:: Pedantic Platitudes ::

Greetings! My name is Sam J and I am a student at Harvard University. Perhaps this blog will present a little look into the mundane yet unique events that make up my life.
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:: Saturday, November 13, 2004 ::

Two Saturdays ago, I went to Manchester, New Hampshire! Although it was a very wet day, it was fun going door to door to remind people to vote. I was volunteering for America Votes, an organization not affiliated with any candidate. It was an annoyance having to get up so early that day, but the drive up was pretty nice; it was probably the last good weekend to see the brightly colored falling leaves, and the highway to New Hampshire is surrounded by forests.

In New Hampshire, we handed out fliers and talked to people about the importance of voting, and I got sort of wet due to the rain, but it was all in good fun. They also gave us pizza for lunch. We found out that New Hampshire, which was a "red state" in 2000, had converted to a "blue state" this election. Yay. That night was my room's big "Rocktoberween" party, and pictures from that fun event can be viewed in a previous post.

Last Saturday, I went to see the play "The Playboy of the Western World," which is a major cultural classic in Ireland, studied and taught much like some works of Shakespeare are in the U.S. The production was presented in colloquial Irish accents by a major theater group from Ireland visiting Boston for this month, and my roommate, who was born in Ireland, invited us all to go see the show because his father is an actor in this production! It was such an interesting play; I am glad I had the chance to get this taste of Irish culture.

After the play ended, we got to meet my roommate's dad. We then headed back to campus, where I caught the end of the 80s DANCE! It was so much fun. My house throws a big 80s dance twice a year, and it's very popular with everyone because who doesn't have fond memories of 80s pop culture, with big hair, neon colors, and sweat bands? We danced to fun 80s songs including Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," Jon Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer," and A-Ha's "Take on Me." They also had Pop Rocks, the most fun candy ever, but they ran out before I got there. Alas.

Afterwards, my friend and I went to a local Mexican restaurant to get a late-nite snack; I had a quesadilla. Yum.

On Tuesday, I worked with a graduate student on running a new psychology study. This one will be a walk-in study, so I won't have to deal with the difficulties of scheduling people to come in at the same time.

Later in the evening, I went to see the musical Evita, which was the basis for the movie of the same name starring Madonna. It was interesting to see what they changed and added to the musical. The guy who played Che, the narrator, added some humorous touches to his performance, but I missed the fuller orchestrations of the movie (as well as the song "You Must Love Me," which was written for the movie). Interestingly, Evita is portrayed as getting to the top by sleeping around in the musical more than in the movie.

The chorus, although large for a stage musical, seemed tiny in scenes such as when Evita gives a speech to thousands of supporters off her balcony. The lady who sang "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" was an excellent singer, too. "So what happens now? (Another suitcase in another hall.) So what happens now? (Take your picture off another wall.) Where am I going to? (You'll get by you always have before.) Where am I going to? (Don't ask anymore.)"

Since we didn't have school on Veterans Day, I was able to relax a bit on Wednesday. I went to a lovely luncheon hosted for affiliates of Leverett House (old graduates and faculty members). The meal started with a nice pureed squash soup topped with toasted bread. The entrée was lightly browned salmon topped with tangy cranberry sauce and supported by a layer of spiced spinach and a foundation of richly buttery rice. For dessert, there was a most amazing berry tart with a thick but crumbly crust in a lovely vanilla-lemon sauce topped with fresh whipped cream and a leaf of mint. What an extraordinarily tasty meal. During the luncheon, I conversed with a former student who is now working for a financial firm in Boston and a nice lady who used to teach Japanese here at Harvard.

Later in the afternoon, I went to have tea and snacks with various faculty members at this weekly function, where I (strangely enough) was asked if I was British. I had a fascinating conversation about linguistics and accents around the world. Afterwards, I went to dinner and participated in Chinese table, where we practiced our Mandarin Chinese. There was a treat of dumplings and scallion pancakes. Yum!

That evening, my friends and I watched a Bollywood-style movie musical called "Kal Ho Naa Ho" ("Tomorrow May Never Come"). It's in Hindi, so there were subtitles, and we were amused by some of the bad or awkward translations, which my friend explained to us. It was a long movie (three and a half hours!), but it was a lot of fun, and there was a nice "live for today" message. There was an attractive character who wears glasses in the film, and she was repeatedly referred to as "Specsy," so afterwards we joked to each other, "Hey, Specsy!" There were a lot of random and cheesy (but still incredibly entertaining) dance and musical sequences, including one in which the male lead begins singing the song "Pretty Woman" in Hindi (complete with a rap interlude) during a block party on the street, as well as another random one in which the characters danced 70s style and performed a song entitled "It's the Time to Disco" at a dance club. It's a pretty catchy song! That musical number really made my day.

I then visited some other friends, and we watched the movie Bridget Jones' Diary. It was a humorous movie, although I'm not sure if I'm moved to see the sequel, which is out this weekend. We then stayed after, chatting and playing Super Nintendo: Super Mario World. It was so much fun. I hadn't played video games in a long time.

Even though I had stayed up very late, I had to get up early on Thursday to practice the study I'm running in the psychology lab I'm working in. Afterwards, I went with my friends Alex and Alex to have lunch at John Harvard's. I had a "California sandwich," which had grilled chicken, sprouts, Monterey Jack cheese, and avocado on focaccia bread. I then studied madly for my midterm on Friday, which was not fun to take.

I spent the rest of the day writing a paper, taking a quick break to visit friends after dinner (which was Chinese food night with General Gao's chicken, dumplings with ginger soy sauce, and steamed bok choy, among other dishes). Lunch wasn't bad, either; there was a "Savory Spotlight" on apples, and they had nearly a dozen varieties of apples, from Fuji to Golden Delicious. There was also hot mulled apple cider and apple crisp.

After finishing my paper (and walking through the still falling snow - it started snowing today for the first time this season! - to turn it in), I finally went to day after an exhausting day. On Saturday evening, my friends and I wanted to go to Burdick's (an upscale chocolate shop) for hot chocolate on a frigid evening, but it was very busy so we couldn't get seats. Finale, the upscale dessert restaurant, was very busy and all booked, too. A small dessert restaurant that we wanted to go to was closed, too, so we finally settled on bubble tea (always a delight in my book). I got the regular milk-tea with boba this time, and that was very tasty. This new store, which just opened this summer, offers the best bubble tea flavors because the owner imports the tea from Taiwan. Also, it is cheaper and offers a free drink program for frequent visitors. Yay for bubble tea! We then went to my friend's dorm and chatted and ate frosting-covered cookies.

My friend and I then watched "Sharpe's Revenge," part of a British made-for-TV movie series (a miniseries of sorts) based on books of the same name. The historical adventure details the exploits of Richard Sharpe during the Peninsular War, and we laughed at some outlandish scenes and exchanges between characters. I think I may have to watch the rest of the series now.

Wow, this update is two and a half pages long on a Word document; if only I could churn out my academic papers this quickly!

Quote(s) of the Day: "Jesus is not a member of the Teen Girl Squad!!!"

"A party without alcohol is like a rave without E!" "A 'rav'?"

"(sneeze)" "Mazel-tov! I mean, gesundheit!"

"Laugh like a lady; then make love like a whore."

:: SL 1:46 PM [+] ::

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