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One year more. It's going fast. Am I taking advantage of every opportunity? You betcha.

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Archive: June 2012

COOKIESSSSSS!!!

I was out at Broad Ripple the other night when I saw it. Insomnia Cookies. A faint recollection stirred from a past visit to Purdue. My friend had mentioned this amazing cookie place, and forever changed my perception of what a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth cookie should be.

Now it’s in Broad Ripple. I hopped in with my friend, and it’s difficult to explain their expediency in delivering to me the exact cookie that I wanted. In retrospect, it seems that we entered and the servers turned to us with a smile and said, “What would you like–oh here it is. Enjoy!” And then I was back on the street munching on a S’mores cookie that was dripping all over my hands and face and then was gone and I still wasn’t quite sure what had happened but I was about three bucks lighter and two cookies fuller and a whole lot happier with myself.

Insomnia Cookies on Urbanspoon

For those seeking a moral from this blog, it’s that you need to spend less time looking for a moral and more time getting out to Insomnia Cookies to see what all the hubbub is about. I give this a rating of three and a half chocolate chips (take that as you will).

The Newsroom: Great TV

For anyone familiar with quality television, they’ll hear the word “Aaron Sorkin’s new show” and become giddy. He’s been the lead on such projects as The Social Network and West Wing. His new show is broadcasted on HBO, continuing the trail of fantastic series that includes Game of Thrones and…well that’s enough for me. I eat that stuff up.

In a promotional move, HBO put the pilot episode on Youtube, a feat that is either completely original or at the very least a unique move for a company that requires a subscription to watch anything on TV or on the internet. For the benefit of all my readers, I have done my part in getting the word out and posting it on my blog. Enjoy.

YouTube Preview Image

For those interested, here is a deeper analysis of the show.

Exhaustion Sets In

Getting sleepy...

It’s week two of the creative writing camp. A new wave of students rushes in with the excitement and activity of a bunch of hummingbirds. The college student mentors have still barely recovered from the last week. Not that it’s a hassle dealing with them. All I’m saying is that I’m a human being, and I can’t take a new group of students who continue poking me like I’m some exhibit on a side show circus!

Dramatics aside, this has been an interesting and enlightening experience. I remember sitting in my chair quietly throughout middle school, absorbing lots and day-dreaming some. At the time I saw teachers as recorders. Someone would hit the play button and then I would pay attention as I pleased. As far as I was concerned, the teacher would continue on with the lesson regardless of my state of mind.

From in front of the blackboard, I now realize that there is nothing more that a teacher wants than to know how engaged the students are. Is the material engaging? Am I teaching them material that they find worthwhile? Above all it’s brought me into a greater understanding of our schooling system. These kids are so accustomed to plopping their bottoms on a seat for hours on end, stifling complaints or comments. I appreciate this camp so much just because of the desire to break out of that cycle. When it comes to writing, we only want the kids to write what they want. But if they’ve only learned how to do what the teacher wants them to do, we arrive at an impasse. Progress is made every day though. Kids often come to us with question on an assignment. Our mantra is “Whatever you want.”

YouTube Preview Image

Summer Equinox

As I sit in one of Butler’s many soft spaces around campus, contemplating how wonderful it is to have super-duper fast internet that doesn’t randomly cut out (as it does in my house), I notice how at 8:21 PM, the sun is still far from setting. Then I remember. It’s the summer solstice. The longest day of the year.

And what a day it has been! I spent the day with my kids from the Creative Writing Summer Camp where I’ve been working for that past week. This is another great example of how connections made in the university lead to extracurricular means of practicing what you love and even testing the waters outside your comfort zone (in this case, I find that working with 5th and 6th graders is a frickin’ blast! Especially when the day is spent delving into imagination and instilling youth with the desire to create stellar stories).

But that isn’t the only great thing about this day. It is also the birthday of my brother. Seeing as how he isn’t in the country, I figure that the most efficient way to bid him a happy birthday comes through a blog post broadcasted on the internet. If you would all kindly join me in bidding my brother a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! TANTI AUGURI! FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS! 生日快乐!!!

Brotherly Love: 2011 Edition

Summer Delights

I’ve talked about the hardships of summer, but why don’t I take a moment to explore the fantastic moments of summer? Without hesitation I’ll take us into the realm of cool snacks. From there I’ll go into iced goods. And finally, we’ll arrive at the Smoothie. Of the fruit variety.

After hours upon hours of making smoothies at the Zia Juice Bar, an on-campus job that has done wonders for both my resume, work experience and appreciation for blended iced drinks, I have internalized the secrets of smoothie creation. Now, upon occasion I will whip one up and enjoy it through every spoonful. Here’s a rough guideline of what I did to make the one pictured above.

Ingredients:

1 Banana (peeled)

1 Orange (peeled)

3/4 Cup Milk

6 oz. Yogurt (I chose Strawberry Banana flavor. Go with what you’re feeling)

Ice (Per your discretion. If you like juicy smoothies, add less. If you like chunkier smoothies, add more. Add a small amount, test, and repeat until you find the right consistency)

Throw all of this together, blend it, and then enjoy it like so:

 

Post #100

I’ve made it! And my how the time flies. Post number one hundred. That should mean I’m entering into my 34th week of writing for Butler, and that makes me one happy camper. Let me take a break from the routine in order to express why it’s so great to have a chance to give back to the school that’s given me so much.

College has been all about listening to others (professors and peers) while ultimately listening to myself. It is far enough from home that I have had the space to grow into my own with the support to keep me from falling apart. I’ve spent my time trying to figure out what I’m good at, but more what I want to make of my life. It’s a scholarly place of asking the deep questions as well as a place to make life long friends.

Before

Yet I’m sure that leaving Butler will not be a sad time. Leaving my friends will be tough, but I can only smile as I walk across the stage to receive my diploma, knowing everything that Butler has helped to teach me (about the world, as well as myself) and how far I have come since I took those tentative first steps onto campus, a freshmen who had no idea what to expect.

After. Look how far I've come! (I'm mainly referring to the facial hair)

The Pain of Summer

We are conditioned from youth to worship the summer seasons. But there’s no denying that this blessedly school-free time comes at a cost. Bugs, muggy 99.9% humidity, and the occasional dive into upper the 90’s makes these months nearly insufferable. What is the normal response to all of this? Either we hole up in our air conditioned houses, essentially an environment-controlled box to separate us from that darned nature, or we get out in search of a way to beat the heat.

Swimming in pools or beaches, laying out by fountains, anything we can think of to drop that infernal temperature. Unfortunately, that sun is still out to get us, whatever we do. Sunburn. There’s no better way to explain the pain than the metaphor with fire ants crawling across my skin and a quick photo:

Left: burned chest. Right: contrast of arm.

It hurts, and so I turn to my truest friend in such a time of need. Aloe Vera does what it can, but sometimes it feels like it won’t be enough. Ever. Maybe this is it, I’ve entered into eternal suffering that will only be assuaged by avoiding the outdoors.

Sitting around my A/C box, pacing back and forth, avoiding mirrors and steamy showers, I look at the window. Through the window. Out the window. It’s out there, it’s pleasant, and it’s nature. How can I pass it up? It’s only in this state once a year, and it would be foolish to ignore it while I don’t have classes, right? I get my towel and book.

 

 

Packing: A College Freshmen’s Guide

It’s basically impossible to know everything that you’re going to need for an entire year. There are so many different things to need that half of the situations you’ll be in won’t be on your mind when you’re packing. Well how do you plan for that? We’ll start here, with a list of the basic situations you’ll be in and some of those items that you may be in dire need of when you arrive.

Dorm room: Bedding, shower items and a carrying case, toothbrush, medicine (we all get sick and it’s never fun away from mom), lighting, fans, seating, small shelving units for organization, filing bin (for those important documents you don’t want lost in the mess on your desk), trash bin

Electronics: TV, alarm clock, phone, mini-fridge, computer, speakers, chargers, headphones, printer. NOTE: almost all are optional with the exception of the alarm clock. You need some way to get up for class.

Clothes: Fall clothes (shirts, shorts, light jackets), fancy-schmancy clothes, shoes, socks, swimsuit (we’ve got a pool here!), workout clothes

Classes: books for class, notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, desk organizer, long attention spans (not sure we’ll be able to fit that last one in the suitcase…)

Leisure: books, movies, TV shows on DVD, sports equipment (depending on your

Holcomb Gardens is a great place to relax!

preference), towel for relaxing on the Mall, sunscreen.

Last of all, don’t forget your great attitude and openness to new people!

Butler’s Hogsmeade

Butler’s pretty cool. I’d be lying if I said otherwise, and of course with any cool school, there come’s another important factor: Hogsmeade. If you’re like me and grew up with the character’s of Harry Potter, you probably accept the necessity of a place of fun and relaxation outside of the school grounds. And although you won’t find Butter Beer or Warlocks walking around you’re sure to find some interesting people there as well as drinks for those of age.

But for those under 21 a whole host of other options are available. Some of the best food in the city can be found in this area, and at affordable prices. Broad Ripple Bagel Deli, Yatz (A Cajun place), and Noodles and Company to name a few. What’s wonderful is how it’s an easy drive away. Bit of advice: make friends with someone who has a car. That’s saved my sanity on a number of occasions through the years.

I bought fresh basil! Thank you farmer's market, my pastas will be infinitely superior thanks to you.

A recent find for me was the Farmer’s Market that is ensconced away behind Broad Ripple High School. This marketplace brings the freshest products from the area to residents of Indianapolis. You will find a stand with the “Honey Guy” as I know him by. He owns a bee farm and sells, you guessed it, honey! Fresh produce abound, as do the finest dairy and meat products. Finally, I bring to you the best advice anyone can give you in regards to the Farmer’s Market: buy a crepe. But not just any crepe. The banana and Nutella crepe. Delicious is not your companion until you have tried it.

Takes place every Saturday from 8 AM-noon. Be prepared to wake up early.

Presidential Elections: The Digital Age

For those about to enter the college sphere, they may also be nearing another new realm that is much talked about: voting. This year hosts the presidential election, as did my senior year four years ago. I will never forget it, given that I was born two months too late to vote. Finally, my time has come!!!

In our rapidly developing world, technological changes are stark against two presidential elections four years apart. The first, President Obama managed to drive a hugely successful fundraising campaign online. Now, he is entering into a newer form of technology. “Technology 2.0″ they are calling it (they being me. Try and pass it on. Maybe Urbandictionary.com will pick it up).

Despite Facebook’s botched entrance into public ownership, it is able to simultaneously prove its undeniable and massive (if untapped) power through data mining. As the battle becomes more heated between the newcomer and the one defending his title (makes me reminisce about old-school wrestling) they will wring any advantage they can out of new tools. The focus shifts where the social sphere has made a shift towards in the last 4 years.

I only hope that these newer, more advanced ad campaigns do nothing to undercut the old-fashioned method of informing oneself on the state of the country, the records of the opponents, and the promises they are making to the country. Sure Obama can learn a lot about you, but does that mean he’s fit to lead? And the same goes for Romney. You won’t find me favoring one on this blog, but I’m hoping that if you’re reading this, it’s a question you willing to find the answer to: Who would be the best candidate to lead our nation?