California: Even More Ridiculous Than You Think

tumblr_m61zjpWYco1qm11a2o1_500If you go to Georgetown, chances are you know someone (or five-hundred someones) from California. If you know someone from California, you have definitely had to suffer through multiple conversations about how amazing California is, and about how life there is just so much better than life wherever you’re from. As a California native and NorCal apologist, I’ve always been aware that California was something of a strange and mystical land.

A week after returning to the Golden State from Georgetown, I have realized that California is even more ridiculous than you think. We don’t just live up to every stereotype you have about Californians: we are even worse than you could have ever imagined. Here is a rundown of some of the things I have encountered during my first week back in the San Francisco Bay Area:

The Airport: If you have ever had a two minute conversation with me, I have probably brought up how amazing SFO is, and you probably were annoyed and tried to change the subject. If you ever doubted things you’ve heard about California, your doubts will be erased the minute you step off your plane and into the airport. First of all, SFO has a Yoga Room. Second of all, SFO has a farmer’s market. Let me repeat-there is a farmer’s market inside of an airport. California.

It's real
It’s real

The Food: On my first day at home, I decided to make myself a PB&J. The peanut butter: all-natural, unsalted and made with unblanched peanuts. The jelly: organic, locally grown strawberry fruit spread. The bread: organic, non-GMO, with 21 whole grains and seeds. I also found quinoa clusters in my pantry, and wasn’t sure if I should be embarrassed or proud.

so ashamed
so ashamed

 

The Sports Stadiums: I went to see a Giants baseball game at AT&T Park. Behind center field, AT&T Park has an edible garden that grows blueberries, strawberries, avocados, tomatoes, peppers, squash, lettuces, lemons and kale. This produce is then picked fresh and made into salads, sandwiches and flatbreads that are sold to baseball fans. I am starting to realize why people hate California.

California.
California.

The Workplaces: On my first day at work, I rolled into my office at 9am. In our communal kitchen (which is fully stocked with all-natural tea, ethically-sourced coffee, several different types of recycling containers and three compost bins), there was a bottle of wine sitting on the table with a sign that said “to share.” I have also not seen anyone consuming any foods besides salad, produce and copious amounts of coffee.

produce <3
produce <3

The Conversations: Here are some actual things I have heard people say since I’ve been home- “I ate too much quinoa to eat my dolma too.” “Hold on, I have quinoa in my teeth.” “That new farm-to-table marijuana delivery startup is doing well.”

The Transportation: On Thursday, it was bike-to-work day in SF – as if everyone here doesn’t already ride their bike to work every day. I’ve also participated in something called casual carpool, where you literally just get into a random person’s car and ride into the city for $1. I’m pretty sure this is something that would only happen on the West Coast. Bonus: I saw someone simultaneously driving a Prius and playing a guitar.

Bike to work day!
Bike to work day!

They say stereotyping is bad, but I am here to confirm that every stereotype about California is completely and totally true. And with that, I will return to eating my organic avocado and kale salad and sipping on my acai and wheatgrass smoothie.

Photos/gifs: giphy.com, nydailynews.com, thefeed.com, cafarmersmkts.com, sheknows.com, tumblr.com

Bike Lanes: They’re Almost Here!

BikeLane1If you’ve ever walked down M Street, you might have noticed the life-or-death battle happening every day. Is it bikes against cars? Bikes against buses? Bikes against literally every other type of vehicle on the lawless roads of Washington, D.C.? The answer is D: all of the above.

Bikes against any inanimate objects?

As Freddie Mercury once sang, “I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like.” Like the staff of 4E, you probably spend your free time sitting around and wondering, When is the city going to put in some bike lanes? Well, that day is here … almost! The D.C. Department of Transportation has laid out some plans to install bike lanes around the city, projected for sometime this year. That’s right, this year!

So far, the lanes marked “ready to go” are located on M Street, First Street NE and F, G and I Streets NE. Several lanes are still being designed in southeastern D.C. See the map below for more all of the District’s bike lane plans:2014bikelanes

So the next time you feel like taking a nice bike ride (probably when the weather is a little less rough), a bike lane might be ready to take you past the cars. Nothing is as satisfying as bypassing D.C. traffic. Just remember to be safe.

Don’t be this guy.

Special thanks to DCist for this article.

Gifs: funnymemes.com, gifbin.com; Photo: DCist

Oh, the Places You’ll Go with Georgetown Bike Share

oh the places

Welcome back to the Hilltop, Hoyas! While you’re probably anxious to start off the new year on a good foot, here at 4E, we’re here to get you off on good wheels – with some help from GUSA, that is. As you might have already heard, we have a brand new Georgetown bike share program coming in the spring, and what a better way to begin the school year than planning a nice bike ride along one of DC’s many beautiful trails. We thought it would be a nice idea to share with you three of our favorite DC biking locations so you could get in some cardio and get excited for this new development!

Mount Vernon Trail – 18 miles

This trail is truly one of the District’s Gems. Start off from the front gates and cross the Key Bridge as if you were heading to Teddy Roosevelt Island. Instead of crossing the footbridge, continue following the bike path along the Potomac. This beautiful route passes through some breathtaking locations – Old Town Alexandria (be wary, you might hit some traffic), Arlington National Cemetery, Reagan International Airport (be sure to get some photos of planes flying overhead) and George Washington’s Estate at Mount Vernon. Our best advice for this trail: take your friends and go! There are lots of areas to picnic, and the sights are out of this world.

Capital Crescent Trail (13 miles) and Chesapeake & Ohio Towpath (184 miles) –

Though we wouldn’t recommend following the C & O Towpath Trail for its entirety (could you imagine that rental price?), we definitely would recommend the local parts! Start off from the front gates and head down to M street and cut across the canal to these trails. (Our recommendation is to cross over by the Ukrainian Embassy). Both of these trails run parallel to one another near Georgetown, but as they continue towards Maryland, the Capital Crescent Trail leads you through some of the District’s more affluent neighborhoods and eventually into Silver Spring, MD, while the C & O Towpath follows along the canal. Some words to the wise: the Capital Crescent Trail is only paved until Bethesda, so if you don’t like riding on crushed limestone, that might be a great turn-around location. Also, be sure to check out Harpers Ferry if you’re riding the C & O!

Odds and Ends around Georgetown –

When Georgetown spring weather hits, it’s almost a disgrace to not be outside as much as possible, so feel free to ride around and stay local. Ride up Wisconsin to the National Cathedral, or follow 37th up to Naval Observatory. Ride to Safeway or Trader Joe’s and pick up some groceries, or just ride down to the Waterfront and take in the view.

What do you think of our biking choices? What’s your favorite trail in the area? Hit us up in the comments below and ride like the wind, Hoyas!

Simply Science: Why Meat Loaf Helps You Stay in Shape

Every morning I take a 10-mile run and immerse myself in the musical stylings of Kelly Clarkson for an hour or two. Actually, that’s completely false (just the first part), but I thought it was a fitting intro to this article about the relationships between music and working out.

Areas of research on workout music have been expanding in the past years. Many people acknowledge that they have a better experience working out to certain jams, but many don’t consider that their favorite workout playlist might actually be improving their workout performance.

Research has found that when listening to music, “people run father, bike longer and swim faster than usual.” Meatloaf_Program-297x300

The effect of any type of music varies with each respective person. Commonly, people find that songs with faster beats and more bass help them to “get pumped” (Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, III is my personal favorite). Though tempo is one of the main considerations when it comes to workout music, there are other factors that one should consider when determining an optimal workout selection. One of these factors is what scientists call “rhythm response”—basically a fancy way of saying “how much a song makes someone want to jitterbug” (or twerk…if you’re into that). Sometimes a person’s motivation might even be dependent on how much he or she identifies with the singer’s emotions.  It’s all really subjective.

Some psychologists, though, hypothesize that people have a natural preference for songs with rhythms of frequency 2 hertz, or 120 beats per minute. People often settle into rhythms of 120 bpm when walking or tapping their fingers. An analysis, “…of more than 74,000 popular songs produced between 1960 and 1990 found that 120 bpm was the most prevalent pulse.” 2 beats per second just seems like a rhythm that we, as humans, innately gravitate (and groove) towards. When running, however, 180 bpm appears to be the preference. Don’t be so eager to transform your playlists, though: research suggests that anything over 145 bpm doesn’t really do anything more for those abs—sort of like how any sunscreen over SPF 45 is somewhat trivially labeled.

To many scientists, “getting pumped” simply doesn’t suffice as a reason why music helps us exercise. Researchers have found that music specifically contributes to our ability to exercise more effectively by distracting us from pain and fatigue, elevating our mood, increasing our endurance, reducing perceived effort, and perhaps even promoting our metabolic efficiency.

Just for the record, Paradise by the Dashboard Light happens to be 180 bpm. For more (however inferior) 180 bpm song suggestions, go here.

The bottom line, though: Meat Loaf is a great diet choice.

Photo: www.addins.whig.com

Simply Science is a reoccurring post that aims to make recent scientific discoveries accessible and applicable to the Georgetown student.