Pretty Sweet Digs.

20 Apr

While University of Florida freshman are stuck in the uncomfortable desks of Turlington Plaza, us upperclassmen in the College of Journalism are reaping the benefits of being older, wiser, and overall better looking (kidding) in the Center for Media Innovation and Research. in Weimer Hall

An Apple fanboy’s dream, the room is equipped with dozens of spankin’ new Macbook Pros for us to use. On the back wall is a collection of several screens that can project as one for ultimate viewing, allowing students to share and learn. UF is recognizing how important digital media is to the future of journalism, and opening this center is the perfect way to train the next generation of students for jobs that will be largely online-based. We’re not a “public Ivy” for nothin’!

The Grand Opening. Check out those shiny Macbooks! Photo taken from CIMR Website.

The CIMR opened in the fall. A video of the grand opening is available online. It’s a bit lengthy (a little over an hour), but packed full of interesting stuff.

There are also a number of Projects involved with the CIMR. Check ’em out!

Classes of 2012 in beyond — use this resource wisely! The future is in your hands 🙂

Who am I?

6 Apr

A ninja.

An animal.

A girl.

A mystery.

I’m not a fan of biographies in the internet sense. I go out of my way to provide vague, one sentence blurbs or inane song lyrics in the “About Me” section of social networking sites, and when people ask me to describe myself in three words or less, I cannot even come up with one. When telling the world “about myself,” I ask: why? Why must the person I am be constricted to one simple box on my Facebook profile page? A one page resume? A five-minute interview? Humans are fascinating creatures, living, breathing, thinking, and loving, and a few sentences is just the beginning of tapping someone’s psyche. Think of the way you describe your childhood best friend — you know the way twiddles her thumbs when she’s nervous, the way he holds his fork. Idiosyncrasies are my favorite part of people.

But, for this, I will make some biographical attempt.

I was born, and raised, in Tampa, Florida. My mother is from Illinois and my father from Puerto Rico. Ironically enough, they met in the arctic wasteland of Minneapolis (kidding, it’s a lovely city). My dad had never seen snow before. It’s debatable whether my mother had ever met a Puerto Rican. They fell in love, moved to San Francisco so my father could continue to do smart-people things (a fellowship at Stanford), and then married & moved to Tampa. I’ve always felt a strong pull towards the West Coast, so the irony of my parents living there only a few years before my birth never escapes me. San Francisco, I will have you.

The most interesting life stories contain struggle, childhood abuse, death. I’m going to disappoint you, dear readers, in that my childhood was excellent and relatively free of scarring events that to bring up later in life to an overpriced therapist. I spent the better part of my childhood in suburbia, attending school, playing games with my neighbors, exploring the woods. As someone who as been voted “best dressed,” more than once, it’s always funny to tell people that I have not always been runway ready — up until the age of 13, I dressed like a boy and preferred lizards and bb guns to Barbies. For the 3rd grade talent show, instead of singing, dancing, or playing the flute, I entertained the crowd by attaching lizards to my ear. I once told someone I had “over 100 pets” because I captured enough tadpoles to fill four tanks. I had bearded dragons, snakes, and turtles. My parents were amazingly tolerant of my reptile addiction, and even encouraged me to bring home more bizarre creatures by taking me to the reptile show every year. Good. Parents.

I always tell people I wish I majored in English. I started writing short stories in second grade and haven’t stopped. I still have my first series, “Tremont and Friends” in journals under my bed. You can barely decipher my 8-year-old handwriting and the grammar would make a teacher cringe, but the stories are actually pretty intense for someone who just learned to spell. I always loved to read — before I even learned, my parents said I would take books and make up stories to go along with the pictures. I was itching to tell stories before I could even understand them. I was a weird kid.

I had a cute childhood, a typically awkward pubescent period where I decided to watch a lot of anime and wear raver pants (god rest my pubescent soul), and a wonderful high school experience. In 9th grade, my parents moved out of the “little boxes” of suburban Tampa and into Riverside Heights. It was there I shed my sheltered childhood skin (attending private schools and living in a golf course community had me thinking that everyone had braces, played soccer, and would attend college) and was introduced to the real world. This, I feel, is the best decision my parents ever made. I also met some of my very best friends, and for that, I am forever thankful.

In high school, we spent our days racing cars, harassing the citizens of Tampa with our megaphone, and being general hooligans. During one of the hurricanes, we were featured on ABC news for pulling a boat down flooded Bayshore Boulevard with our megaphone in hand. We were, definitely, “those kids.”

Despite the trouble-making, I was endlessly dedicated to school & was involved in track, cross country, theatre, volunteering, etc etc etc. I was obsessed with building my college resume and going to medical school.


blogs. of class.

6 Apr

In addition to the blogs of my buddies, I have been known to “creep” (let’s use some internet lingo here) the blogs of my classmates. This is all a bit intimidating — I feel like most of my classmates are coworkers at WUFT and have intimate relationships with each other. I’m pursuing another degree in the science field and, to be quite frank, do not see my future in journalism and thus, have no done anything beyond earlier volunteering at WUFT and work for TV 1. I did take Radio I & II and did enjoy radio (See last week’s post to check out my announcing skills). For now, however, I’m working in advertising at the Alligator (ironically enough, I don’t ever see myself in advertising — I do love my job, though!) and see a future in drug policy law or farming in the mountains of Colorado (kidding).

I loved the theme of Heather’s blog about introducing her Utah-born boyfriend to the ways of the South. Florida’s an odd place when you think about it– ferocious, ancient-lookingalligators roam our shores, and when we’re not fearing (or rooting) for them, we’ll eat them!. How strange for a foreigner. In a recent entry, Heather provided a link to her personal blog which I enjoyed even more. Cool stuff!

When I was in Radio II in Spring 2010, I worked with Alexis. She always came in with a cup of Starbucks handy, so I found the theme of her blog — Fresh Brewed Blog quite fitting! Alexis often blogs about working at Starbucks — her entry about the new Trenta size was hilarious. Entries like this about the little things will remind you to smile & be kind to your barista!

Lee’s blog is another great read. I love love LOVED the piece for the ONE contest she showed us, and her recipes are just as good. Definitely give it a look!

blogs: not of class.

6 Apr

So, in addition to reviewing the blogs of my classmates, I’d like to take a few moments to share the blogs of those dearest to me. It’s funny that in a blog I have in a class about blogging that I’ve failed to mention how wonderfully the blogs of my friends have kept me updated on their lives. Certainly, we have Facebook and Twitter documenting our every move, but they don’t convey the sense of emotion that a blog can.

It’s not a lie, folks: you CAN get a job in social media. My friend Emily is the Digital Design Fellow at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. Emily and I have been friends since age twelve, where we braved the awkward seas of middle school obsessing over Weezer and upperclassmen. We were friends throughout high school and — where it counts the most — continued to stay close throughout college. Despite being in different states we’ve managed to see each other every few months and are perhaps closer now than we ever were in high school. We studied abroad at the same time (her in Rennes, France and me in Sevilla, Spain) and managed to meet up for a weekend in Paris!

Emily and I at ASC graduation. Peace up, A-Town Down.

Emily assists students at ASC in creating e-portfolios, improving their digital writing skills and overall image on the ‘net, and essentially is a tutor for the faculty, staff, and students of ASC on all things digital media related.  I’ve heard her say countless times that her job is difficult to describe — especially to, say, her grandmother. When asked, I usually just tell people Emily prevents naive freshman from posting photos of them doing keg stands on Facebook (kidding).

Regardless, Emily’s blog: Crafting the Digital Design Fellowship is a perfect read for this class. Click, and you may even learn something!

Even better, Emily is the one of the best writers I know. I’ve been a fan of her writing since the days of Livejournal.

Emily and I in '04.

Next, my beautiful and fabulous friend Kat Grilli’s blog is just a treat to read. Kat and I met on a particularly memorable New Years Eve the winter of senior year, and mere months later it was as if she’d been part of our crew (that’s RSH to you!) for years. What followed was an epic summer that can only be had before college begins: car drifting, road trips, and general mischief making. Most importantly, Kat cooked for the whole crew every night. I still have dreams about her caesar salad dressing.

This is the only normal photo of Kat and I could find. This is telling of our friendship.

Kat is one of those rare people that does what everyone wishes they had when they go through that midlife crisis: followed her dreams. Kat got her B.F.A in theatre at Auburn University and is currently interning for the Jewish Ensemble Theatre Company in Michigan and writes about acting, working, life, Detriot and generally being an overworked intern at the JET. Kat, like Emily, is an incredible writer. I had the pleasure of reading the beginnings of her first novel back in 2007 when we road tripped to Chicago with some of our friends (quite a drive in a Scion xA…), and getting to see the final product this summer. Kat is honest, smart, and basically one of the greatest people I know. She’s also proof that you can get a theatre degree and not live in a box.

Read her blog: Working.



30 Mar

Click HERE to hear my be a guest on the Prescription Addiction Radio Show!

(click the 3/27 show!)

I got the honor of appearing on the Prescription Addiction Radio Show, a weekly program on WTAN 1340 in the Tampa Bay area. I come on after 10:30!

“With the slightest push in the right place, the whole world can be tipped.”

30 Mar

It is ironic that I am blogging about Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point today. On my way to botany lab (6:15 on a Wednesday night — who schedules these things?!), a song I hadn’t heard since high school came on my iPod. Back in ’06 (or possibly ’05), a band named Hollywood Undead made it big on Myspace with their brand of rap rock. I think their success on the web eventually landed them a record deal and they got some airtime — I’m not even sure how they sound now as I haven’t followed them since I was a silly little senior with a Myspace.

Regardless, their song “Scene For Dummies” is a crude hit where they poke fun at being cool in the “scene” world: back in ’05, the hipster kids were “scenesters” who had self-cut hair with bad bleach jobs, skinny jeans. They took photos of themselves in the mirror with their T-Mobile Sidekick and started drama on the internet. They all had a Myspace, where they proudly displayed their countless identical mirror photos and their “Top 8.”  Hearing this today, I just had to laugh — only 5 years have passed since this song’s debut, and that little subculture has become unrecognizable. The scene kids of yesteryear either grew up, mainstreamed and joined Facebook, or traded in their SideKick for an iPhone 4, wiped off some of their ridiculous eyeliner and became ironically cool. I’ll eat my hat if anyone I know still uses for anything other than its music player, and I’m sure the bows and tiger-striped hairdos of the scene days would be social suicide in 2011.

Gladwell might say that Myspace had a stickiness for quite awhile — but as trends are sensitive to the Power of Context, Myspace now practically ceased to exist in the shadows of Facebook and Twitter. But what about these two social media moguls? Perhaps Facebook found itself positively influenced by the Power of Context. Facebook used to be exclusive to college students but opened up to the world shortly after I joined. It began with The Few, and then was catapulted into popularity as Mavens (probably the college students, pushing friends and family to join), Connectors (again, college students) and Salesmen advocated it. Facebook became a phenomenon in a world that was used to broadcasting their personal lives on Myspace, and thus wasn’t too rattled when Facebook began to incorporate its invasive applications onto peoples’ profiles. Facebook was a time sensitive — if Facebook debuted in 2001, I doubt it would still be around today. Back then, parents warned their children against revealing their identities online. Today, everyone has a Facebook, a Twitter, a Tumblr/Wordpress/Blogger, and a LinkedIn, and not only reveal their identity to the Internet world, but reveal THEIR EVERY MOVE. The so-called “internet stalkers” that apparently haunted AOL chat rooms in the early 2000’s would have had a field day with applications like Four Square (that shows the world EXACTLY where you are) and public Facebook albums. But realistically, this stuff wouldn’t have flown in a society that feared revealing their real A/S/L on AOL Instant Messenger — it’s all about THE POWER OF CONTEXT.

But I digress. The Tipping Point reminded me of Don’t Make Me Think in that it made a science out of something I didn’t know HAD a science. Gladwell’s book talks about how trends become big in society — and why some ideas fail and others prevail. Gladwell says all trends must begin with a small group — what he calls The Law of the Few.  Any outbreak, whether it’s tight jeans or HIV, can be traced this way — Gladwell even mentions that STD epidemics can be traced back to a few super infectors (Gladwell’s kid-friendly word for “slut?”) who gave the disease to dozens of others, who then passed it on, etc. Trends require Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen to spread and market the idea.

But that’s not all. A trend must have Stickiness to take hold — a quality that makes the trend “stick” in the minds of the public. Ironically, Stickiness often contradicts what is assumed or accepted by society. I liked this concept — it put in to words what I’ve noticed about many trends. “Off kilter” things often become cool, like those terribly trendy oversized “nerd” glasses and sweater vests because it’s HIP TO BE SQUARE. Gladwell, however, uses Blue’s Clues & Sesame Street.


Finally, as I referred to in my Facebook rant, the Power of Context plays a big role in a trend’s success. Context can be anything from timing to the make-up of the “Few” group to what is currently trending. I personally liked his use of the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, a book that began as a cult hit among middle-aged housewives and blossomed into a New York Times bestseller & movie. This was one of my favorite books in high school (as was it’s prequel, Little Altars Everywhere) and I had no idea the roots of it all.

My favorite chapter of all, however, was the chapter on suicide and cigarette smoking. I suppose it makes sense that teenagers are genetically inclined to engage in romanticized and “dangerous” behavior like cigarette smoking and self-mutilation — and to emulate others. Perhaps this is because we are the crossroads between adulthood and childhood and are looking for “guides” and thus emulate the people around us? Teenagers are trying new things — one week a thirteen year old will be a “punk rock” and the next week, decided being “preppy” is in — in fact, they, if anything, are the ultimate test “cool” — if something can penetrate their masses for more than a few weeks, it’s Stickiness is high. If you think Gladwell is just exaggerating teenage angst, try looking through your middle school photos.

This being said, Gladwell said perhaps the most important thing in his book — that society shouldn’t freak out about teenagers experimenting — it’s inevitable, and as long as its infrequent, it’s fine. I want to go into drug policy “when I grow up,” and I firmly believe this is the stance society should take on harmless but often persecuted drugs. Experimentation is normal and healthy — it’s the use of dangerous and addictive substances that is really posing a problem to our youth. 7 people a day aren’t dying in Florida from smoking marijuana, they’re shooting up Oxycontin and never waking up.

All and all, I enjoyed this book. If anything, I’m going to look at trends differently!





on resumes.

23 Mar

It’s always taken me forever to write resumes. I can zip through a five-page essay and get an A, I can respond at rapid speed to instant messages, but I simply, for the life of me, cannot write resumes. Before I got my internship at the Alligator over the summer, I spent nearly three days staring at a blank Word document. The idea was to draft a simple resume to send out to places around Gainesville so I would have something productive to do during summer term (heaven knows I wasn’t paying attention in Physics 2). Why writing ONE PAGE of something alluded me, I’m not entirely sure — but I was so nervous upon sending out resumes that I forgot to attach a few! Embarrassing — but never fear, I landed one after I quickly sent a “whoops!” email with an attachment.

Perhaps my aversion to resume writing is this: how can someone possibly judge me off this? I don’t feel like my “accomplishments,” or, rather, what society deems to be “resume” worthy activities even begin to describe me as a person. I would, preferably, write a lengthy essay in free-form so potential employers can take a peak into my mind and my desires.

Resumes are dull. Take, for example, the classic:

Objective: To gain valuable experience in the _____ field and further my career as a _____.

Who in the world actually talks like this? I certainly understand business etiquette and employ it myself, but everyone in the world sat down and was completely honest, NO ONE thinks in resume terms, EVERY ONE thinks, deep down, that “resume lingo” is silly. Resume readers look for keywords that shows the person is prepared, even though they themselves know that  this recent college grad has been doing beer bongs and watching South Park rather than pining for some valuable experience in an entry-level career. Resume writers scour through sample resumes on Google and tailor theirs to say the right thing at the right time to land a job.

I, of course, follow these rules. I, too, looked at websites for ideas and perfected my original resume down to the bullet size. I, too, hoped my buzzwords and skills in the right places would pop out to potential employers.

In the meantime, I just wanted to scream. To tell anyone reading it that I’m more than just a degree, some internships, and jobs. I’ve traveled Europe! I’ve traveled across the country! I’m really good at changing tires and I love photography! I’m half Puerto Rican! I sometimes read five books a week because I simply can’t stop reading, and I know more useless information about pharmaceutical drugs than most people in pharmacy school, and can name almost every dog breed in the AKC after years of watching and attending dog shows.  I love fashion & can put anything together in an instant.

Resumes, however, stress simplicity. You have one page (or more, but I’m a big fan of the one-pager myself), and well-drafted cover letter, which cannot include penchants for dog shows and Jodi Picoult novels.

Everything else, really, is for the interview, which is a whole different area in “the right responses.”

I speak from an ideal world. Until then, check out my resume: here.

on working out.

23 Mar

Readers, I am about to embark on an adventure so rare that I feel it necessary to alert the world. There is a slight  chance I’ll never return — after all, I am not of sound body for this adventure. However, I am armed with the proper tools: shoes for speed, a t-shirt worn by the elements, and, of course, my iPod for 5,600 songs of motivation (seeing how out of shape I am, I may, in fact, require the entire playlist to accomplish anything resembling exercise).

Yes, dear readers, I am going to Southwest Gym.

Whenever I make snide remarks about my inability to stick to an exercise regime, I am mocked by my peers. “You’re skinny,” they remind me.

Yes, thin I may be, but out of shape I am, and I am certain there are obese boys in their mid-twenties who spend all their lives playing World of Warcraft that could beat me in a race. Really.

I enjoy exercise immensely. Once I am at the gym, I’m in heaven. It’s just the whole getting there part that gets me, the process of coming home, of changing, of collecting my things and heading there. Once I pass that, I’m a-okay. I just have to get there enough. When I was in high school, I competed in both track & field and cross country. Then, I could double lap the out-of-shape gamer and give anyone else a run for their money. I long to be there again.

My experience in advertising has taught me that gym attendance swells before spring break, only to dip afterwards. Thus, bigwigs like Gainesville Health & Fitness and Planet Fitness direct their advertising money to getting eager exercisers during those times. But what about the rest of the year?

If I’m not exercising to seduce spring breakers in a bikini, I’m exercising to be healthy. Cliche? Perhaps. Recents developments in my life have forced me to see the light: I am not invincible to health problems. Without violating privacy here, I have an consultation Friday for a surgery I need to remove some icky things from my insides. I’m far from dying, of course, but after 23 years of “everything looks perfect!” after routine visits and blood tests, I have never been on the receiving end of medical bad news. It was, to say the least, shocking, and I certainly made a bigger deal about it than necessary because I had simply never heard anything bad come from my doctor’s health.  This (and my persistent and awful cold), has warned me.

I have spent my college career pulling all-nighters for tests, pulling all-nighters for fun, consuming mass amounts of sodium and indulging in tobacco when the mood strikes me. All of this has been, thus far, “fun,” and something “I’d stop doing when I graduate,” but this time is fast approaching, and I have yet to make decisions in improving myself. My parents — older by society’s standards — are both in terrific shape and take time out of each day to exercise. It’s a bit disheartening when someone 40 years your senior is in better health than you.

Hence, the gym. I’ve gone a few times recently, and have been taking care to drink more water, drink and eat less of the bad and more of the good. This may seem simple to you fitness heads out there, but to me, this is a big step.


Who actually looks like this when they work out?!


16 Mar

This girl and I are on the same page.

I am currently sitting, alone, at a table in the Reitz Union, which is thankfully open until 3 AM to support night owls like myself. I have a test tomorrow, and while I prepared a bit on Monday and Tuesday, getting into the groove of school after a relaxing week off proved more difficult than I expected. This leaves me with no choice but to pull an all-nighter (gross), or at least review my material until the wee hours. I have work at 9 AM, and then my test at 11:45 — leaving little time for sleep.

That, and many of my professors decided THIS WEEK — and not the week before spring break — was going to be the best time to administer midterms. While many of my friends stayed up for five days straight before a welcomed break, I remained carefree until now.


While I’m not exactly thrilled to be spending my Wednesday night under the strange florescent glow of the Reitz cafeteria, I’ve come to realize that this is perhaps one of the LAST TIMES I will be doing this. I graduate in a little over a month: and in my coveted year off (exact location & job yet to be determined), I will most likely not be chugging Pepsi Max to keep alive until 5 AM for a midterm. We all spend our days complaining about studying, homework, and projects — but one day, we’ll be yearning for the cozziness of Marston Library, the welcoming caffeine buzz from a latte at 2 AM.

Many of my friends have already graduated, and any time I’m speaking with them on Facebook chat or via text into the wee hours of the night complaining about studying, every single one of them tells me how lucky I am to still be in school — and how they wish that they, too, were cramming for calculus instead of hitting the lights at 10 PM to prepare for a 6 AM wake up in the corporate world. Up until tonight, I’ve had a difficult time believing I would ever miss this behavior — but now, in the eve of my college career, I’m beginning to realize the importance of such simple practices:

Taking the bus to school. Wandering around campus. Chuckling at the strange displays in Turlington Plaza. Knowing the best routes to avoid flyers during student government elections. Going to class. Not going to class and savoring your “absence.” My ragged school ID, my huge pink binder.

Simple, simple things that will soon be robbed from me as I cross into adulthood. Strange to think that school, which has essentially occupied the past 20 years of my life, will be coming to an end (for a year, at least).

To this: I salute this last all-nighter!

iPod blues

2 Mar

My laptop charger broke weeks ago, an event that is nearly as devastating as losing a limb for a college student. I went to the store to purchase a new one only to discover they cost $70. I will gladly pay for convenience, but that’s a bit much. I checked Amazon and found them to be $2. This is not a joke. I expedited shipping (what’s a few more dollars?) and expected my charger in a few days.

I got sick the next week. I returned to Gainesville with high hopes for my charger. No luck. Cursing the postal service, I allowed it a few more days. Again, nothing. I wrote an email to the company, who went me a lovely automated email in return informing me that I had expedited my shipping (yes, guys, I knew this) and would should receive it within 3 days ( I filed the complaint a week after the last day it would have arrived, so. null and void). if not, I should wait until the 24th (a week and a half later) to contact again. I was angry, but willing to suffer a few more days to not deal with anything. plus, it was doing wonders for my facebook addiction.

The 24th rolled around, and there was no magical package on my doorstep. I filed a complaint (painless: thanks Amazon!) and will get my money back.

I am still without a charger, though. I’m currently composing this on my iPod touch, as I am waiting to borrow yet another charger later tonight. Not sure how you iPhone addicts do this. I cannot get a grasp on this touchscreen keyboard. please excuse all errors.

Moral? Be careful! Some bargains are too good to be true!