on both ends). I like to call this part of my life ‘the dark ages’. Looking back, I can not believe that there was once a time when my mom and I didn’t get along, but because of these hard years, I feel even more blessed to now have such a close relationship her. She is literally the first person I call when anything happens, good or bad. My mom is my shoulder to cry on and my person to adventure with. I can’t even go shopping on my own! I always have to send her a picture and ask for her opinion.

I have not seen my absolute best friend in 100 days. That is 100 days without a mom hug (we all know those are the best kind of hugs), without a kiss on the head telling you everything is going to be ok, and without having the person that makes you feel the safest.

For these reasons, being away from her on mother’s day is so difficult. This year’s mother’s day is the first of many that I won’t get to share with my mom and so far I do not like that.

It breaks my heart that I will not get to be with her on the one day of the year dedicated to showing how much appreciation I have for everything she has done as a mom and given up for me just because I am her daughter. I know that you shouldn’t need a holiday to show how much someone means to you, you should do it every day however, it is hard when everywhere you look is covered in mother’s day adds and gifts, and you can’t even see your mom and give her a hug. I also can’t imagine how hard it is for my mom to see all the Facebook posts from other moms sharing the things that their kids did for them. It is like being the only one that doesn’t get invited to the party and you have reminders of it everywhere you look.

It sucks.

All that I want to do is to make my mom feel like the queen of the world for a day because she deserves to feel like she is on top of the world. She deserves at least one day where everyone puts her first just like she does for all of us every other day of her life.

I cannot wait to drive up to my house and get out of my car in 20 days, and run to give my mom our first hug in 120 days. I know for a fact that I will cry. Living half way across the country from my mom is one of the hardest things I have done and holidays like mother’s day makes it ten times harder. Leaving the nest and flying on your own is scary to begin with, but not being able to fly back to the nest whenever you want makes it so much worse. This part of growing up is so difficult, but I am a true believer that best things come from the hardest times. I know that I had to push myself out of the nest so that I could learn to fly on my own. I hope that I soar higher than my mom ever could have dreamed so that I can make her prouder than she could have ever imagined. I live each day to make her proud so that she feels that her sacrifices were worth it.

College is hard. Being away from the people closest to you is even harder. But thanks to my mom I know that I have the strength to do it all and get through whatever life throws at me.

I wish I could be with her on mother’s day, but I can’t. What I can do is finish my year strong, be the best daughter I can, and show the world that she raised an amazing person because she is an amazing mother.

The Ben and Doc Show #11 – Army Stories

This week, Ben’s good friend John joins the group to talk about his experience in the army. Hear about the intense situations he gets into as he protects our country, stops the creation of dangerous weapons, and fights natures most nightmarish creature.

Staying Sane While Crazy Busy

If you listen to the podcasts many of you may have heard that my life — although sometimes less adventurous than our other members — is crazy busy. Alexander even likes to make jokes about how I don’t know how to relax or know what a non-busy lifestyle looks like. I won’t say that my life is lacking things to do what with my volunteer work at local organizations, pursuit of higher education, my actual job (depending on the month), volunteer research assistant work at my undergraduate university for two different projects, maintaining a social life, maintaining a healthy relationship (let’s be honest, relationships take work!), normal week to week errands like grocery shopping, and whatever else is on my plate that week. When I look at that list of things it seems like a way more hectic schedule than I feel like I have, and there are a lot of reasons why I can handle the personal load I have.

I meticulously update my planner.

For me, a planner is a paper and ink experience. My google calendar is usually left alone and rarely updated because I prefer the experience of physically writing in items and checking off finished things.

I do use a fancy planner, but you don’t need to. I know people who use a notebook and simply keep a tally on what needs to be done. That works for them.

 

I am 100% honest with those close to me about my how busy I am.

And I don’t shrug it off when it’s a bit too much or having a negative impact on me. I don’t let my life get taken while silently suffering or maybe even taking it out inadvertently on those close to me. I try to be honest about when my schedule is a bit too much instead of forcing everything to happen and keep the ‘always together’ appearance that I apparently have (I don’t agree, but that’s a whole other topic).

Example: What I don’t do. – oh, naaaah. _Some activity that week_ is totally awesome and I’m perfect!” all the while thinking… “And it isn’t making me lose my mind because I now am unsure when I will be able to pick up groceries” in a clearly sarcastic manner.

Instead of claiming that I’m fine I’ll mention how I’m a bit stressed out due to overscheduling a bit that week. Often I’ll mix errands and social events, like inviting friends with me to go grocery shopping or even buying all of my week’s groceries with my boyfriend when we are at the store to pick up a couple of items for our date night dinners. This may sound a little silly to call up a friend and say “Hey! Want to go grocery shopping with me?” But for me this works because not only do I get to spend time with my friends (something I try to do regularly), but sometimes running an errand with them turns into us making dinner together and decompressing while we each work on something productive.

 

Another thing that I do regularly is I schedule self-care time.

Self-care for me usually means low-key activities with friends, bubble baths, videogames, reading for fun, and cooking.

These self-care activities are really cathartic and assist in letting me juice up my personal battery. For me, these are non-negotiable parts of my week and therefore they’re written into my planner so that I don’t forget to take care of myself.

A lot of the time when I am doing self-care I either turn off my phone or put it on vibrate mode and put it away from me. I can hear the vibrations most of the time, since I live in a small studio, but it takes some of the pressure off needing to respond at the moment.

 

These are the little things that I do to stay sane with my ‘crazy schedule’ and for me, it works very well! This may not work for everyone, but for me it makes a busy busy schedule feel a lot more manageable.

 

A Sellout – You Don’t Know What They Are and You Might Be One

By Doc Von Derwin

I remember the first time I heard the word ’sellout’. I was in middle school and my older brother and I were having a discussion of the classic American Film Employee of the Month starting Dane Cook. My brother regarded Dane Cook as a sellout because he wasn’t the funniest character in the movie. I thought it was strange at the time but didn’t really understand why. Some years later, he and I were taking a deep perspective look into Saving Woodstock with America’s sweetheart Dimitri Martin. After I told him that the film was not a comedy, he eloquently replied with: “So he sold out like Dane Cook?”. Again, I was totally lost on what he meant but didn’t understand what was causing me discomfort. Since he was the older brother, he had to be right after all. So I started trying to identify sellouts as they started to appear. A Queens of the Stone Age song on a T-Mobile commercial? Sellouts! Ben Affleck in a romantic comedy? Sellout. Anything that Nickelback performed? Sellouts! Now that years have past and I’ve started reading books that weren’t written by R.L. Stine or Limoney Snicket, I figured out that I have been wrong the whole time.

You have to start by identifying what a sellout really is. A sellout is someone who compromise their current beliefs for opposing or conflicting beliefs for payment or benefit. Essentially, someone who will say or endorse anything for the right price. Some of you might be thinking that certain bands are sellouts because they started as indie coffee shop heroes and turned into global commercial success, with their new stuff not being pure as their old stuff. They sold their musical integrity to become famous, right? But bad music isn’t a sign of selling out. It’s a sign that artist has evolved into something else, often because their original music was fueled by being an artist who has a lot of stress and fears about where their next meal is going to come from but but when they’re rich and famous, that sort of fuel is gone and they need something else to drive them. Nickelback didn’t sellout for money, they’ve always been a terrible band appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Demetri Martin and Dane Cook weren’t sellouts for doing those movies I mentioned earlier. They were making business transactions in the pursuit of being actors. The more they act, the more work they get and with big movie productions it’s not like they have creative control in the movies they’re on. Its is similar to the Queens of the Stone Age where the music production company are probably the ones who greenlighted T-Mobile using their song in a commercial.

The people who are sellouts are largely people who want to make the most money they can get. A person who can hate what their business does but still do it for the sake of the paycheck. We don’t know artists or actors personally so we can’t call them sellouts. The only sellouts we can really label are ourselves. So ask yourself, are you a sellout?

Spring Break with Greek Life

By Alyssa Pereira

Most of the time, when people think of college students going on spring break, they tend to think of crazy beach parties and non-stop drinking. If you add in the Greek Life factor, you get ideas like wild sorority girls doing wet t-shirt contests and frat guys who walk around in bro tanks and carry beer around 24/7. These are the first things that come to mind, thanks to the lovely stereotypes of Greek Life that are portrayed in the media, but there is another side to what we, sorority women, and fraternity men actually do.

 

To the surprise of many, one of the most predominate things that Greek Life members do is community service. Service is at the heart of what it means to be in a fraternity or sorority. Our chapters and national headquarters are constantly encouraging us to go out, into the community and make a difference.

 

For this reason, it was no surprise to me that the majority of students on the spring break service trip were members of the various Greek life organizations on campus. Each and every one of us chose to get on a bus for 9 days, mostly with people we have never met before, travel half way across the country, and sleep on church floors, so that we could make a difference in more than just our small community.

 

The adventure began bright and early at 6:30am on a Friday, as we all boarded the bus to start our journey to Washington DC, a casual 1,500-ish mile road trip. Along the way, we stopped in five different cities, completing a service project in each one, totaling just around 25 hours of community service. Each day, we would wake up bright and early around 6:30am, quickly eat breakfast (which pretty much only consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or pop tarts), clean the church, and then load the bus andset out to our service project of the day. After completing four or five hours of community service, we pile back onto the bus and make our way to the next city so that we could do it all again tomorrow. All while on about 4 hours of sleep. Once we arrived in Washington DC, we were joined by 5 other buses from universities all over the Mid-West. We all teamed up and completed one last big, four-hour service project.

 

The first stop on our Pay it Forward tour was Madison, WI. In Madison, we had the opportunity to go to one of the state parks, and help cut down invasive plant species from the banks of a lake, so that more people would be able to visit the area and enjoy the wonders of Mother Nature. This personally was one of my favorite service projects because we really got to see how much of a difference we made. When we first got there and saw the patch of land we had to clear, I thought that there was no way we would be ever be able to make a dent. But to my surprise, and the hard work of everyone, we were able to completely clear the area. It was incredible to watch a group of complete strangers, buckle down and work together to get the job done. We were told that the work we did would have taken the set volunteers for the state park all summer. It was so rewarding to see how appreciative they were of what we did, and all it took was a couple hours of our day.

 

Then it was off to Lafayette, IN where we helped with repairs at a non- profit art museum. After that we hit Louisville, KY where we painted and updated studio rooms for a non-profit ballet school. Our fourth city was Charleston, WV. There we got to do our second hard labor service project at a garden that serves Manna Meal, a soup kitchen that gives two meals a day to anyone who walks through their doors no matter what.  We were able to help them move mounds of mulch and fertilizer to raise the ground level, weed garden beds, and sort through donated items. I have never had so much fun shoveling dirt and getting muddy before! The last stop before Washington DC was Harrisburg, VA. In this city, we got a really cool opportunity to help out in Shenandoah National Park, where we cleaned garbage off of two hiking trails that had not yet opened for the season! Fun fact, both teams got lost on our trails!

 

Washington DC was an eye opening experience. The service project that we did as one giant group was cleaning one of the rivers near the city. I have never seen a river with so much garbage before. We had people things as small as candy wrappers to garbage as large as tires, traffic cones, car parts, even weird thing like credit cards and state IDs. It made me so sad to see how polluted the water was but seeing how much we pulled out was mind blowing.

 

One of the coolest parts about the entire experience was watching the faces of the people we met along the way when we told them about what we were doing. No one could believe that 36 college students would ‘give up’ their spring break to do a total of around 30 hours of community service in cities that they didn’t even live in. I never understood why people said ‘give up’ because this trip was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Yes, it was exhausting but every minute was worth it.

 

Not only did I as an individual get to make a difference, but I got to do it with fifteen of my Greek Life brothers and sister. We are living proof that the stereotypes of our community are not the reality. Not once did I hear anyone complain or wish they had done something different. Of course it would have been nice to be on a beach relaxing somewhere, but it was more important to do something meaningful.

 

Just because we are in a sorority or fraternity doesn’t mean we don’t care about the world.

 

Spending my spring break serving in multiple cities was the only way I would have wanted to spend it. I am proud to have represented my sorority, Kappa Delta, in each one of the cities with my sisters by my side.

Stories are everywhere. Keep telling them.

 

In my final quarter of university, I had to take a ‘portfolio’ class. The idea behind the class was to help students tie all of their humanities learning together into something they could talk about. It was all about figuring out what we’d been doing in school and cementing those last few lessons the university was supposed to be teaching us (like how to sell our skills). Mostly it was a bollocks class that tried to teach me how to write a gods damned essay for the billionth time, we made roadmaps of our time in University of Washington Bothell (Pictures). The one thing I can credit the class with was it did help me realize that I love stories. As a mythology-focused anthropologist, writer and – at the time – game designer, I am fascinated by the stories we tell to define the world around us. As an educator, I’ve come to realize that one of the most important tools you can equip a person with is the ability to tell their own stories.

Stories are the life blood of humanity. Almost as soon as we can talk, we’re telling tales. Young children always have something they want to tell you, even if they’re literally retelling the last twenty seconds of events. But we put down these tools of imagination as we grow up, swapping them for the technical, quantifiable and testable skills of science, technology, engineering and math or abandoning them out of self-consciousness. By middle school/junior high, the kids who still fight invisible monsters and pretend to grand adventures are weird or childish. Either kids are aimed at the drama department or left to tell stories on their own time, with the implication that stories are for reading and the odd project, not real life. The script is wrong.

I have run Dungeon & Dragons, D&D, for middle schoolers, LARPed (live action roleplay) with elementary school kids in the woods and watched twelve-year olds write and draw comics far better than anything I could have done, and been paid for all of them. I’ve run programs for kids who wanted to make video games, stop motion movies, or live action movies. Seen kids who hate reading record themselves playing a game, pretending they’re Youtubers recording for an audience. Through all of them, I’ve seen kids learn how to communicate, cooperate and collaborate. They’ve learned teamwork, leadership and some sneaky math to boot. But most importantly, they learned that it’s still okay to express themselves in narrative. That ‘actual adults’ haven’t completely given up on telling stories. These groups of kids weren’t just the nerds and geeks of their peer group either. Jocks, preps and all the other social groups played D&D in the program. Even the most serious kids found a niche for themselves during the Live Action Roleplay where we pretended the camp was a feudal realm and hit each other with foam swords in the woods. The joy on their faces, especially the older ones, the ones ‘aging out’ of the world of storytelling, was a sight to see.

Now, I’m almost sure we’ve fallen trap of thinking here. How many of you kept thinking of books, comics and movies when I was talking about stories?  Maybe some of you went to plays instead, bravo. I knew the trap was there and I still fell into as I wrote this. I don’t know if we can truly avoid it with the way English is structured but the trap is still a falsehood.

There are the obvious ways to tell a story. You can write a book, an article or a poem. You can film a movie. You can act a tale. You can draw, or animate. But there are other ways, less obvious ways. Musicians, those who free style or those who play from sheet music are telling a story in the flow of the music. The composers of songs use the notes to tell the audience a tale, if you know how to listen. Dancers tell their own stories, and not just the interpretive dancers. Even the technically adherent ballerina is part of retelling a story of a choreographer. Artists of every type leave a story behind in their pieces. You can draw a literal storyboard but even the most absurdly abstract piece of art says something. That two thousandth still life study that a power art student is doing right now still describes the fruit and the moment in time, and in collection with the other thousand, the artist’s growth (or lack of). Photographers have their own maximum for it, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

Maybe you don’t want to be an artist though. You like all the science and maths you do. Great, but even the simple chemistry equation tells a story. Maybe not be an interesting one but it’s there. The least obvious of all storytelling techniques is the most common though. You can say it. Kids start telling stories before they start writing them, people have been telling stories since before writing existed. You do it all the time anyway, like when you talk about James from Accounting or tell your friend what you did over the weekend. The trick is realizing you’re doing it.

Tell stories on purpose. It doesn’t matter how; it doesn’t matter if they’re good; it doesn’t even matter if they’re math equations. Stories are the soul of humanity. No one has every truly stopped telling them and it’s about time we realize that.

The Ben and Doc Show #7 – A Cultural History of Batman

 

Batman. We talk about him. If you know who he is and what he does than this is the perfect episode for you. Get ready for a batarang to the face you Joker, because our two faces are gonna deliver a Killer Croc of an episode that will be the Bane of your existence and make you green with Ivy.

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Spring has officially hit Washington. The sun is shining, and just like the new flowers popping up things in my life keep on popping up alongside them. Of course, this means all I want are meals that are comforting after a day on the run without many breaks, refrigerates well if I don’t have the energy to actually make food, and of course most of all has some green in it so I don’t feel like a 2 year old once again. This dish, which I made with my boyfriend a long time back has become a fall back recipe. So much so that I don’t even know where any of my own pictures are of it. Above is a picture of a similar recipe, if you follow this recipe to a T they may come out a bit greener and will smell of garlic.

Tools needed:

  • Baking dish – 8 x 8 inches minimum
  • Cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • Mixing bowl (medium – large)
  • Foil
  • Pan + lid

Ingredients:

  • 12 jumbo pasta shells
  • 10 oz frozen spinach (I use 16 oz, but I really like spinach)
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper (only if you like it)
  • 20-26 oz of tomato sauce (use more or less depending on your preference)
  • 1 cup whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3 cloves of garlic

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cook 12 – 15 jumbo pasta shells according to package directions. Make sure that they don’t have cracks, cook extra in case they break during the cooking process.
  3. While shells are cooking fine mince the garlic, microwave frozen spinach until it is warmed. May need to break the spinach up with a fork.
  4. Once garlic and spinach are pressed, toss both into a pan and cook until the spinach is fully cooked through. Once it is cooked drain excess liquid.
  5. In a mixing bowl combine ricotta, parmesan, spices, and egg. Once these are well combined add in the drained spinach and garlic. If you don’t use all of the stuffing or are still waiting for the shells, put it in the refrigerator for later use.
  6. Drain your pasta and put aside.
  7. Take a rectangular baking dish (I use an 8 x 8 inch one) and add half of your tomato sauce to the bottom of the baking dish. Fill the shells with the combined mixture. If your dish has room for the extra shells that didn’t break feel free to stuff them into the baking dish too!
  8. Top shells with left over sauce and mozzarella cheese before placing foil over the baking dish.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is fully melted and shells are heated through.
  10. Enjoy while warm!

Changes to PLIS

Podcast Lost in Space originally was started by Alexander as an experiment, to see if we could pull it off. One of the things that the team has learned was that we bit off more than we could chew right off the bat, so we are going to be making some changes over the next couple months.

The main Podcast Lost In Space podcast is shifting from a weekly to biweekly schedule, with Podcast Lost In Games podcast filling in PLIS’s off weeks – with a bonus podcast from one of the podcasts for 5 week long months! The Ben and Doc Show is going to still be weekly for the time being.

We are also debating if we will be maintaining our blog portion of Podcast Lost In Space. As it stand, we’re going to shift to a dedicated four posts a month, with week five being an off, or bonus week depending. We will be evaluating and debating whether or not the team/ PLIS will switchover only to podcasts due since our members all lead rather full lives outside of PLIS activities/duties.

 

Now, what can you do to keep us going?

At this point, let us know how you are feeling about the content we are putting up! Leave us Comments on the site, send us emails to podcastlostinspace@gmail.com or otherwise let us know what you think!

If there is a topic you’d love to see more of, love for us to talk about in the first place, or maybe go in depth on. Let us know! You can always email us or leave us a comment to let us know!

 

Thank you for your continued support!

 

Podcast Lost in Space.

Podcast Lost in Games 10 with Grant Oney and Paul Cochran

This weeks episode I have Grant Oney and Paul Cochran join me for a conversation about video games. Also, I get tired of writing descriptive paragraphs about my show. I mean, you have already decided, one way or another, whether you are going to listen to the show or not so why would you let a paragraph talking about the show affect whether or not you are going to spend an hour with some really cool and funny guys talk about video games. Show biz is just so tough.