Tag Archives: summer

Easing the Restlessness

By Matt Keibler

“Do you want to go to the Grand Canyon to see the sunrise?”

Now, I am one for adventure. Hiking Mt. Baldy, snorkeling on the Atlantic shelf, walking alone through a Moroccan market, traversing the hills of Scotland through sleet storms – I have no trouble with getting outside. The real issue is getting friends to go with me. Happiness is only real when shared, no?

So, when I asked my dear friend Rachel to spend her one day off on one of the last weeks of Summer 2015 to drive seven hours across the Arizona desert in the middle of the night for a few dawn hours on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, I was nervous that she would say no. After all, this was the last thing on my summer bucket list before senior year. Who knows where we would both be next year? I warned her. It would be an exhausting task. We would need coffee and Clif bars and maybe some 90s throwbacks to get us through the night. And I knew that she was the only one crazy enough to say yes to this.

And she did.

“Great. Go take a nap. We leave at 9:30pm. Sun rises at 6:37am.”

She did not realize the immediacy of my question and yet, she took it in stride. Within a few hours, we were packed, caffeinated, and midway to Barstow, where we would leave the traditional route to Las Vegas, instead opting for the 40 freeway and another 4 hours of desert. Musically, we had moved through The Great Boy Bands of the 90s, and into 90s alternative rock. Blink-182 was a better vibe for a midnight drive through the California desert anyways.

Now, I am a boy from Florida, and I thought I knew heat. Summer nights are a balmy 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with a light breeze, if you’re lucky. My best memories are sitting on the beach after midnight in the late summer, watching the lightning from a far off storm illuminate the ocean. The flash of blue mirrors itself on the water, and for a split second, you can see the beach around you. Sometimes you could see a boat far, far in the distance. Most of the time, you saw the horizon of blueish black meet the stars. But only for a second. In that consuming darkness, you are left with nothing to do but sit down and bask in its awe.

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Classic Movies in a Classic Cemetery

By Talia Alkalay

Even though I was born and raised in Los Angeles, I often feel like a stranger in my own city. As funny as this it might sound, I sometimes feel like tourists know more about Los Angeles than me, a native! This city is so large and has so many different sections that it seems like an impossible city to intimately know, especially for someone like me who tends to stick to her own backyard.  So when my sister suggested that we go to one of Cinespia’s cemetery screenings, I decided to give it a go!

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Cinespia is an organization that hosts screenings of classic films at the famous Hollywood Forever cemetery. They project old (and some newer) classic movies onto a large wall that is surrounded by a huge grassy lawn for people to lay out and watch the films. Most people bring picnic-style food and drinks to enjoy while watching the movie. My sister and I came prepared with an endless array of snacks and drinks so that we could maximize our experience.  We arrived at the cemetery about an hour and a half before the movie began but, understanding the popularity of this summer event, we weren’t surprised to see that a long line had formed and was already spilling out onto Santa Monica Blvd. It was all worth it though once we got to the front and were allowed onto the grounds of Hollywood Forever. The area of the cemetery in which the films are projected is somewhat toward the back of the grounds; you actually have to walk through a portion of the cemetery in order to get to the final destination. Along the walk, I was drawn in and fascinated by all the over-the-top marble tombstones and mausoleums; some had effigies (or drawn likenesses) etched into the stone so that you could see what the deceased looked like when they were alive.
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How to Practice English During Summer Vacation

By Zsuzsa Londe, Ph.D. 

Students ask this question at the end of our spring semester classes.  It is a good idea to plan to do something every day to maintain or improve your English skills. If you did not have the option to take an ALI class this summer, here are a couple of suggestions that are interesting in content and will improve your oral skills.

1. NPR (National Public Radio) is a nationwide radio station with about 900 stations in the United States.  Go to www.npr.org or to www.kcrw.com, the websites of the national and the local (LA) radio stations respectively, and listen to the broadcasts, find in-depth reporting on the latest events, and read the transcripts of the reports.  While you are getting the most up-to-date information from around the world, you are also “updating” your English. “Morning Edition” is one of my favorite shows that I listen to on the 89.9FM station (KCRW) on my car radio.  What sets these radio stations apart from others is that they are funded by the listeners and non-profit organizations, and as such allow for unbiased and well-balanced reporting and views.  They have a lot more interviews and discussions than other music concentrated stations.  Students from years ago write to me sometimes how important these stations have become to them as the source of news.

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