A natural lazy river on Guilligan’s Island, Puerto Rico

It was one of those drives. You know–the two hours drives that magically turn into four hour drives after your GPS reroutes you through the smallest towns and biggest mountains.

After getting lost in the mountains in the heart of Puerto Rico, finally arriving to Guilligan’s island was such a relief. Although we were only able to go there for 3 short hours (the last ferry back to the mainland is at 5), my friend Isabel and I were able to enjoy these mangroves. I did a bit of snorkeling through the mangroves, which was slightly difficult on the way upstream, definitely more relaxing on the way back. It is definitely a must-see in Puerto Rico if you are near Guánica.

We went to Guánica one other time during my two weeks in Puerto Rico to go scuba diving off the wall, but it’s safe to say we took the correct way there, cutting the drive almost in half.

Sometimes you have to trust a map over a GPS.

Real World: Mars Edition

Recently for a class that I have we had to develop a transmedia campaign. Now you’re probably thinking, what the sam hell is a transmedia campaign? Essentially it is a story that is designed to involve the viewer/participant whatever you want to call yourself. You become a part of the story as an active participant. Sometimes these campaigns can be to raise money for a charity, such as this or more often than not, simply raise awareness of a pre-existing story such as the Why So Serious? campaign for The Dark Knight.

Watch the video:
Why So Serious? A Marketing Transmedia Campaign… di Transmedialab

Some stories are too big, even for the big screen. But, Wikipedia might explain it to you better.

Sounds crazy, right? But as Oscar Levant said, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity.” Now it might not seem so insane to create an alternate reality game for Batman obsessed men to have an excuse to wear joker makeup and escape their mundane lives for a second. But, what about raising money to go to Mars? This article talks all about Mars One‘s new lottery mission to Mars. Well, it’s not really a lottery. More like American Idol meets The Real World meets Another Earth. Only no one comes back.

Artist drawing of Mars One

Many things run through your mind as you learn more and more about this crazy idea. Who would want to apply? There’s a great line from Another Earth where she explains her reasoning for why she should be chosen to go on the crazy space mission to another earth. The movie is obviously a little different than this mission, because she does come back to Earth at the end of the movie… but it’s a good start for thinking about the type of people who would go on this mission (it’s also one of my favorite movies). This is the quote from her entry video which wins her a ticket to the other Earth:

“When early explorers first set out West across the Atlantic, most people thought the world was flat. Most people thought if you sailed far enough West, you would drop off a plane into nothing. Those vessels sailing out into the unknown, they weren’t carrying noblemen or aristocrats, artists or merchants. They were crewed by people living on the edge of life: the madmen, orphans, ex-convicts, outcasts like myself. As a felon, I’m an unlikely candidate for most things. But perhaps not for this. Perhaps I am the most likely.”

People made jokes on the comments to the article such as “can’t wait to see who hooks up first!” Because how successful can a trip to Mars be when the astronauts are picked based on popular vote, and not just popular vote of anyone. Popular vote of the reality tv watching audience… I don’t know many real scientists or people who would probably have the authority to make these sort of decisions in other circumstances that watch reality television. Also what rational person is going to think this is real? It’s going to take a lot of convincing to convince people that this is not just a money-scam. I still wouldn’t be surprised if this is all some sort of April Fool’s joke a few days late.

The Conspiracy For Good was an example that sometimes a little fantasy and storytelling can actually do what it says it’s going to do. They actually did build a library after the whole “conspiracy” was over. But building a library and sending real humans to Mars for the rest of their lives are quite far apart on the spectrum of believability and do-able-ness. After all, I did develop an entire zombie story game as a hypothetical transmedia campaign to raise money for organ printing technology, and if I was serious about it, who says Mars One isn’t either? I suppose only time will tell. And if not, I’m sure the application videos will provide for some serious entertainment and food for the ever growing internet meme culture. I can already imagine all the feels I’m going to have if this really does become a television show though. But there are only so many things you can do in a bubble. They also have yet to completely solve the sleeping issue. I can’t live without a good night’s sleep, so definitely not the life for me! Would you go?

Mind your manners

I suppose I assumed that riding a bus would be like riding a bike: a universal skill that once you learned you never forgot how to do it that was the same in every country. But really that would just be too easy now, wouldn’t it?

Recently I went on a bus tour from England to Germany with my friend, Lizzie, and her mom and step-dad. Sounds like a tip-top cheery little tour, no? No. The charter bus picked us up from a stop in Isleham, the quaint town where we were staying, and started transporting us to a main hub where we would all get off and wait around until we switched buses to the ones that would be taking us on our respective tours around Europe.

Things started getting fishy when my identity as a brunette was making me increasingly among the minority. In fact not a single person who boarded our bus had brown hair…or red, or blonde, or black for that matter. Every single person who got on the bus that wasn’t from our group was rocking some ‘shade of gray’. I mean that in the most literal sense possible: these people were OLD. There was a couple on this bus celebrating their SIXTIETH wedding anniversary. Props to them, but it’s safe to say that this party bus was going to be far, far from bumpin’.

You might think that this shouldn’t hamper my ability to ride a bus, but let me tell you, there is a whole different dynamic from riding a school bus with a bunch of people your own age to riding a bus with a bunch of ye olde English folk.

After we started our 10-hour bus ride to Germany, Lizzie and I took over several seats in the back and spread out to go to sleep. According to the woman behind us’s reaction you would have thought we literally set up some sort of evil fountain of youth that spewed Nicki Minaj lyrics and burned pictures of the Queen simultaneously.

In reality the only sins we were committing were that we lay down in public and wore shorts instead of skirts. All three attained as the highest form of sinning in this former proper school headmistress’s eyes. I wish I could say that was an exaggeration or a joke, but this woman actually was a former molder of girls into ladies.

After she very obviously name dropped that she had been a master of manners to someone else on the bus, we seized this opportunity to provide a little bit of entertainment for ourselves. Because if someone is going to stereotype us as the lazy improper American girls, we might as well have a bit of fun with it.

Lizzie let out a very loud belch.

I can’t even describe the look on this woman’s face.

Now I don’t advise others to handle a situation such as this in a similar manner. I think the proper way to handle this situation would have been to prove her wrong, but where is the fun in that? We had to find some way to entertain ourselves on that nursing home field trip we accidentally got ourselves into.

Mannerisms aren’t really something we college students think about, I mean after all college students are all about feminist power, and by golly if men don’t have to go to proper school then neither do women! But here across the pond, mannerism is as alive as the monarchy. By that I mean, it exists and everyone respects it, but it doesn’t really have a say in how things get done.

So I’ll let you in on a little bit of advice from my grandma: when having tea with the Queen, make sure your spoon doesn’t clink against your cup.

You should probably refrain from belching, too.

Our bus.

Our bus.

The "proper" way to sleep on the bus.

The “proper” way to sleep on the bus.

Us on the bus.

Us on the bus.

Lizzie being obnoxious on the bus.

Lizzie being obnoxious on the bus.

An example of me sleeping pretty on this trip.

An example of me sleeping pretty on this trip.

Can I get my food to go…all the way across the world?

Thinking of traveling to Italy to get sample some local pasta dishes? Or for those of you who are scared to travel abroad, what about just traveling to Chicago to get some good deep dish pizza?

People are willing to go the distance to get their grub of choice. Obviously, because food is amazing. However, sometimes we can’t afford the time or money to go all the way to Chicago to get a cake from Portillo’s or T-ravs from St. Louis. We especially don’t have the resources to go all the way across the world to a different country to get a slice of cheese. Most of us will die without ever trying buffalo mozzarella, and to be honest I had never even heard of it before yesterday. For some strange reason I still found myself spending 10 minutes reading a whole article about this rare cheese and how a man is trying to bring this Italian local delicacy over to the big US of A.

I don’t know what drew me in more, the fact that I have personal interest vested in caprese salad or the fact that this man milks buffalos for a living. I grew up right by Grant’s Farm, so buffalo are a common sight for me. Milking them however? Seems about as weird as milking a dog in my eyes.

Would you want to milk this guy?

Although with globalization being the reoccurring theme in the world today, this was bound to happen. I for one am all for trying some buffalo mozzarella… however some people stipulate that local foods are best kept local. There’s a whole movement called Slow Food that started in Italy, actually, to help keep food local and unique. After all the saying doesn’t say “Whenever you feel like it, do as the Romans do,” so maybe we should keep local foods local. Looks like I’m going to need that ticket to Italy after all…