Carlo Aaron

I’m in a complicated relationship…with my undergraduate research.

In academic, Uncategorized on June 30, 2012 at 3:29 am


This is how I feel right now. Like a crazy person who hasn’t slept in days and eats ramen noodles for breakfast. Thankfully that’s just how I feel–my sleep is significantly reduced and I still have faith in the nutritional value of cliffbars– but if I don’t stop soon, I’m heading in that direction. Who am I that I should have such a bleak future, you ask?

An undergraduate researcher.

I’m one of the hundred of thousands of undergraduates in the country that sees no other hope for their future aside from graduate school (or whatever…I’m not actually sure how many people want to go to graduate school, but that figure feels about intimidating enough to be accurate). I’m also one of the many who have realized that I need to be as academically actualized as I can possibly be by the time I start applying to graduate school, thus, summer research program.

Don’t get me wrong, I highly recommend summer research. I really love the experience I’m having, and am very grateful for this unique program (MURAP at UNC Chapel Hill–look it up!) that combines GRE prep with research, among other things. One of those other things I am being exposed to, however, is the relationship one is likely to have with their research topic. This PhD comic is an apt representation of my feelings at the moment:

I feel too young to get PhD comics, but there you have it. One minute I’m all gung-ho over my obscure humanities research, the next, I am banging my head against the wall wondering why I thought this thing could ever work out. (We’ve been together for so long, dammit, but Rick Scott must be right, you are useless!) Honestly though, I do love what I am doing and it is totally worth my blood, sweat and tears…or really, just the tears.

So the reason why I’m posting this nonsense instead of something interesting and insightful about the world is because I feel like there must be some undergraduate out there that is suffering through the same thing. If you have found me seeking solace young undergraduate scholar, if the algorithm gods have responded to your sacrifice of several desperate keywords, then you know you are not alone. There may not be much hope for a future of sanity, but…well, we’re all going to die anyway. (I’m pretty sure that saying doesn’t actually fit here, but whatever YOLO.)

Here’s a list of things that might help you through your research experience:

  • Remind yourself that you are not going to die.
  • Don’t analyze your mentor/professor’s email for hidden criticisms.
  • Don’t analyze your mentor/professor’s email.
  • Eat food several times a day.
  • Don’t analyze your thoughts for latent insecurities/desires.
  • Calm down.
  • Don’t get hung up on potentially contradictory information that only might possibly undermine your research to the point where you can’t sleep and you email the author of the text who doesn’t recall what he wrote ten years ago because he’s like seventy and senile.
  • Shower regularly.

Cheers to a potentially bleak, but mentally fruitful future!

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Things that are Good and or Rock: Earth Fare

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Ok, so if you live in the South and you haven’t been to Earth Fare, you probably don’t know how good life can actually be. This is not a hyperbole. This is real life.

If you’re into organic, vegetarian, gluten-free,or maybe just actual food, but don’t have the kind of money rich people do to spend on groceries, Earth Fare is a godsend. No, it’s not a co-op, but that means that nobody smells poorly and there is much more variety. Also, Earth Fare is obsessed with customer satisfaction and coupons– think Publix Greenwise tenfold. To give you a concrete example, my last visit at Earth Fare I saved $11.50 in discounts (this is my couponing at it’s best), got $7.50 in Fare Deal Savings (things that are on sale at the store), and received free Earth Fare veggie burgers (this was for signing up for their mailing list…from which I receive NO SPAM).

Let me break down their discount system for you:

  • You can opt to receive discounts via text and email (these coupons/discounts are different from one another. Usually they are coupons for FREE THINGS)
  • There are booklets jam-packed with coupons… seriously, there are dozens of coupons within your reach (on another note, they have delicious jam)
  • Something is always on sale.
  • You can enter cute little contests on their website for a chance to win $50 or $100 gift cards.
Earth Fare is also really into being involved with their customers. Their CEO has a blog called “You Don’t Know Jack.” So cute I just wanna die. Plus they have an Earth Fairy that they make criminally underwatched videos with. So creepy. I love it.

In conclusion, love Earth Fare because rich people shouldn’t be the only ones who can eat actual food. Is that fare to say?

New posts coming soon about actually exciting things… like New Orleans, SXSW, Nick Offerman and Edgar Wright, so ya’ll come back now!

 

P.S.- No, Earth Fare did not pay me to write any of this stuff.

I’m In Love With Lana Del Rey

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2012 at 2:03 am

I recently (a few weeks ago; I’m a slow blogger) bought Lana Del Rey’s album, instead of downloading it, when it first came out, because she’s an artist that I believe in and I wanted her to have a good debut week for the charts.  Unlike me though, a lot of people seem to have some sort of beef with Lana Del Rey.

File:LanaDelRey BornToDie.jpg

Pretty much every bad thing I’ve read about her has to do with the fact that she changed her name and appearance and musical style to develop this ‘Lana Del Rey’ persona.  I’m not sure why this is such an issue with people; she’s one of the most interesting personas in Pop music since Lady Gaga (who also changed her name, appearance and musical style).  Maybe it’s the fact that she’s catering to a more alternative crowd than Lady Gaga and alternative is supposed to be more legitimate than pop? If that’s your thought pattern you’re mistaken.  Or maybe it’s just that she seems ‘fake?’

For me, the fact that she seems to be putting on a front, that she seems uncomfortably poised, reserved and cold; that she seems ‘fake’ is what’s interesting about Lana Del Rey. It gives her some mystery, and in general it’s interesting to have someone in the pop music industry who seems to be thinking about what they’re doing or saying. But if you have doubts, just listen to the album, I promise there’s nothing fake about it.

The album itself has an amazing combination of vocal samples, and melancholy strings which work amazingly with Lana’s sultry voice.  The album taps into some nice modern Mid-Western/Southern themes, and is filled with this longing for an older time.  The lyrics themselves are great, and Lana herself says she’s a writer before she’s a singer and it shows. There are some songs that aren’t as great (Dark Paradise is a tedious song to sit through), and it’s not too upbeat which causes the album as a whole to lag, especially near the end but it really is an album worth having in your collection and is a great slection of tracks.

Standout Tracks:

 Born to Die
This is a really great track on the album with a smart, chic music video.  The sampling in this song really makes for an interesting musical landscape, especially paired with the symphonic strings that open the song. This song is the perfect opener for the album.

Off to the Races

The lyrics on this track are probably the best on the album (Video Games gives it a run for its money).  The scenery is so tangible and it’s one of the more upbeat tracks on the album.  I would really hope this one becomes a single; it showcases Lana Del Rey’s amazing writing skills, and it shows a different side of her that I think audiences would respond well to.

Video Games

Don’t need to say much about this song; it’s amazing and I think almost everyone can relate to it if not the idea of it.  The video is great as well (just don’t expect the same production values as the video for ‘Born to Die’) and I was surprised to learn that Del Rey made the video herself.

National Anthem and Radio are definitely also worth listening to.  Both are great tracks that really embody the strings/samples/vocals mixture that Lana Del Rey has crafted on this album.

 

I’m still listening to the album everytime I get into my car, and I’ve yet to get tired of it.  After a few listens even the slower songs like Dark Paradise and Summertime Sadness become more bearable, and I’ve started to really appreciate their place on the album.  I’m really excited to see what Lana Del Rey does next and where she goes from here.