:: 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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:: Sunday, December 12, 2004 ::

The Wednesday before last, I attended a Leverett House faculty/alumni luncheon. It was another lavish affair with flavorful food. I went to the reception beforehand at the house masters' residence, so I mingled with Leverett affiliates and retired faculty members. One such faculty member told me that he regarded Princeton University as a better institution than Harvard University, but I disagreed with that position because Princeton is in the middle of nowhere, so there are fewer things for students to do.

We snacked on mini-quiches and shrimp wrapped in flaky pastry (with a distinct sweet and spicy sauce). There were also bite-sized vegetables and mini seafood cakes, which would serve as a clever transition into the actual lunch.

The first course was a wheat roll with a creamy New England clam chowder that had hearty portions of potato cubes. Oyster crackers were included as well. We moved on to the main course, which was a delightful seafood-themed plate featuring a nice slab of broiled cod with a light crumb topping enhanced by layers of a refreshing slaw. On the side were two small crab cakes, browned to perfection as two nuggets of treasure.

Dessert was a light chocolate mousse (with small chunks of soft chocolate mixed in) topped with finely grated white chocolate and decorated with a fresh juicy strawberry. The strawberry was remarkably sweet, considering the fruit is out of season. The dessert was a perfect conclusion to a nicely-themed culinary experience. Table conversations included various topics including bicycle riding and the discovery of a potential genetic basis for religiosity.

That Thursday, I went into Boston to teach a high school class about reconstruction in Iraq. It was part of the Harvard Political Education Program, which I'm involved in.

On Friday, I put in several hours at the psychology lab and ran quite a few subjects through the study I'm working on. I also coded some videos on the computer. That night, I made and ate delicious dumplings in the house masters' kitchen. It was a lot of fun and they were so tasty! Later, my friends and I got together to watch the movie Dirty Dancing. It was the first time I had ever seen the film, so my friends were sure to point out all the plot discrepancies. Now that we've all seen the film, my friends are considering staging a theatrical presentation of Dirty Dancing, complete with choreography. Whether that will surpass the wonder that was Poltergeist: The Legacy - The Musical! remains to be seen.

On Saturday, I participated in an economics/philosophy/psychology study. I then ran some errands. That night, my roommates threw a "Decemberween" party, a low-key get-together with friends and hot chocolate. I was not in attendance for much of this event, but I did visit many other friends in addition to attending the "Wind Party," which was an event to raise awareness for a campaign to bring renewable wind energy to Harvard. It's another way for the school to further its efforts to be more of an environmentally-friendly school.

This past week was fairly uneventful. I didn't get much sleep due to all the work I had to do. On Tuesday, I watched the movie The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise for my literature and arts class about the samurai warrior class in Japan. Wednesday was the big Junior Dinner with special guest Harvard University President Larry Summers (he was the Secretary of the Treasury during the Clinton administration, so his signature appears on some of our paper currency). We juniors gathered in the house masters' residence and enjoyed appetizers including shrimp cocktails and mini crab cakes. Dinner included a salad with ranch dressing topped with bacon bits, an entree with grilled steak tips on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes topped with green beans and crispy onion strips, and a cheesecake dessert topped with a nice blueberry sauce and an amazing (I've never seen this before) cinnamon-infused whipped cream. I was very impressed. President Summers then spoke to us about what it's like to be a university president and then took questions from us on various issues relating to the Harvard institution. My friend, who created a super-hilarious online animation lampooning Harvard President Summers singing the song "Shaniqua" with a bunch of dancing white boys, got a personal phone call from him congratulating her on her work; she also got his autograph at the dinner. (My friend also animated the wildly popular "End of the Harvard" animation, the script of which was written by my suite-mate.)

This Thursday I worked quite a bit in the psychology lab and taught a high school class in Boston. It was a great experience. Thursday night there was a wonderful "holiday feast" in the dining hall with glazed duck, seafood pasta with shrimp, and a dried tomato and olive oil ravioli. The desserts were the best, though. There was the most wonderful eggnog, gingerbread cakes, and a crepe station with warm banana slices cooked in brandy and various spices. I topped my lovely crepe with vanilla ice cream. What an amazing flavor experience!

On Friday, I worked in the psychology lab, and in the evening I went to a concert in the house masters' residence featuring student musicians. It'd been a while since I had been to a music concert, so that was a very nice experience. There were desserts at the reception afterwards. That night, I went to a Winter Formal!!! It was a lot of fun. I haven't been to a formal in ages, so it was a grand experience.

My friends Veronique and Pragati and I.

The event was at the Harvard Club of Boston in the posh Back Bay district, and that was a spectacular location to have a dance. They had a shuttle to and from, and that was a good thing, considering what a rainy night it was. The main hall of the club had a huge banners and tapestries depicting the various houses and famous buildings on the Harvard campus. Every corner was decorated with beautiful Christmas trees, wreaths, lights, and garlands. I even sighted a huge gingerbread house! There were tables set up with such wonderful desserts such as cream rolls, mini-tarts, chocolate triangles, and a huge assortment of fresh fruits, cheeses, and breads/crackers. The music was so-so, but my friends and I still had a great time. Afterwards, a few of us went to the Quincy Grille for a snack. We chatted and laughed into the night.

On Saturday, I went to see the show Pirates of Penzance. It was hack night (the last night of its run), so they inserted a lot of inside jokes and generally made fun of themselves in a show that's already hilarious thanks to the comedic genius of Gilbert and Sullivan. Later that evening, I went to a party hosted by my friends. There were so many holiday goodies! I had way too many cookies, chips, and cups of eggnog and cider! The cookies really were amazing. I was on a huge sugar high. There was dancing in one room and mingling in the other, so I did a bit of both. 'Twas good times.

Quote(s) of the Day: "He's disgusting. He looks like a dick."

"What are you, a middle child?!?"

"OH MY GOD, did he just snort a line of cinnamon with a twenty dollar bill???"

:: SL 7:51 AM [+] ::

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