Ashley McDonald

An SF State Student Attempting to Blog

Recchiuti Chocolate Makes Environmentally-Friendly Ingredients Rich and Creamy

While I was in the the Ferry Building on Saturday, I came across a small chocolate store that my friend had mentioned, Recchiuti. She said it was quite possibly the most tasty chocolate she had ever tasted, so naturally I wanted to try some. I tried truffles and hot chocolate and caramels and much more. More than I should have tasted. I was talking to one of the employees when I found out that not only is she a chocolate maker, but she is also an SF State student. We met up and talked about what makes their chocolate so special and I was surprised to find that the ingredients are mostly local and that they are grown in environmentally conscious ways. She would not divulge the secret recipes but she did say that it is the lack of preservatives and organic ingredients that make the chocolate so delicious. I found it to be very interesting because when I think about what goes into chocolate, I never think about where the ingredients come from, I just think of chocolate.

November 16, 2009 Posted by | Video | Leave a comment

The Commute From Hell

I have decided that although I have mostly enjoyed the convenience of BART travel, I officially despise commuting to SF State when there is any sort of wrench thrown in the already hectic East Bay to San Francisco commute routes.

The Bay Bridge (click here for AP video) had been closed down for Caltrans repair, and according to BART.gov, ridership had increased 85%. What does this mean for East Bay Commuters like myself? It means leaving the house 2 hours before I actually have to be somewhere. Why? Not because of space on the trains (BART has added and extended trains to accommodate the increase in riders) but because of the parking situation.

Wednesday of last week was the worst  day to commute. It was the first day of increased ridership and thinking that I would be in the clear for a parking spot if I left my house. Even with moderate to heavy traffic it takes me about 10 minutes to get to the BART garage (see image below) and another 5 minutes at the most to find a parking garage. Wednesday was not a usual day.

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Map from the approximate location of my house to Pleasant Hill BART station. (Map from Yahoo! Maps)

I left a little early expecting the commute to be rough. I got to BART around 7:45 am, about 30 minutes earlier than normal, and drove up all 8 stories of the parking garage despite the “Lot Full” sign. I was stopped by a BART Police officer and advised to go to Concord BART. He assured me that there would be parking “on the mesa” for sure. The time was then 8:20 am.

(A little back-story before I continue: I go to Pleasant Hill BART station not because it is closer to my house but because it is the biggest parking garage there is in a 15 minute radius to my house. Concord BART, although about 5 minutes away from my house, is much smaller and fills up sooner. I have made the mistake of trying to park there before school too many times to trust anyone that says there is parking there after 7:00 am. Hence my disbelief)

After the advice from the officer, I decided to drive over there. I knew that either way I was going to be late for my class so I might as well check it out for the next day. I was not surprised that there was absolutely zero parking available. The time was then 9:00. I laughed to myself and drove home.

Thursday was better. I left my house at 6:45 am. Got on BART at 7:00am. Arrived at Daly City BART at 8:05 am. Got to campus at 8:20 am.

This may seem like a great day unfortunately I learned that the labs in the Journalism Department don’t open until 9:00 am. “Drat,” I thought to myself. I got a coffee, went to my Third Cinema classroom and took a nap before class.

Luckily the Bay Bridge is now open, as of this morning and I only hope that my Wednesday commute this week will be smooth and easy, just like normal.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Random Musings | 1 Comment

Clayton Rock Quarry

I was driving the other day and realized that my entire life, there has been a huge eye-sore destroying a nearby mountain.

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View of Mt. Zion rock quarry in Clayton, CA. Photo By: Ben Hoedt

This photo is the view of Mt. Zion I have seen my entire life. The quarry has been in-use since 1947, according to the Clayton Pioneer. When I saw this photo, I realized that this quarry is not only ruining the mountain in a structural way, it is ruining animal habitats.

I cannot tell you how many dead coyotes, squirrels, skunks and raccoons I see on a daily basis in the area surrounding the quarry.

However, the damage is not purely on animal habitats or aesthetics, it is on the environment. The equipment used to dig the quarries cause a lot of pollution. Big rigs, haulers, bull dozers: they all pollute the earth.

Moral of the story, now that I have become an aware citizen, I plan on doing a little more research on the quarry and seeing what is being done to prevent pollution and damage to the structural soundness of Mt. Zion. I don’t want to be jealous of Livermore anymore. They have the good view of the mountain.

October 20, 2009 Posted by | Random Musings | Leave a comment

Baby Survives Train

This video that I found on CNN.com highly disturbed me. I recently dropped my phone onto the BART tracks and although it was alright, the only thing I could think while I saw my phone, my lifeline, slip onto the man-killing BART tracks was “OH MY GOD!?! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITHOUT THAT!!!???”

That being said, imagine watching your baby fall, head first onto train tracks and then have a train run over and stop right on top of it. That would be exponentially worse than my phone, obviously. Luckily, this baby survived.

I have heard so many stories of babies falling off of mountains or buildings and surviving, unscathed. I have heard that this is because babies lack the ability to tense up when they know they are going to fall or recieve pain like adults do, so they remain looser and therefore hit the ground softer. As for the train child, this was just luck.

October 20, 2009 Posted by | Random Musings | Leave a comment

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

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A man chooses his tomatoes at the Farmers Market at the San Francisco Ferry Building on Saturday Oct. 17th, 2009.

There is a Farmers Market three times a week at the Ferry Plaza in San Francisco, but the big show is on Saturdays. From 8am to 4pm on Saturdays, over 50 vendors gather to sell everything from goat cheese to sweet potatoes. The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market has been around for almost 20 years and it is continuing to grow. Rated at 4.5 stars by Yelp.com, attending the FPFM is definitely a great way to spend a Saturday.

(All foods pictured are foods that are indigenous to North America)

Photo Slide Show>

October 20, 2009 Posted by | Random Musings | Leave a comment

The Many Faces of James Bond

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Every 007 that has acted in more than one film

I decided that this blog entry will be about my favorite James Bond actor. I would have to say that it is a close tie between Pierce Brosnan and Sean Connery. Both actors represent exactly what I think of when I think of James Bond: Tall, dark, handsome, good accent, mysterious and clever personality. Plus, all of their movies are my favorite, complete with cheesy one liners galore. Goldfinger, From Russia with Love, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough…all great flicks.

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Pierce Brosnan

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Sean Connery

Roger Moore was also a great 007. My only qualm with him was that he wasn’t physically the James Bond I think of and he was playing the James Bond character when he was getting to be a little on the older side in the 80’s. Sean Connery was also a little older in his final movie, but Roger Moore’s age was much more obvious. Moonraker, A View to Kill, Man With the Golden Gun and Live and Let Die were all great films and he was definitely a quality actor.

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Roger Moore

There were a couple one or two hit wonders that were phased out quickly and with good reason. Their acting was sub-par and they also didn’t fill the James Bond shoes. Now on to the current 007, Daniel Craig. In my opinion, he is awful. Not only does he not look like James bond, but his acting is way too serious. He lacks that ability to deliver his one liners in a cheesy yet awesome manner as his predecessors have been able to. Not that the choice is his fault. For the casting decision, I blame the higher-ups. I think that they should bring back Pierce Brosnan. He is still in great shape and he is still a great actor!

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Daniel Craig

Seriously, look at this guy. I know his films are about the “darker-side of 007” but honestly, he looks more like a villain and acts more like a villain than a hero. I think that Pierce Brosnan had the perfect combo of the dark with the light and he would do much more justice to the films than Daniel “I really suck at being Bond” Craig.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Random Musings | 2 Comments

Texts From Last Night.com

As I still have not established a theme for my blog, I have been surfing the web for something interesting. Today, for the first time ever, I came across Textsfromlastnight.com. I searched my home area code, 925, and laughed for about thirty minutes. For this posting I would like to pull out a couple of my favorites.

–> (925): Woman walking into toby keith concert: 8 months pregnant, black eye, shirt on that has a picture of a boot and the words “we’ll put a boot up your ass” with an american flag printed over–the sleeves were ripped off and she had a camo cowboy hat. Greatest thing I’ve ever seen.

This is a favorite of mine because I remember when this concert happened. The Sleeptrain Pavilion, formerly the Concord Pavilion, is in a part of Concord, CA that is right on the cusp of urban-suburban and rural-suburban. This of course means that based on the type of concert, it brings out a certain demographic. The woman described in this text is one that most likely comes from Clayton, the neighboring rural-ish area next to the Pavilion. I am pretty sure that I have seen about 5 other women matching this description in a local “saloon” when I don’t have enough money to go to the Walnut Creek bars.

–>(925): im in an endless cycle of being too hung over to eat all day…then getting too drunk because i didnt eat anything. where is my life going?

My second favorite of the day is this text. I love it because I am pretty sure I know who sent it. I love it when people stumble over little nuances in their life and confess through texting. This should be the logo tee-shirt for many of the people I graduated with. I have noticed that the class of 2006 has had quite a few problems with motivation. Many of us didn’t want to go to school or went to school and have since dropped out. Others moved out of their parent’s house and went crazy on their substance-use freedom. I felt like this for a little while a couple years ago. It’s hard to break a cycle when you have no idea what to break it with.

Although I initially laughed at this website and its content, it is a good reflection of the commonalities that we experience not only by area code, but by being a part of the constantly texting community. Although I am not proud of many of the texts I have sent or received, we are all tied together through the hot messes that we can be.

September 21, 2009 Posted by | Random Musings | 2 Comments

Power to the Peaceful 2009

On Saturday Sept. 12, I attended/ documented through photos the Power to the Peaceful festival in Golden Gate Park. Starting with two hours of group yoga from 9-11 and ending with host and founder Michael Franti performing with his band Spearhead, the concert was a blast. Guests included the Dalai Lama’s representative, Alanis Morissette and The Honey Brothers. The festival was largely focused on anti-war campaigning and spiritual awareness. There were approximately 65,000 people in attendance and police said that they encountered no problems.

Attendees practicing group yoga to start of the day

Festival attendees practicing yoga to start off the day. Photo By: Ashley McDonald

A woman practices group yoga positions

A woman practices group yoga positions. Photo By: Ashley McDonald

Adrian Grenier plays guitar with his bang The Honey Brothers

Adrian Grenier plays guitar with his band, The Honey Brothers. Photo By: Ashley McDonald

A scraper bike decked out with Arizona Tea cans sits next to the Bike for Life booth

A scraper bike decked out with Arizona Tea cans sits next to the Bike for Life booth. Photo By: Ashley McDonald

'Nuff Said

'Nuff Said. Photo By: Ashley McDonald

The Dalai Lama's representative

The Dalai Lama's representative sings a prayer. Photo By: Ashley McDonald

Alanis Morissette begins her set

Alanis Morissette begins her set. Photo By: Ashley McDonald

Michael Franti, founder and host of the Power to the Peaceful Festival performs with his band Spearhead

Michael Franti, founder and host of the Power to the Peaceful Festival performs with his band Spearhead. Photo By: Ashley McDonald

There were approximately 65,000 people in attendance that occupied all of Speedway Meadows

There were approximately 65,000 people in attendance that occupied all of Speedway Meadows. Photo By: Ashley McDonald

September 14, 2009 Posted by | Random Musings | 3 Comments

Is going green costing too much green?

ASHLEY

Arizona Solar Panels

As I was browsing the environment section on NYTimes.com, I came across a story about taking solar and going large scale. The story is about the transition to solar power. Changes can happen on a small scale, like an entire neighborhood or city solar panel addition or a large scale by building an addition that could power many cities. This would be a great investment, however, it is one that will take at least 14 years to pay off.

After reading this article, I started thinking, what is the long term cost of “green” investments? The article argues that we have been here for 200 hundred years, a 14 year payoff is not that long in comparison. I have to agree.

We have had a hand in much, if not most of the damage that has happened to our planet. If we have to dedicate some time and money to make some changes for the better, then that is what we need to do.

Companies are trying to cut the cost of “going green” so that it will be more accessible and less intimidating. As long as companies and advocates continue to make green options available and affordable, I think we will start to see successes in reversing and preventing some of the damage we have done in the past 200 hundred years.

September 14, 2009 Posted by | Random Musings | Leave a comment

Sharon Lim: SF State student making a move

Sharon Lim, 22, a Journalism major at SF State, is making the move from South City to Hayes Valley tonight, allowing her to be closer to school and the city. Lim will be changing not only her location but also her way of getting to school.

“I usually have to drive [to school],” Lim says. “Now I can just take MUNI.”

Not only will the move save her from buying gas and spending time in traffic on her commute, it will bring her closer to the restaurants and hot spots of San Francisco.

“Living in Hayes Valley will make it easier to explore San Francisco,” Lim says as she compares her new location to her old home in South City.

For Lim being closer to the city means being able to try more new restaurants, one of her favorite things to do.

Senior Ball 2004

Senior Ball 2004

For more about Sharon, click here.

September 1, 2009 Posted by | Random Musings | Leave a comment