Goodbye, Brandeis

College—it is over.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to be hoofin’ it out of here. But, it’s still odd to say goodbye to a place where I spent the better part of four years of my life. I’m looking forward to going home, though, and starting a career; I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels for a while here, now, and going into broadcast has been my entire reason for going to school. Now, I finally get to be a reporter and an anchor.

As an aside, though, I think the university system could stand to be revamped: For someone like myself who wanted to be a journalist, was it really necessary to take courses like astronomy, which I only enrolled in fulfill a university requirement? And, when am I ever going to use the skills I learned in English classes in which we discussed Proust? They were great classes, sure, but should I have to take classes that aren’t relevant to my career just because you have to take courses for four years to graduate? Peh.

Anyway, I’m a bit nervous about today, just because I’m a celebratory eater. If something rad happens,* I want to eat to celebrate, and I’m hoping that since I haven’t binged in six weeks I can keep up my good habits today. And, really, why be worried? Everything that I eat is my decision; no one is going to force me to binge, so having decided not to binge, now, I know that everything is going to be fine. Problem solved!

Wish me safe travels, dudes! I’ll try to start posting more often soon, but at the moment, I need to just get home!

* I’m also a stress eater. And a sad eater. … Alright, I guess any emotion is really an excuse for me to chomp, whatever.


Copyrights and Cooking

You guys, I only have four days left at University! Unless, of course, my school’s professors are horribly sadistic and enjoy springing failing grades on graduating seniors. Eep.

Anyway, professors/God willing, I’ll be home in a few days, and home means having a kitchen. Hooray! And, with access to said kitchen, I’m hoping to start a new blog feature; that is, recipe reviews.

However, I’m a little uncertain as to whether it’s OK to post recipes from books. Granted, I could probably find out with a little digging, but I am horrendously lazy and would rather ask you dudes, instead. So … does anyone know the policies regarding putting up a recipe from a cookbook on your blog site? Also, are recipe reviews a thing you dudes would enjoy? Personally, I really love buying cookbooks, but half the time I feel like the recipes in most books end up either a) using too many ingredients or b) just being not that good, so personally I would find this to be a helpful thing, but would you?

Exiting into a Beginning

Dear Reader(s?),

You have my apologies for the recent lack of posts; unfortunately, I am in the midst of my final ten days at university (!), and this entails writing papers, writing more papers and taking exams. Also, packing. Also, boiling all my water, because the town in which I currently reside as well as bunch of other communities in the surrounding area are currently working with a broken water pipe that is apparently giving us water unsafe for drinking. Fun, yes?

Anyway, I am hoping that once I am gradumacated and living my exciting post-education journalist life, I will have both a) more things to write about and b) more motivation to write. At the moment, though, the last thing I feel like doing after sitting in front of a laptop all day putting together essays is writing blog posts. Alas. Bear with me, though, and hopefully things will pick up again here at AWI. I’ll still try to post product reviews if I try anything new/have the time, and I’ll put up my weigh-ins.

By the way, I am currently DREADING this Friday’s check-in; I haven’t weighed in since April 23rd, which is good, but this also means I have no idea whether I’m maintaining or gaining or losing. I’ve been following my plan to a T (i.e. eating 50 more calories per day each week), but even when I did that upon starting maintenance last time, I still gained a bit the first week. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind a wee gain at all, I just hope I don’t get on the scale come Friday and find that 1,700 calories per day was actually how much I needed to maintain and that I’ve spent the last two weeks putting poundage back on. Blergh.

Inspiration from the Internet

One of the things I love about food blogs is that so many of the authors are relatable; it’s amazing, when you start perusing said blogs, how many recovering/struggling binge eaters you come across. My problem, it seems, isn’t that uncommon.

Anyway, while I was digging through blogs looking to see how people coped with binge eating, I came across this post in Elina’s blog. I’ve been reading Healthy and Sane for awhile, now (it’s one of my favorites, and I now have a long list of Boston eateries to visit thanks to her), and it was a great source of inspiration for someone like me who is struggling with binge eating (You may remember that I quoted one of her posts relating to binge eating, before.) Anyway, this particular post essentially details a conversation Elina had with a RD regarding how to overcome binge eating. I won’t recap the whole entry here (you’ll have to read the whole thing for yourself), but the RD recommends allowing yourself one indulgence per day—but, only one.

And, after reading this entry, I’ve made an executive decision to try this plan, myself between Dec. 8 and Dec. 23, before my designated “Intuitive Eating” days. You see, this afternoon, I was literally planning the binge I was going to have the day before I started my “post-holiday” diet. And I thought, “Why do I have this all or nothing mentality?” I think the reason is similar to that behind Elina’s binges; that is, I associate not counting calories with the free-for-all day I used to have once a week during my WW days. Regardless, I need to learn to eat only what I want, rather than a bunch of junk PLUS what I wanted simply because I went over my calorie count or had an indulgence.

I’m not going to lie; I’m a little scared. But, the fact of the matter is, I feel like if I don’t do something like this, I’m not going to learn how to eat like a normal person. And, I’m freaked out by the potential weight gain; “I’m going to put on so much weight before I start my diet!” But, if I can overcome bingeing, it’ll come off that much quicker. And, I’m not losing any weight right now, anyway, because of the bingeing (in fact, as of this morning I’ve gained weight [I know, I said I wasn’t going to weigh myself before weigh-in day], which has me freaked even more.)

But, at present, I’m just trying to decide if I want to weigh myself again after tomorrow before January 1; I don’t want to get freaked out by a gain and fall off the progress wagon.

Anyway, I’m so excited to be going home tomorrow, WHOO! I just hope I don’t fail my Politics exam, though this seems like it would be pretty difficult to do considering that we’re allowed to use our notes during the exam. But … I feel like this is a trap.

No Weigh, Jose

HEY! I wrote a review of the film (Untitled) over at my school newspaper. You should go read it, even though you will probably never see this film.

Click heeeeeeeeeeeeere.

Anyway, I was very tempted to weigh myself this morning. I was getting changed into my Yoga clothes and thought, “Well, I’m already almost naked, I may as well step on the scale,” (because this is how my mind works) but decided against it. I’ve been on plan and, thus, really doing the best I can, so why weigh myself right now? If I were out of control, I’d think it necessary to weigh in-in order to shock myself back into a state of behaving well. But, I’m not eating poorly (at the moment, at least), so why stress myself out with a number when I have so many other lovely things to stress about right now?

Liiiiiike …

1) My video project due Dec. 1!

2) My final paper on women in Greece and Rome that is also due Dec. 1!

3) My 15 – 20 page paper on my summer internship due Dec. 7!

4) My final article for my Journalism class that is due Dec. 7!

5) My paper on Journalistic ethics that is due Dec. 7!

6) My Political final on Dec. 8!

AWESOME! Also, you may be saying, “Girl, all those things are mad far away! Why be you worried?” Well, next week is Thanksgiving, and while I can work while I’m home, I won’t really have the time or the resources to. So, that’s four/five days out of my schedule. Also, I have to read entire books to get some of these papers done. Oh, and I am reliant on other people for some papers: To write my final article, I can’t start until I’ve interviewed members of the Brandeis religious community, and who knows who long it’ll take for them to get back to my requests.

/dies on inside

I will be so glad when this semester is done, though I’m not sure if I’m more excited about having time off from schoolwork or access to a kitchen for a six weeks.

Anyway, I’m enjoying not weighing myself (kind of—one part would just like to know the number so I stop analyzing how doughy I look), and I’m thinking of establishing a “get out of weigh-in” system; that is, if I stay on plan (or don’t binge, at least), I don’t have to weigh myself again until I start my “post-holiday diet” after Christmas.

How are you handling weigh-ins this holiday season? Do you find you’re more likely to stay on track if the number on the scale is front and center?

Weigh-In Day: Week of November 3

/Cue ‘Jaws’ music.




Last Week’s Weight: 129.6

This Week’s Weight: 132.7

Loss/Gain: 3.1 pounds

Average Daily Caloric Intake: No clue!

11/3: Yoga
11/4: 6.5 mile run
11/5: 30 minute elliptical session/40 minute treadmill session (approx. 6.25 miles)
11/6: 6.5 mile run
11/7: 30 minute weight lifting session
11/8: 1 hour weigh lifting session
11/9: 6.5 mile walk/run

Bleeeeeeeeeergh. Well … 3.1 pounds isn’t terrible, but it isn’t great by any means. I’m hoping some of this is just water weight, but it probably isn’t. I’m a little disappointed; I was hoping I’d be around 131 to 132, and then if I only lost a pound a week I’d still be in pretty decent shape by the time Thanksgiving rolled around. I’m going to count calories in between now and then, but I’m also not going to starve myself trying to get into my 120s. At this point, I’m just concerned with keeping my weight at a reasonable level throughout the holidays.

OK, that’s a lie: I’m going to be really disappointed if I’m not in my 120s by the day I go home for Thanksgiving. We’ll see!

But, now it is time for Yoga. I’m in the middle of another tiredness spell, though (I slept 10 hours the other night! WTH?), and I really just want to go to bed. There will probably be a hiatus coming up soon, too; I’m eying my syllabi (hur hur, rhyming), and I have four final papers due in three weeks, and they range in length from 6 pages to 20, so I’ll need to get cracking on those ASAP, particularly since I also have a video project due and a final exam in Politics around that same time. Be glad you are not a college student, unless you are a college student, in which case it sucks to be us, amiright?

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for … Yogurt?

Happy Halloween! Personally, I’ll be dressing up as “college student stuck working in the media lab all day” for the holiday. How about you?

Man, I wanted nothing more than to sleep in today (I have been exhausted the last few days, and so has everyone else, it seems; a lot of people I’ve talked to report being mad tired), but I just could not stay asleep; I woke up at 5 a.m., then again at 6 and finally relented and got up when I woke up 7. Ah, well. We only have one functioning washing machine in the dorm right now, so my early-riserness actually worked out well as it allowed me to get some laundry done while everyone else was still asleep/not using the washing machine for once.

Have you ever tried peddling backwards on an elliptical? I gave it a go for the first time yesterday (it’s a Cardio Week, and I decided to swap out my “Free Runs” for “Free Choice” cardio sessions; I missed including different equipment/tapes in my regular workout cycle) when I spent a workout switching off between the treadmill and the elliptical, and it was RIDICULOUSLY hard. Originally, I planned to do 10 minutes forward-peddling followed by 5 minutes of backwards-peddling, but I could only go backwards for a minute! It’s nice to feel challenged, though, and now I have a new excercise with which I can measure fitness improvement. Woot. Today, though, I am definitely going for a walk: I don’t think my thighs could tolerate anything else.

I’m down seven-tenths of a pound today! Come on, body! Two more pounds and we’re back in the sweet spot.

In other news, Allison over at Balance in Bites is giving away Greek Yogurt! Mmm, greek yogurt … So high protein, so tasty. Also, so expensive, so it’s certainly worth your while to enter this contest and potentially score some for free. To enter, just head on over to this post and leave a comment telling Allison your favorite way to eat yogurt.

Brandeis Lecturers: Hank Klibanoff

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a journalism related thang up in here, so I decided to put up a piece I wrote for class on a lecturer that came to Brandeis. Hank Klibanoff—who came to Brandeis on Oct. 8th—is the author of The Race Beat, a book that won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for History. The book primarily concerns the evolution of the press’ coverage of race-related news, and Klibanoff’s lecture had a similiar focus.

I’ve been trying to attend events like these as frequently as possible this year; I’ve come to realize that not everyone has the opportunities I do to hear such influential people speak, and also that after I graduate I’ll rarely have the opportunity to attend academic events like this. Anyway, here’s the article. I’m not so keen on the introduction, but I wanted a soft lead rather than a generic hard one.*

*A “soft lead” is generally an introduction to an article that takes a narrative or anecdotal approach, whereas a “hard lead” is composed of basic information like who, where, when and what; you’ll see it used in the vast majority of serious news pieces (i.e., those concerning tragedy)/breaking news.

The racially diverse group of students, community members and faculty packed into the seats and aisles of Pollack Auditorium last Thursday would not have been allowed to mingle during the era talked about by the evening’s lecturer, Hank Klibanoff; rather, the crowd’s attempt to convene would have led to heckling at the very least and possibly even an unfortunate part in one of the cold cases mentioned by Klibanoff during his talk.

Over the course of the evening, Klibanoff—author of The Race Beat, which won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for History—discussed the unsolved murders of racial minorities during World War II and the 1960s, as it is these cases that have become the focus of Klibanoff’s new documentary: The Cold Case: The Truth and Justice Project.

The goal of project, said Klibanoff, is “not to win fresh prosecutions. … Our [the reporters’] goal is to get right with history, to fill in all the gaps,” and to bring to light those killers who escaped prosecution and the “judgment of history.”

These untried criminals number more than many would like to think; during the civil rights era, the federal presence in the South gathered evidence against many murderers and generated reports that were in turn given to local authorities for the purpose of prosecuting the aforementioned offenders. However, once this evidence was turned over, the authorities would claim that the evidence provided was insufficient. Essentially, people were rarely prosecuted for the death of an African-American.

“It is hard to overstate how dangerous a time it was for blacks,” said Klibanoff.

One such victim of the age was Wharlest Jackson, an African-American man killed for having received a promotion over two white men in 1967. The case remains unsolved, and in the four minute Cold Case clip shown by Klibanoff at the conclusion of his lecture, the need for resolution is made clear when Jackson’s son asks his interviewer, “Wouldn’t you want to know who killed your father?”

Klibanoff prefaced his introduction of the film with a brief history of significant moments in the civil rights movement and the coverage they received from the press. However, the “race beat,” said Klibanoff, began “far outside the outside the south, and nowhere near a newsroom;” an initial examination of race was launched by a board of white men employed at the Carnegie Corporation in New York who were intrigued by the way in which America was “beating back the devil of the Depression” but still struggling with the “Negro Problem.”

The group launched a “full scale, full tilt study of race” in the South, which was led by Swedish politician Gunnar Myrdal. And, it was Myrdal’s 1944 book on the subject, An American Dilemma, that later provided the inspiration for Klibanoff’s own investigation. On page 48 of his work, Myrdal states “to get publicity is of the highest strategic importance to the Negro people,” and it is this line that sparked Klibanoff’s own study.

It wasn’t until Rosa Parks refused to get off of a bus that the race beat began to even vaguely resemble the news coverage that many people associate with the civil rights movement. And while the press flocked to see Autherine Lucy ascend the steps of the University of Alabama, Martin Luther King, Jr., struggled to receive coverage by the press.

However, while it took some time for the press to widen its scope of the race beat, it did eventually cover those issues that would “shock and shake” the necessary figures. For instance, said Klibanoff, after Attorney General Robert Kennedy encountered a story detailing transgressions against African-Americans by a Southern sheriff, Kennedy ensured that the man was faced with charges of suppression and intimidation.

The story certainly reinforced the idea presented by Professor Maura Jane Farrelly (JOUR) at the beginning of the lecture, that journalism can play a key role in democracy and forces us to reconcile ideals with realities.”

Use your stove; there are kitchen-less kids in college.

For the most part, Brandeis is a pretty rad place. But, whenever I look at other food blogs and see the authors’ delightful kitchen-made culinary masterpieces, I turn on my school like a small child denied candy.

“Everyone else has a kitchen! I WANT ONE!”

“No, you’ll burn down the whole goddamned building!”

And then I throw myself down on the ground and cry and cry and cry, because I want a kitchen in my dorm.

Wait, let me rephrase that; I have a kitchen, it’s just a really shitty one composed of a hot plate perched on a windowsill and a toaster. You see, at home, I’m actually a pretty big regular practitioner of the culinary arts. I love making healthy meals like stir fry, so when I initially started college it was a bit of a culture shock to not have a kitchen; indeed, probably half the reason I gained weight was just because I was so stressed out by the inability to make my own food/I didn’t know how to find nutritious meals at the dining halls. I’ve adjusted by now, but my meals are pretty boring and, occasionally, unsatisfactory as a result of not having a place to cook. So, when you get tired of hearing about my having had hotdogs for dinner the fifth night in a row, don’t blame me; blame Brandeis.

Granted, the school does have some redeeming qualities; tomorrow, I get to start my day with a Yoga class courtesy of the school’s Physical Education department. And, recently, the school began releasing the nutritional information for certain foods prepared in the dining halls. The school also provides students with a nutritionist, who I plan on going to see within the next two weeks about transitioning to intuitive eating. Still, the school could stand to take some more strides in the nutrition department.

Ugh, I need to get to the Justice office; for the paper’s editorial staff, today is our weekly “production day,” i.e., the day we put together the the latest issue. For some editors, this means being at the office from noon to 4 a.m. As the Arts Editor, though, I’ll hopefully be done by midnight. Fingers crossed!

Ye Olde Second Post: Or, the Aftermath of an Interview

So, as I’m sure you could tell from the introductory post, this blog is going to be somewhat about my issues with food. However, on those days when it’s not about my diet, it’s going to be about either a) my love of writing or b) my life as a college senior. Or, it’s going to be about a multitude of other things, like the succesful parts of my weight loss plan or my excercise regimen or ice cream, because ice cream is delicious. Today, however, this blog is going be about the first item on that list.

I’ve always considered myself to be a bit of a Jane of All Trades, and perhaps pride myself on this, too; over the years, I’ve dabbled in more extra curricular activities (violin, tap, Irish step, guitar, horse back riding …), languages (Indonesian, German, Italian, Spanish, French …) and clubs than I care to think about. Of course, the flip side of that personality trait is that while I may know a little about everything, I don’t know much about anything. But, my flaws aside, it’s this desire to know a little somethin’ somethin’ about 90% of our existence that initially drew me to journalism.

When I first joined the Justice—the independent student newspaper of Brandeis U., that place I live/work/take classes at—I viewed it as just as an outlet that might help polish my writing skills during the pursuit of a Creative Writing major. However, as I took assignments, I came to realize how much I loved exploring different areas of study and being able to switch topics of study on a regular basis. One day, I would attend a lecture on German-Jewish dialogue, and the next I would be reviewing films. Granted, in the real world of journalism I’m sure one’s writing career isn’t that diverse at first, but the underlying concept of there being diverse assignments persists.

As an editor for the Justice, I don’t have much time for writing, so I’d forgotten a bit about that particular aspect of my love for journalism. But, after my interview with Elizabeth B., I was reminded of this initial attraction to the field. B., a convert to Islam and the subject of choice for my next beat story,* gave me an incredibly interesting perspective on the life and challenges faced by Muslims when I was expecting only a rundown on the life of Islam’s Brandeisian practitioners. She told me not only about her conversion experience, but also of the general misconceptions other students bring to her regarding Islam and the political charge that exists at Brandeis between various religious groups. The interview lasted 30 minutes, which isn’t particularly long in the grand journalistic scheme of things, but it was a very educational 30 minutes.

In other news: Glee and So You Think You Can Dance are on tonight, whoot! Be social? Pah! There’s television to be seen!

*I should note that I’m currently enrolled in a journalism course called “The Contemporary World in Print,” which requires us to follow an on campus “beat” and write regular articles about said beat. My beat? The chaplaincy. How many times can I use beat in this footnote? Beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat. Beat THAT.