The interesting name of this blog is Syaffolee, which is derived from S. Y. Affolee. This is the literary pseudonym and self-proclaimed scapegoat of the author named Thea, a non-nerd biology student at Caltech. The initials come from the first letters of her Chinese name, which means “sea poem”. The last name is the feminine form of a French word meaning “fool”. Unlike so many other people nowadays, Thea writes in the biography that she avoids wasting her time watching television or partying like many of the other university students. But don’t you dare calling her a “troll” for being that way, because in this fine blog she has alot to offer. In that regard, we should be thankful that she redirects the usual energy spent by students her age on partying on her blogging endeavors, for she does a pretty good job.
This fine blogger created the site because she was plain tired of being drowned out by people louder than she. Thea states: “Here I can be vitriolic and cantankerous without people in real life hanging me by my toes.” One wonders what experiences she might have had before while hanging in such an uncomfortable position in life. Inspiration for this blog?
The blog called Syaffolee is in itself an interesting combination. Daily activities centered on student life are mixed with reviews and reactions about news items she has read and to which she wants to react: genome secrets, hiv problems, university suicide, a pill to stretch your day, etc. Her writing style is sober and down-to-earth. Alot of the subject area keeps returning back to her biology background, but this is understandable and refreshing. The style reminds me a lot of a mix between Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, but that is probably because they are also authors of biology science. Her blog archives go way back to the beginning of the Millennium, and there is plenty to peruse. One notices that in two years time, her writing has matured significantly, and this is an interesting process to follow. More depth, more concern with the outside world, an inner growth of someone coming of age. Good blogs, and this is certainly a good one, allow the readers to take part in this process of inner and outer discovery.
Other sections provide balance and escape at the same time. In her page called “Decoder” there are a number of interesting definitions of common and not-so-common terms related to her student life. In the page “Chrono” she reflects back on her life according to the books she has read, and one is immediately moved by the numerous titles she has read with gusto. From a children’s picture book about a bear to Harry Potter, H.P. Lovecraft and Angela Carter, it is all in there. You might also want to have a look at her small gallery where she displays stuff about Gustav Klimt and more.
Anyone admitted to Caltech has by definition got his or her act together. Thea is one smart cookie that is for sure. There is a tendency towards intellectual expression, but Thea tempers this well with simple ideas that make you think. The no-nonsense design of white text on a black backdrop makes the thinking that much more accessible. Not bad for someone who claims that she does not work as hard as she should. I can recommend this site very highly, not only for students but also for the many readers out there who are still at heart “students of life”.syaffolee