28 September 2009

Columbia got the Blues

I might have a long term case of the blues. I'm not depressed and I'm feeling very happy, actually. It is due to the large amount of blues music I was subject to this weekend of the 3rd annual Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ Festival in Columbia, Missouri. About 25 bands and artists filled the downtown streets with blues from Friday to Saturday night, while over 55 BBQ smokers taunted the town with their meaty smells. Hot Air Balloons took off into the autumn evening sky as we rocked out on the streets down below.
This year my parents came in town for the blues festivities and to visit their last daughter in college. My dad was in blues heaven (if there is such a thing). We listened to just about every style of blues possible: delta blues, chicago blues, folk blues, bluegrass blues, raggae blues, rockin blues, european blues, and the list continues. The highlight of course was seeing the headliner, Booker T. play his old hits. The whole weekend was a success. Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ were had in large quantities. If I could add one more " 'N" to the title it would be for " 'N Fun". Happy Fall everyone, and may the blues be with you.
Booker T. on the keyboard

21 September 2009

This Time Last Year: Spelunking

When I'm sitting around or in class, sometimes I reflect on things I did 'this time last year'. I thought why not share some of my past experiences with my readers since I am not currently traveling. Who knows, maybe I'll convince some people to come visit the great town that is Columbia, Missouri.

In this episode of 'this time last year', I'm reflecting on the 8 hours I spent spelunking under the Earth throughout a million year old cave. It was one of the messiest and tiring experiences of my life but also one of the most incredible. After all, how many people can say they slithered through a wormhole 50 feet under the earth, 2 miles deep into a cave? Mid-Missouri has some of the coolest cave networks in the country. It only takes a 10 minute drive to Rock Bridge State Park in Columbia to access them.

It was no walk in the park, though. First, 5 other participants and I followed our tour guide as we each carried canoes through the park and down 2 flights of wooden stairs into the Devils Ice Box. Then we clicked on our headlights and paddled our way through the muddy water deeper into the cave. After docking our canoes, we travelled on foot to see preserved cave formations that took thousands of years to create. The following is called "cave bacon"
We also saw glow-in-the-dark calcium deposits and stalactites and stalagmites as tall as Jon!
It was a neat experience and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys geology or learning about nature. However, I would not recommend it to anyone who is claustrophobic or chiroptophobic (afraid of bats). Next time you're in Missouri or any karst/limestone topography, consider exploring the other world that lives beneath your feet.

17 September 2009

Campus Supports Buying Local

Today Mizzou hosted a Farmer's Market on campus. Thousands of students strolled through the market buying locally grown fruits, veggies, and herbs. Two enthusiastic men whistled and shouted to passer-byes as they grilled hamburgers and franks made from local meat. I sampled the homemade honey ice cream from a local bee-keeper and peacock farmer. There were Amish farmers selling their baked goods and breads. It was the type of environment that embodies every reason why I love Columbia.

Witnessing the University supporting the Local Farmers Market and the concept of buying local is inspiring. It's been an endeavor of mine to eat local since my market experiences in France and especially after watching Food INC. The Columbia Farmer's Market, The Root Cellar, Clover's Natural Market, and local restaurants such as Sycamore and Bleu have taken the initiative to help promote healthier food for people and the environment.

08 September 2009

Dealing with the Swine

artwork by Genevieve Conti

It's almost cliché to write about, but the Swine flu is making its mark around the world. It's amusing to see what different institution are doing in order to prevent, or manage the swine flu for large populations:

At my University in Missouri, we have had over 100 hand sanitizer dispensers installed all over campus. Teachers who have a zero absence tolerance are required to insist that sick students do not attend class. As usual, we don't want to end up like the University of Kansas, who has half the student population ill with the swine flu.

Following the pandemic over to France, some schools are canceled and some students wear masks. But the most surprising of all is that schools are banning the traditional greeting of bisous, or kisses to both cheeks, in order to prevent sickness.

A typical saying in France, "Désolé, je suis malade" or "Sorry, I'm sick", is used to pardon oneself from kissing someone that you do not want to get physically close to. Now the saying will have to be "Désolé, vous pourriez être malade" or "Sorry, you might be sick".

Some are concerned that this ban could cause the death of bisous in France. By asking the younger generations to greet others from a distance, they might continue to do so as a trend.

Other places, like Germany and Spain are also asking people to greet others from afar and posting flyers to spread the word.

What are you doing to avoid the virus?

06 September 2009

The Longest Way

My professor sent this video out to my blogging class. It's essentially a vlog (video log) of a man who walked from China to Germany and documented his mood, location, milage, and facial hair growth along the way. Watch it- I think it's worth a few minutes of your time.