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Archive: July 2012

How I’m Hip AND Academic

I’m sorry if it’s rather haughty of me, but I can’t contain my ebullience any longer! Containing such excitement has left my heart distended; I have garnered a typewriter!

Remington Quiet-Riter

It’s a huge boost for my pedagogy, and none can dispute that. Recently I’d noticed a lack of inky fingers, a clanking metallic cacophony, and musty “old” smell in my quarters. Redressing the situation was simple.

Ways in which this will meliorate my studies:

1) People will know I have a typewriter

2) When I type, everyone in the house will know I have a typewriter.

3) The box makes a nice stand for books.

I can’t even imagine how this would have a downside! (Caution: Leaves hands cramped, fingers sore, distracts from work with noise, and often requires troubleshooting).

The idea that such technology is outdated is rather specious.

Summer Olympics: GAME ON!

It’s that wonderful time again, in which all countries can come together and openly express aggression against each other through the medium of sports competition. Sure weird things go on at these games, but that shouldn’t distract from the intense competition that praises the abilities of humans when pushed to the extreme.

Here’s my plan. With access to a complete schedule of the games, I will select two or three of my favorite events and follow them religiously. I’m thinking Judo…No! Shooting. Well hold on, there’s always Handball. Luckily I still have time. Then, for all of the other events, I will blow huge portions of my time on them. I consider all of Saturday and most of Sunday shot for this coming weekend. And I don’t have a single problem with it.

Already the soccer games have begun, and I am currently immersed in a South Korea-Mexico match-up. My destruction of free time has already begun! YouTube Preview Image

TDKR: Review

ALERT: NO SPOILERS.

Giddy with the excitement of smuggling candy into the theater, I sat waiting for The Dark Knight Rises, the new Batman movie from Christopher Nolan, my favorite director. Wait…maybe this was the real cause of my excitement. Yeah! I get it now!

Two and a half hours later, I walked out of the movie. If you had asked me what I thought, I would have told you that the conclusion to the trilogy was good…but, just good. I was baffled. Still am. There isn’t a single part of the movie that I can point out as bad but it just didn’t blow me away like the last one did. And who can expect lightning to strike twice? Who can expect to win back-to-back lotteries? Who can expect Apple to continue on like before without Mr. Jobs? (NO ONE. That’s who.)

Thankfully, means of garnering entertainment from the batman franchise still exist. YouTube Preview Image

And if that video doesn’t do it for you, maybe this one will. YouTube Preview Image

Come to think of it, I was remembering these videos during the new movie. Maybe that has something to do with my lukewarm reception…YouTube Preview Image

The moral of the story: if you like Batman, you’re gonna enjoy TDKR. Or anything batman themed. Nerd on!

Sushi: Indianapolis Style

Sushi Bar on UrbanspoonAfter expressing my love for sushi I couldn’t help but cry out with joy for the new Sushi Bar that recently opened up in the area.

Broad Ripple is constantly changing, welcoming the hip and new and exciting. This sushi bar went up in a building right on the main drag, between frozen yogurt, bagel sandwiches, and “burritos as big as your head.” The decor of the sushi bar is elegant in its oriental appeal. Bamboo panels the walls, swaying over dark cherry furniture. A golden swordfish hangs on the wall (that’s so boss, right?).

The food is fantastic in its range. Whether you want a few rolls of sushi (ranging from the more sophisticated styles at $11 to the simpler, more manageable $3-6 per roll) there are also plenty of dishes with noodles. From my limited experience, it seems authentic. At the very least it has avoided the run-of-the-mill chain sushi that Naked Chopsticks brings to the table.

I give this restaurant 1.8/2 chopsticks (equals 9/10).

If anyone has gone to this place and likes it, I hope you will go to this website and give them a positive review. I think this restaurant is a great enough addition to the Broad Ripple lineup that I would fight for it to stay. Check it out!

It’s An Adventure

Adventure Time. I’ve heard all about it. I just don’t understand it. I see it in passing and imagine it to be some kids show. It’s on Cartoon Network! Then I hear college-age students tell me, “Of course I watch it.” As if to miss it would be a travesty.

Finally I sat myself down and watched it. It’s still weird…but…I find it to be entertaining nonetheless. It’s difficult to explain what the show is, or how it manages to entertain. The main characters live in a fantastical land with magic, monsters, and non-sequitors that leave you splitting your sides while asking “what is happening?” Like any buddy cop movie has taught us, the relationship between two main characters can really make a show. Jake and Finn take care of that in this show.

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My final thoughts: I kind of recommend this series highly.

For more advice on shows to maybe watch, check out what the other bloggers are suggesting!!

Cars Cars CARS!!!

Cars are everywhere. Hoo-wee. LA traffic gives you an appreciation for…any other type of traffic in the world, I suppose. To give you an idea of what some Californians will endure, my uncle commits himself to an hour of driving in the morning and two hours on the way back to work. Every day. Every. Day.

Not just that, but when surrounded by cars and traffic, they begin to inhabit a huge portion of one’s thoughts. SNL has never said it better than through this video. (Note: this video is funny, until you get to LA. Then you see it’s true. Then it’s hilarious.) YouTube Preview Image

And finally a word on sleek cars. Wicked ill cars. Sick nasty cars. (These expressions are positive, believe it or not). Maseratis and Lamborghinis and Aston Martins are commonplace. Everyone’s always trying to outshine the others. The newest fad I noticed was the matte black finishes on sports cars that eliminated the sleek shine and left every car reminiscent of the bat mobile (Christopher Nolan style).

A Brush With Death

From a friend who recently visited Uganda, I know that in certain regions of Africa, everything can kill you. Buzzing or goring or biting, there is little that will leave you unharmed. Yet, she described with awe, the people are all happy.

I find Los Angeles to be that on a smaller scale. They have forest fires that can evacuate entire sections of the city, mud slides that crush cars and shut down roads, and earthquakes that split highways. Yet these people are the most chill people you’ll ever meet (off the highway at least).

Look at how happy they are!

The first time this vacation I was shocked by another source of danger: the black widow. Since childhood this spider has been blown up in my mind as a mythic creature of wicked mating habits and lethal to encounter. While helping my Nonno move cinder blocks, one scampered out from the hole, trying to avoid to detection. It’s body was corpulent, carried along by a flurry of spindly legs. Its body was a sleek black with the faintest shift of hue from jet black to a dried-blood red. A creature conjured from the depths of a nightmare.

“If you’re afraid of insects, I do it,” my Nonno said. I could only shake my head and laugh—an exasperated disbelieving laugh.

I’m a Foodie (i.e. I Enjoy Food)

We arrived to Los Angeles and immediately I found myself swimming in a sweet river of foreign foods made familiar through constant and unbridled exposure.

Sushi is around every block. I ate it at every given opportunity. California rolls were the favorites (how could they not be?!). But I also tried some spicy tuna. The best moment was when I tasted handmade sushi, lovingly prepared by my aunt, a Japan native. Bliss. Pure bliss. From there I went on to drink Boba tea, a style of milk tea in which balls of tapioca are placed at the bottom. It becomes a game of trying to get the balance between sweet, creamy tea and sticky bursts of tapioca that fit perfectly in the wide straw.

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl!

In Santa Monica I sampled Omusubi, essentially a ball of rice filled with assortments of meats and sauces wrapped in seaweed. Glorious. Because they did not quite fill up the appetites of a bunch of young males tired from a day of swimming in the icy Pacific, we then visited “Holy Guacamole,” a store that hits you first with a ludicrous mural depicting Michelangelo’s God reaching to man but with a Guacamole taco in hand, and then with the taco that makes the mural seem a little less out of whack.

And how could a trip out to the west coast be complete without a mention of the ever glorious In-N-Out Burger? A Double Double Animal Style with fries is all you really need to be happy. How do I describe the fries? Like they were fried. How do I respond to the claim that Five Guys is better than In-N-Out? With Laughter.

Old Made New

This past week I visited my relatives in Los Angeles and was able to see it with a new perspective.

A bit of back story: my parents grew up in Los Angeles. The fact that we live in Indiana has been scoffed at, gaped at, and upbraided mercilessly for years. It’s even worse when we tell other people. In order to stay close to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins we visit Los Angeles every summer. It has gotten to the point where I love the city without even realizing what the city is. All I think about when I think “Los Angeles” is good times with family.

LA from a hill

A city is much easier to grasp when juxtaposed with other cities. I am able to compare it to such cities as Milan, Rome, Indianapolis, and New York from recent visits. These incredible opportunities afforded to me in the past have changed me in more ways than I realized.

Above all, I think it’s given me a greater appreciation for food. See why here.

You see some pretty interesting architecture out here. It's like a unicorn sneezed out a house...

The Newsroom: Part 2

I want to get into the meat of how I love the direction this show has taken and how it carried it out on the first episode. But let’s look at some criticism first, and use that as direction. Scott Shackford from reason.com wrote this article. He’s not a fan of a number of parts of this show, including the paternalistic nature of the show, misguided nostalgia, and a failure to provide a realistic view of our nation’s newsroom/political situation.

I agree with a number of his statements (putting aside his self-righteous and pompous attitude that works with all of his rhetoric might to cast the show in an inane and uninformative light). What I disagree with is his approach to the show. It’s called The Newsroom. It’s not a news room.

The show starts with a girl asking a rather ridiculous question “Why is America the greatest country in the world?” What Shackford fails to understand is that this question was not spoken on the belief that a self-respecting college student would pose such a question. Like any successful story, this show is based on a character. It’s not trying to imitate reality, it poses as reality that is centered around the very real and human struggles of the character’s life. This question didn’t arise because it should have happened, it’s because it needed to happen for the main character at that time.

Shackford also points out “[Sorkin’s] tendency to want to write about important issues and say important things without having to take any sort of responsibility for getting anything right.” This takes me back to the point about posing as reality. Sorkin has made a daring leap to use real news in the show. It risks such criticisms. But what it also does is draw the viewer into the show and make us more open to the struggles of this newsroom. If Sorkin had created half-veiled fake news stories that clearly aim at real news stories, I wouldn’t believe for a second that Shackford would accept that. He is only concerned with the classical, pure-reason and fact driven news reportage. I’m surprised that he would even turn on a television to watch a bit of fiction.

Sorkin, like any writer, lives in the realm of the romantics. In this realm, it’s not facts or reason that matters. It’s the humanness that reigns, the ideals and bigger questions that are too subjective for facts and logic to dig their claws into. Sorkin has decided to meet the subject of political turmoil and general bickering and the effect it’s taking on the youth of our nation (as I’ve noted in past posts).

While I believe Sorkin is the master of screen writing for his precise and measured use of dialogue and the settings he chooses for these series, his expertise lies being able to confront the world we know through characters who struggle through every bit of it. It takes this kind of stepping back from real life to get a view of what’s going on.

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