Supergirl is Super Fun

Female superheroes are only now starting to dominate the small screen.

This geek has been impatiently waiting six months for the premiere of CBS’s “Supergirl.” The reboot means a lot, not only to CBS, but also to comic fans everywhere.

Can this version of “Supergirl” be something that lasts for more than two episodes? I hope so.

My own journey with “Supergirl” started a time long ago…

Helen Slater played Kora Zor-El, the cousin of Clark Kent/Superman in the 1984 film. Slater’s turn in the cape inspired me to come out of the shadows and learn how to use my gifts.

The beginning of the movie reveals Kara as a woman who is unique, but afraid to embrace herself fully. Her cousin is known across the world; however, she does not believe the world wants another alien in the “saving people and stopping evil” business. She steps into herself only when she has no other choice. (This is a thread found with most female superheroes.) Kara begins to believe in her gifts and decides to be an active part of humanity.

If you were to watch it now, you might laugh at the cheesiness of the plot—Christopher Nolan wasn’t making films then—but you may find yourself enjoying the ’80s attempt to bring more female superheroes into our lives.

Thirty-one years later, I found myself rushing home today to watch the pilot of “Supergirl.” Going in, I knew there would be a campy vibe to the show (the previews set that up), but I wasn’t sure of how they would portray Kara’s transformation into the “other” Super.

The creators did not disappoint. Immediately, they introduce Kara to her new family on earth, the Danvers. Playing her new mother and father were Helen Slater (Supergirl 1984) and Dean Cain (Superman from “Lois & Clark”). I loved the nod to the old vanguard—something “The Flash” also has done.

This TV version of Kara also struggled with being the lesser Super; she thought she should just blend in. But life, as it always does, throws a wrench in her understanding of what participating in life actually looks like. Kara only steps back into her identity when she sees her sister’s plane circling National City, about to crash. Initially, her sister Alex tells Kara to not be like her cousin. (I won’t go in depth here, or I will spoil things for you.)

Kara does not try to keep her identity a secret from her friends, which allows the writers to jump straight into stories, instead of dealing with a subplot that always drags the story down. The creators have tweaked the mythos of Kara enough to keep fans of the comics entertained and a new audience hooked. The casting is fantastic (so far) and the overall setting for the show is colorful and recognizable. There were several lovely twists in the premiere, and even though I would love to give you a more in depth recap/opinion, I can’t because I haven’t figured out how to not spoil the joyful goodness that is “Supergirl.”

CBS has done something impressive with a thirty-minute show. Fans of “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Marvel’s Agents of Shield,” “Agent Carter,” “Smallville,” and “Lois & Clark” will enjoy this take on the “other” Super. If you are looking for a show that will leave you feeling unashamed for spending thirty minutes geeking out, this is your show. If you are looking to end your Mondays on a good note, please check out “Supergirl.”

Residence Hall Recipes

Let’s face it: cooking in residence halls is almost impossible. And for me, cooking in general is pretty impossible. So when faced with the task of feeding myself in college, the prospects were pretty bleak.

And I’m a student who doesn’t even like to cook. I feel bad for students who love to cook, but don’t have a place to do so successfully. Because let’s be honest, the community fridge is sort of a free for all (although I admit to nothing).

Also, where are you supposed to store cooking utensils? Storage space is limited as it is. Perhaps you could leave your cooking supplies in the floor’s kitchen, but there are definite trust issues there. I wouldn’t necessarily want my pot to become the community pot; that would be plain unsanitary. I’m assuming. Or maybe I’m just selfish with my saucepans.

With all of this in mind, I have scoured the internet, researched for hours and hours, just in order to bring to you the best recipes that would be easy to make in a dorm room, recipes I will be sharing and detailing my own possibly-disastrous experiences with. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

So, first on the list (drum roll please…): Top Ramen!

No, but actually. This recipe is what I will call ‘upscale’ ramen— special ramen made all within the comforts of your own residence hall. This recipe is ridiculously easy, not even I could mess it up this time around.

Needed ingredients:
Ramen (duh)
One egg (or two if you like eggs)
Spice of your choice (I chose a nice Creole seasoning, on sale at the local Fred Meyer)

The first problem I encountered while making this meal was what to cook it in. At first I thought I was going to resort to the microwave, but luckily there was a clean pot in the kitchen unattended on the stove (see, this is why I would have trust issues).

Once you have a pot, it should be relatively smooth sailing.

Step one: boil water. How much water you may ask? Good question. I just eyeballed it, the package says two cups but nobody left any measuring cups in the kitchen for me to use.

Step two: put the block of ramen into the pot. Or crush it up first, whatever works best for your ramen needs.

Step three: beat your egg in a cup, and then remove ramen from stove top when done. Then, (this is the really fun part) pour the egg slowly into the ramen as you stir. This was my first time making ramen with egg in it, and watching the egg cook itself just about blew my mind.

Step four: pour ramen into a bowl, then add spice to taste (I recommend Creole but that’s just me).

Step five: enjoy!

If I’m going to be honest here, I was not expecting this recipe to go well. I thought it was going to be kind of disgusting, but I was ready to try residence hall cooking and see how it worked out. Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the end result. It was a solid 7.8/10, would make again, if only to use more of the large container of Creole seasoning I bought.

The final product. Look at that steaming bowl of mediocrity.

The final product. Look at that steaming bowl of mediocrity.

Needed ingredients: egg, ramen, and seasoning. Simple as that.

Needed ingredients: egg, ramen, and seasoning. Simple as that.

Communication Credits: To Comm or Not to Comm

You sit at your desk, notes in clammy hands, breaths shaky. The professor calls your name. This is it. You slide out from your desk and meekly make your way to the front of the class—to the podium. You stare out into a room full of faces staring blankly back. You then stare down at your notes and wonder why none of them make any sense. But this is a communications class. You have to start talking at some point.

If this ranks up among Falling Into Shark-Infested Waters and Being Chased by Flying Monkeys as one of your worst nightmares, then you might be interested in the following fun fact: Acting I can act as an alternative course to Introduction to Communication in fulfilling your communication requirement.

Wait, you might say. Acting is pretty scary, too!

Before you have flashbacks of your stage fright in the third-grade school play, let’s talk about Acting I.

Acting I—THEA 100—is purely the basics of acting. It’s not Shakespeare. It is just the fundamentals, the building blocks. No one is expected to be able to stand up and recite a soliloquy on the first day of class—in fact, you might not even pick up a script for the first month or so. You will be focusing instead on movement, on how to respond to others, on how to draw from your own life experiences in order to make the most out of your characters and scenes. Expect some stretches; expect some running around the theatre (maybe even a game of tag).

An “A” in Acting I isn’t based on whether your final scene performance could win you an Oscar. It’s not based on whether you end up changing your major to theatre. It’s based on your willingness to explore the world around you and the world inside you: skills that you can pack up and carry with you as you move through Fox and into the “real” world, no matter what career path you end up on.

So if you’re still waiting on that Comm credit, consider taking the stage instead of the podium. It might not be as scary as you think.

Just 3 Ways to Show You’re Just Friends

Getting your M.R.S. degree. Ring by spring.

As members of a small Christian college, we’ve heard it all. And sure, we might make fun of the fact that 150 of our Facebook friends got engaged over Christmas break, but let’s face it: consciously or unconsciously, many of us are more affected by the ring/spring thing than we’d care to admit.

So when it comes to friendships with the opposite sex—like actual “just friends” friendships—things have the potential to get a little complicated when other friends are watching, especially when those friends may be well on their way to getting M.R.S. degrees of their own.

Not that you care at all what people think of you—of course not—but in case the haters are getting you down, here are some foolproof ways to ensure your platonic friendship will be viewed in just that way.

 

  1. Personal Space –Lots of It

When you are walking with a friend of the opposite sex, always make sure there is at least three feet of personal space separating the two of you. Any closer, and people might start to talk: Who’s that you were walking with? You guys sure seemed friendly! I mean, you were both smiling! Ideally, at least one of you should make sure that your arms are folded or holding onto your backpack straps—just so there is NO chance someone across the quad could think you’re holding hands.

 

  1. No Texting

Better play it safe: don’t text any of your so-called “platonic” friends. Because if your roommate looks over and sees your phone screen light up with a message that’s any longer than an “OK”…you’ll have some explaining to do. (This rule also applies to Snapchat, Facebook messaging, etc.)

 

  1. Study Groups: Dos and Don’ts

When studying with a friend of the opposite sex, always ensure that you are studying in a group of at least three people, and at a big table. Otherwise, there’s the potential of appearing like you’re on an awkward library date. And that is an impression no one wants to give.

Hopefully, with study and application, these three tips can serve as the kick-off for a semester free of roommate interrogations and teasing!

The Great Collegiate Juggling Act

If you’re like me, your mind constantly races off in a million directions.

As you sit in Physics of Everyday Life, you worry about your Bible Survey homework. As you sit in Bible Survey, you open an email from your Lifelong Fitness professor about your nutrition logs. As you sit in your room working on your nutrition logs, you can’t help wondering if you’ll have enough time to finish your physics lab write-up.

This is college: also known as multitasking.

The great juggling act in which we all find ourselves participating can be fun. At a liberal arts institution, we have the incredible opportunity to take multiple classes in vastly different disciplines. We can balance out lab or lecture-heavy schedules with ceramics or yoga or U.S. history. Extra-curricular activities beckon to us from brightly-colored posters hung up around campus. The chances to learn, to be involved, to “be known,” are many.

But even though we may feel involved or “known,” how much are we actually learning?

When you start to think of class time as a valuable opportunity in which to check up or catch up on work for other classes—and when you will do the same thing when you get to those classes—something seems a little off.

In attempting to juggle classes, homework, assignments, maybe a club or work-study job, we are losing the chance to focus. When you’re sending ten different objects looping through the air above your head, it is impossible to watch one of them intently without the others falling down.

This is perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of the liberal arts experience: the fact that we can only spend x amount of time working on something that truly interests and excites us before everything else comes crashing down in a wave of impending deadlines and projects.

But what can we do? When multitasking is such a fundamental piece of the college experience, can that piece be altered without upsetting the whole?

Maybe change can start with us. Maybe instead of standing out on the quad with signs reading “NO MORE BUSYWORK OR BUST,” we can close our laptops in class and try to quiet the voice that tells us to check our email or work on other assignments. We can ask questions, scribble down notes, and rest in the knowledge that we are not superhuman. We will make mistakes; we will let some things slide; we will forget about that one FoxTale quiz.

But at the end of the day, as we pack up our backpacks and head out of a lecture or a lab or a club meeting, we will hopefully have learned.

Productivity: A New Definition

“I have done nothing productive today.”

Has someone ever told you this with a sigh (or maybe a laugh)? Have you ever said it?

Maybe it was a weekend, a sunny Saturday or a rainy Sunday when finishing up that essay kept getting shoved further and further down your list of things you wanted to do until it occupied the last possible spot.

You then spent your day ticking off some of the items that had crawled their way to the top: Netflix, a nap, a trip down to the river with some friends. A few Facebook visits and long talks with your roommate later, you might look back over the day’s events and activities only to arrive at our opening statement: “I have done nothing productive today.”

Call me optimistic, but I see the potential for productivity in just about every event and activity. It may be a different kind of productivity than we’re used to thinking about, but I believe it’s productivity just the same.

That trip to the river? That talk with your roommate? There are few things in life are more fruitful than friendship or the chance to laugh.

What about that trip to your Facebook feed? With the wide variety of articles and blogs shared, chances are you might have learned something besides who just got engaged.

That Netflix you spent some quality time with? You’re taking in plot and character, empathizing and sympathizing with people you feel you know. And even if you’re not thinking too deeply about any of these elements—or if you end up transitioning from watching to sleeping—you’re still giving your mind a rest, something that some pretty smart people seem to think is vitally important.

So the next time you feel that “confession” about to slip from your lips, think about holding it back—because there’s a good chance it might not be true.

Distinctly American, Distinctly Wonderful

I knew from my extensive experience with BBC dramas that people in England wear suits and fancy dresses, drive either carriages or blue police boxes that travel through time, and have a lot of servants who are sometimes accused of murdering their ex-wives.

When all of these “facts” had been successfully disproved upon my actual arrival in England, I found myself constantly comparing my surroundings to those back home. And when I found myself once again surrounded by evergreen trees and rather pretentious coffee shops, I realized some things I really love about America—and some things I really don’t.

A few good things about America first.

  1. Being able to eat and drink in the library.

The libraries at Oxford house some pretty incredible books. One time I got to hold—in my hands—an 1850 edition of poems by the Brontë sisters. Someone in 1850 had held that book, too. So I completely understand their libraries’ very strict no eating/drinking rule. It would be quite the bummer to spill your coffee all over those mustily beautiful nineteenth-century pages.

But . . . hangry strikes sometimes. And it strikes hard. And the hunger didn’t motivate me to finish my work more quickly so I could take a study break and munch on my sandwich in front of all the tourists at the library entrance. It just made me sad. It’s also been scientifically proven that having a cup of coffee sitting next to you while you write increases your productivity by 3000%.

  1. Becoming best friends with a stranger.

I’d been back in the States for a couple weeks. My mom and I were at the gas station. A woman at the next pump over remarked, “Aren’t these gas prices incredible?” (They’d reached $1.99 a gallon.)

My mom and I agreed, and soon a man at another pump was chiming in with how little money he was spending to fill up.

“Can you remember when it was 75 cents?” the woman at the next pump laughed.

And so on.

Encounters like this surprised me so much when I first came back. I may have had a few while in England, but such random conversations were much fewer and further between. The “reserved” nature of Britons may be a stereotype, but it is one that tends toward the truth.

  1. Wide open spaces.

The word that often came to my head as I traveled throughout England was “cute.” Sure, Big Ben and Salisbury Cathedral and York Minster are impressive in their vastness, but what I knew best were narrow winding streets, brick buildings squeezed together, tiny cottages and gardens. I loved their quaintness—as well as the history built into every stone and bit of pavement—but I missed mountains and fields that stretch on for miles without the interruption of a wall. When I came home in December, the drive from the airport along I-5 was so much more beautiful than I had remembered: so much sky, so many trees.

 

(Tune in next week for some cons of the U. S. of A.)

Coming Home

When the twinkling blue seas below my airplane window gave way to patchwork quilts of fields and farms; when the border control agent’s stern face slipped into a smile when I (excitedly) revealed this was my first time in the U.K.; when I walked out of customs only to find a coffee shop and realize that Britons do drink other beverages besides tea: then, I felt I never wanted to leave this country called England.

That feeling persisted throughout my first couple months as a visiting student at Oxford University. I couldn’t get enough of the narrow and winding streets, the Hogwarts-esque libraries, the dreaming spires of churches and chapels. The thought of returning home haunted me. Who wants to think about Oregon rain when you have Oxford rain?

I was too busy—with academics, cycling to and from the city, and constant amazement at my surroundings—to ever truly be homesick. When the end of term finally arrived, I bid emotional and exhausted farewells to my housemates, unable to grasp the fact that we were done. We couldn’t be done—not yet. I’d only just arrived!

I had believed my return to George Fox would be blanketed by clouds of melancholy and longing. Why is the library so small? I imagined musing, with perhaps a single tear rolling its way down my cheek. Why is no one wearing tweed?

Clouds actually did blanket the sky that first Monday of the spring semester—but they consisted of moisture in the air, not of my roiling emotions. I walked across the quad, my eyes drinking in sights and faces both strange and utterly familiar. No pangs of longing pierced me. No sighs escaped me. Instead, I walked, and watched, and gave the occasional hug and 30-second spiel about my “trip.”

I was back, and I was happy.

Happy? No! shouted a voice from the back of my mind. You can’t be happy! Where are those dreaming spires? Where are the accents? Where is the intellectual stimulation? This is not where you belong!

I ended up sharing this voice’s remarks with a friend from Oxford over Skype.

“It’s weird,” I told her, “but I’m actually feeling pretty content about being back. I feel a little guilty about how content I am.”

“Don’t say that!” came her quick reply. “You shouldn’t ever feel guilty about being content!”

That conversation has stuck with me as I’ve pondered and processed this past year. Sure, I miss Oxford. But I have also come to realize that there exists a beauty in transition—of turning the final page of a story well told. Oxford was a story that was told beautifully. Now, it’s time for the next chapter.

Don’t be ashamed of going home. Don’t be ashamed of being happy there.

Why my date of birth is the worst!

It is coming!

Somehow it has crept up on me like Ellen DeGeneres in the bathroom of her celebrity guests to scare them.

My stomach churns with loathing as it approaches.

I would avoid it if I could, but Hallmark and couples won’t let me. Now, you might think I am talking about Valentine’s Day and you are somewhat right.

However, it is not the reason you would think..

February 14 is my birthday, every darn year, and it sucks!

There will be no Captain Picard or Minion gifted to me–no matter how much I want to put both into my pocket to remind me of all the fantastic things this world has to offer.

Those who have other holiday birthdays have nothing to truly complain about because, with other holidays, there is no pressure to be in a relationship. There are no looks of pity as someone hears you are single and proud of it. There are no, “But dear, you are getting older and your have four cats” comments—and I do have four cats and there is nothing wrong with it.

Seriously though, I wish my mom would have forced me out ten minutes later. I burst into this world at 11:53 p.m.

My dad was shouting, “Hold the baby in, a boy can’t be born on Valentine’s Day!” (They did not know they were having, surprise, a girl.)

As a young precocious child, I didn’t know my birthday was on the worst day of the year.

Really, pink and red clash. Hearts are fabricated. Flowers are sacrificed. “Love Me or Love Me Not” candy is made the year before and sold for more than what I make in a year. Romantic movies are forced down our throats setting up unrealistic relationships—hello “50 Shades of Grey.” And lest we forget, the Valentine’s cards that are read once and then recyled! Or the birthday cards that are for those unfortunate souls who were born on Valentine’s Day.

When I started junior high, I realized some people did not want to be my Valentine. There were people who did not want to celebrate my big day. However, my mom would send me a giant balloon basket with a teddy bear inside to school. My principle would call me to the office over the paging system. “Heather Horney, please come to the office right now. Ms. Horney please come to the office.” My last name is HARNEY and yet, every year I would hear HORNEY. I never asked my bumbling principal if he did this to be ironic or he just loved humiliating me but are you starting to see why I hate my birthday?

Even with my first love, I bought more things for him than he did for me on Valentines. All I received was a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. I could credit him with surprising me with a visit from my mom, but that was mom’s doing. Are we seeing a pattern here?

The forced idea of romantic love being celebrated on my birthday or the overwhelming feeling that I am less than because no one besides my family gives me a card that says they love me has blemished this day each year.

I don’t expect the following:

1) Flowers (they bring bugs and DIE).

Dead%20fLowers%202010

 

2) Expensive chocolate (I already get a free truffle each month from Godiva).

3) A birthday cake customized just for me (one year I was given a boob cake—I am not kidding).

4) A love poem from Idris Elba (but this meme makes me happy).

fb595b5ee6f2d7db283d4426c882dc14

 

5)  Have Rick Astley serenade me with “Never Gonna Give You Up” (because this would be awesome).

 

6) Have my future husband take me out to celebrate our love once a year (that should happen every day because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it people like me).

What I do expect to happen is to receive a call from my dad, mom, and sister to tell me “Happy Birthday.”

I expect Facebook to remind my friends that it would be very uncouth to not say “Happy Birthday” on my page.

I anticipate watching “My Bloody Valentine” because I love me some Jensen Ackles and action/slasher films on the day of my birth.

With only a few more days until I became another year older, another year wiser, and another year free from the shackles of “expectations,” my birthday wish is for each of you to take a moment to love each day. I hope that maybe, just maybe, if you meet someone who shares the same birthdate as I that you will give him or her a hug or treat him or her to a movie or offer him or her a chance to burn all Valentine paraphernalia in your backyard.

fire_1725995c

Escaping the January Gym Scene

January is about to roll around and a new crowd will soon take over the gym equipment. Some of them might use the machines in a way you could have never imagined.

A swarm of people will be found on the treadmills and ellipticals, partly from familiarity with the equipment and partly out of “first time at the gym ever” embarrassment. The weight room will appear more crowded than usual, with folks glowing with sweat and the hope of accomplishing their New Year’s Resolution of finally getting those muscles worth showing off.

For those who habitually visit the gym, these new faces and appearances may be overwhelming or annoying when it comes to sticking to our routine workouts. What are we to do when our indoor exercise outlet is taken over by newfound dreamers, who may or may not stick around for longer than a month?

If you have to get your daily run in, try taking to the reality of the trails, streets, or sidewalks. It might snow, rain, hail, or even simply be a really cold day with a bit of wind chill. Throwing a twist into your exercises, such as stadium workouts or a bit of a focused core workout, will get the other body parts you’ve been granting only so much attention.

If you can’t work up the warmth to face the cold and can’t stand around waiting for your favorite workout machine, go try something new in the gym. There’s no better time to try out something new than when everyone else is doing the same thing.The only difference is you might have a clue as to what you’re doing. If you have to, pick a different time of day if your usual workout time is clogged with newcomers.

According to the Telegraph, about 12% of gym memberships start in January. However, the Telegraph also said  “Fitness Industry Association said that almost 22 per cent of people who join will have thrown in the towel after 24 weeks. A further 20 per cent will disappear before December.”

If anything, lead by example and try to help out the newbies this time of year. Try a new class or check into at-home workouts that avoid the whole congested gym situation all together. Don’t let the January gym-goers get you down.