Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Yesterday, our AP Biology class had the opportunity to take a field trip to the tide pools at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Half Moon Bay.

The lovely Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

The lovely Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

When we first arrived, our guide showed us some seals with their babies. She said that seals were giving birth at this time of the year, and we all thought that the baby seals were very adorable!

A very grainy picture of the seals we saw!

A very grainy picture of the seals we saw!

We also saw many strange, transparent creatures washed up on shore with little sails. Our guide explained to us that these creatures were called Velella velella, and that they have been washing up on shores on the West Coast recently. I found this very interesting because I had never seen anything like these organisms before, and they were all over the beach!

Velella vellela - Many of these were washed on our shores.

Velella vellela – Many of these were washed on our shores.

Afterwards, we finally began our task at hand. Our class was split up into groups, and each group was assigned 2 small grids along the tide pool. In each grid, we tallied up either the number of each particular organisms or the number of squares each organism was in. My group was assigned the grid at the 25th meter mark and the 3 meter mark. At the 25 meter mark, there were many different organisms so it took a while to tally up everything. At first glance, it didn’t seem like there was much in the grid. However, we moved around the seaweed a bit and looked closer, discovering that there were at least 25 different species of organisms thriving in one patch of the tide pools! We saw a sea urchin, sea anemones, many different species of seaweed, leaf barnacles, and a turban snails just to name a few.

A few sea urchins we saw on our way to the 25th mark.

A few sea urchins we saw on our way to the 25th mark.

We then moved to the 3 meter mark to examine the organisms in the grid. In this grid, there was very few variation. We only saw a few small patches of seaweed and many tiny barnacles and limpets. The lack of variation and amount of organisms at the 3 meter mark is probably because it is farther away from the ocean itself.

Afterwards, we all split up into 2 groups in one larger patch of the tide pool where all the giant sea anemones lived.Our guide divided the larger patch in half, and each group scrambled to count the number of giant sea anemones there were in our respective areas. Some of these anemones were so large that they were probably comparable to the size of someone’s face!

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A giant green anemone we saw. Not quite as big as someone’s face, but still pretty large!

Overall, though I almost slipped and fell several times, I had fun exploring the area, tallying the organisms, and discovering all there was to offer at Fitzgerald. I live near Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, but I’ve only been to the reserve a handful of times and never took the time to notice the amount of diversity in each nook and cranny. It’s fascinating how much life a small tide pool supports, and I’m grateful that we have access to this amazing little sanctuary. I will definitely be going back to the tide pools to see what kinds of new creatures are here the next time!

Image Source:

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve picture: http://www.thewildbeat.com/2009/06/17/splendor-in-the-low-tide/

Other images are mine.

My latest jams #2

One of the best feelings is chilling on the couch, basking in the sun, and listening to music… or at least I feel this way.

Anyways, here are some of my favorite songs at the moment. Check them out and hope you enjoy 🙂

1. Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson

The perfect song to listen to when you’re just relaxing. Happy, feel-good, smooth, despite it’s odd name.

2. 505 – Arctic Monkeys

Another older song, but a much different mood from Banana Pancakes. A sad, nostalgic, but great song. Probably one of my favorite AM songs.

3. Apartment – Young the Giant

A relatively popular song. I love the melody, and it’s also pretty relaxing.

Reflections

Today I kinda came to the realization that I am almost a senior in high school.

As cliché as this sounds, it’s insane that time has flown so quickly. Freshman year, sophomore year, and even this year have been a blur.

Being the cool kid that I am, I sometimes scroll to my earliest pictures on the Photo Booth (on my MacBook Air) and I compare them to what I look like now. Have I changed? If so, was it a good change or a bad change?

I’m looking back at the oldest photos  of myself on this computer, and I see a young, innocent, and happy kid smiling back at me. She still has those dorky braces and that 80’s middle part that pretty much no one can pull off… myself being in the incapable category.

I guess physically, I’ve changed, but not drastically.

I feel like when everyone’s a freshman, they always picture themselves 4 years later as a reinvented person—a person with more confidence, intelligence, style, and “coolness”. Or maybe it’s just me…

However as I am entering my final year in high school and reflect on myself as a person, I don’t think I’ve changed as much as I’d imagined. I’m still the same dorky, weird, 5’2″ girl that nervously entered the school doors for the first time 3 years ago.

But who knows, maybe I did change. After all, we often aren’t the best judges of our own self.

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oink oink what is life mann

 

My Boredom-Busting Websites

I get bored a lot, and by a lot I mean A LOT. And when I feel bored, I make a beeline towards my dear laptop and go on my go-to websites. Leaving out Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter, here are my favorite boredom-busting websites.

1. IWasteSoMuchTime.com

As implied by the name, you can waste plenty of time there. This page, updated several times a day, is filled with funny or ironic pictures, memes, and videos submitted by other visitors (you can submit one too). You can even up-vote and down-vote on all pictures, though my favorite button is “what the what” for the more obscure pictures.

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2. BlahTherapy.com

Ever feeling the need to help someone or vent about your struggles? This is the perfect website. You can either choose to chat with someone anonymously to help them with their problems, or to be helped by a an anonymous stranger (sounds sketch, but actually a great concept). Great way to feel better, or that you’ve used your time in a good way.

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3. http://gabrielecirulli.github.io/2048

Fun, relaxing, and self-explanatory math/puzzle game which is also an Iphone app. Can be frustrating.

Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 6.57.16 PM

 

4. En.akinator.com

This website is pure genius. Modeled after the “20 questions” game (if you don’t know what that is, do look it up), an Arabic-looking genie asks you a series of questions until he guesses what character (real or not real) you are thinking of. He’s right like 95% of the time. Trust me, this dude guessed in 10 questions for “Toadette”. Seriously!?

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These were the only nonconventional websites I could think of at the top of my head, so I will probably be posting a part two later.

Have fun busting boredom!

Does it really matter?

So many high schoolers today, like myself, are padding their resumes, studying for standardized testing, and boosting their GPAs with loads of honors/AP classes.

But what for? Of course, the simplest answer that comes to mind is “college”.

Everything’s so darn competitive these days. Too competitive.

Yes, I’ll admit to this. It’s important to maintain good grades, have good extracurriculars and standardized testing scores. However, it’s sad to note that we’re all doing this hard work for one purpose only: to get into a good college.

I’m sure many of us are aware of HYPS. That’s an acronym for Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford: Schools that are an “unattainable” dream for some, and goals for the typical overachievers. But my big question is “Does it really matter?”

Do really matter if we go or don’t go to a “top” school? I think not.

As evidence, take a look at this table titled “Colleges that will Make You Rich” by Natalie Doss on Forbes.com:

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This is a table of the top 15 colleges with the highest paid graduates. On the top are the prestigious colleges of Williams, Dartmouth, and Stanford, but 4th on the list is something rather surprising: Santa Clara University. This school is what I like to call “Bay Area’s Secret”. It’s a beautiful school and it’s not extremely competitive to get in (51.2% acceptance rate).  There are also many other non-ivies on this list. Surprising, huh?

That being said, you don’t need to go to HYPS or any of the ivy leagues to be “successful” (if we’re basing success of high annual income). I believe success if more based off of the effort in your collegiate studies, a good network of people, and a bit of luck.

Sources:

1. Table: http://www.forbes.com/2010/08/27/college-graduate-salary-earnings-lifestyle-education-colleges-10-rich_table.html

2. SCU acceptance rate: http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/santa-clara-university-1326

Australia

It’s been an obsession of mine to move to the land of Down Under for a while.

Sure, America’s awesome. But something about the relaxed vibe, the beautiful beaches, and culture of the place draws me there. (The Aussie accent is also a plus.) Maybe not so much the vegemite… but eh, I can avoid that. There’s Tim Tams and Milo to make up for it, amirite?

Australian things are just likable in general. Here are a couple of my Aussie obsessions:

1. 5 Seconds of Summer: Omg, this band is great. She Looks so Perfect is always on repeat 🙂

2. Sarah Ellen: Aka: The Eyebrow Girl on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMB5TKW0xDM). This girl is actually so adorable and has an amazing sense of style! Check out her instagram: www.instagram.com/sarah3llen

3. Sydney: This city is my dream city. Sydney Harbor Bridge, the famous opera house, and of course Bondi Beach (see picture below).

4. Australian/British Spelling: Weird and random but IMO, it’s more civilized than American spelling. My favorite spelling is probably “programme”.

5. The Aussie accent: 3 words: It’s. So. Hot.

I know it’s almost implausible that I would move there forever as it would be a HUGE move, but I have faith that it’ll happen. I’ve looked into some Aussie unis actually (U Syd, UNSW anyone?) and I also hope that I’ll be able to attend a study abroad program in college if I don’t end up studying in Australia.

Anyways,

Cheers to Australia!

PS.

Australia by The Shins is an amazing song as well, even though I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with Australia itself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHTSxw6zN1E

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Bondi Beach in Sydney is just amazing ❤

My Latest Jams

Ok so if there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I love, love listening and discovering new music.

Here’s some music I’ve been diggin’ lately. Enjoy!

 

1. Puzzle Pieces – Saint Motel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7bQGM14mJI

This song is by a relatively unknown Socal band, Saint Motel. Kind of an Indie rock/pop song that I always have on repeat. Obscure because it’s about a plastic surgery addict, and I actually didn’t realize that until a few lines in the song. Anyways, this has been one of my favorites this past month, so check it out! 🙂

 

2. Why am I the One – Fun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO6WmM7w93I

Everyone knows “We are young” and “Some NIghts”… right? I actually like this song much better than the other two, even though it’s less popular. It’s a little bit sad, but the beat is upbeat and it maintains the same style that Fun. incorporates in all its other songs.

 

3. Under Cover of Darkness – The Strokes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l09H-3zzgA&feature=kp

Simply amazing song, and probably my favorite of the Stroke’s. Great vocals, and the solo guitar is just eargasmic.