:: 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, February 26, 2005 ::

Since my last major update, I have seen Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas, a Broadway show, and dozens of vaginas.

Last Thursday was the world-famous Hasty Pudding Theatricals' Woman of the Year award. The Hasty Pudding is the country's oldest college theater group, and each year they honor one man and one woman in entertainment to invite and honor. The awards coincide with the opening of the year's show, which is usually cheesy and filled with puns and always performed by an all-male cast, so in effect it's like a big drag act with a plot and songs.

This year's Woman of the Year was Catherine Zeta Jones, so she was in town to receive the honor. This year, I'm helping out with the Hasty Pudding business staff, so I got to see the presentation. A couple of Hasty Pudding staff members hosted the show, and they made fun of the celebrity and made her do outrageous things, like singing a song from "Chicago" with new lyrics poking fun of herself or making her swordfight a la her character in "Zorro." Catherine Zeta Jones' husband, Michael Douglas, was in the audience, and after the show, he walked right by me.

After the hilarious ceremony was over, the Hasty Pudding cast put on a preview of this year's show. From the previews, it wasn't anything to write home about, but it was just a preview with a few musical numbers, so I can't really judge the show quite yet.

I then had dinner and went with a couple of friends to see the Broadway musical The Lion King, which is nearing its several-month long run here in Boston. I had seen it in the fall, but I had horrible seats in the very back of the theater, and I didn't think too much of the show, which usually gets rave reviews. This time, there were student rush tickets, so I decided to give the show a second chance. We were able to get tickets about halfway up the orchestra section, right in the middle, for cheap. Perfect seats, really. This made the show so much better than the first time. I had chills during the whole opening sequence with "The Circle of Life." The animals paraded up the aisles right next to us, and we had a perfect view of all the action onstage. I'm happy to say the show really does live up to all its hype. Just be close enough to be able to see what's going on!

On Friday, I went to a wonderful Chinese New Year celebration dinner at Adams House. The food was excellent. They had the usual Chinese fare such as dumplings and sweet and sour chicken, but they also had delicacies such as duck. They had fancy little pancakes, sauce, and garnish you could eat it with. So wonderful! After the dinner, my suitemate's Kung Fu group did an elaborate lion dance routine, and that was really exciting to watch.

Afterwards, some of my friends and I got together to watch Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade. I haven't seen the movie in a while, and it was even better than I had remembered. I love the final scenes with the booby traps and trying to find the grail!

We then went to "pub night" hosted by the school. It was really crowded, showing once again how desperately students need a good social space here. A band was playing, and those who were over 21 got drinks.

On Saturday, I went to my friend's birthday party. It was good times when we watched "The Future is Wild," which features experts from important universities talking about the animals of the future. It was slightly farcical because they were so serious about it, yet the computer-animated images of the animals that could potentially evolve (such as the Megasquid, an elephant-like squid, or the Flish, a bird-like fish) looked oh-so-silly. Apparently all the mammals had died out, so these mollusks and invertebrates develop mammal-like qualities and invade the lands.

On Sunday, my friends and I went to Chinatown! We were going to get dim sum, but we didn't make reservations (and it was so busy being Sunday as well as Chinese New Year), so the wait would have been too long. Instead, we went to Penang, which featured Malaysian cuisine. I'd never had Malaysian cuisine, so it was nice to try something new. I had a pearl noodle dish that was very delicious. I had it with a lychee drink! It even had actual lychees that were quite juicy. What a delicious fruit… too bad I don't get to eat it very often.

Because it was Chinese New Year, a lot of people set off huge firecracker displays, and

Graphic descriptions ahead:

On Monday, I went to my human sexuality class, and it was "vagina day." The professor had invited several cast members from The Vagina Monologues to perform in class. Since I've seen the show before (and even met Eve Ensler, the author), I wasn't fazed by the material. The rest of people in the class, however, seemed as if they didn't know how to respond. Parts of the monologues that usually get a hearty laugh or vocal response were greeted with silence in the classroom setting. You could tell they weren't used to all this talk about vaginas.

Like I said, it wasn't very shocking to hear material from The Vagina Monologues because I'm all about vaginas… no, really. However, what came next took me by surprise and shocked me. Nowadays, it's kind of hard to find things that actually take me aback. However, the film "Viva la Vulva" did just that. In The Vagina Monologues, women talk about their vaginas. However, Viva la Vulva had women talking about their vaginas… naked. Well, they were wearing big shirts, but when they shifted, you could tell they weren't wearing anything else, especially when their legs were spread wide. These were normal, everyday women… not models or porn stars, mind you.

Viva la Vulva then proceeded to talk about a woman who photographed vaginas. They showed her directing the photo shoot, telling the women, "Hold those lips open, like this," while she held open the lips of the model's vagina open with her fingers. The students in the lecture hall gazed in wonder and surprise at what was being shown in class.

The film then talked about pubic hair and shaving. So Viva la Vulva went on to show the women in the workshop shaving their pubic hair, applying the shaving cream and then using the razor and all.

So after watching the film, I had images of shaved pussies seared into my head.

Apparently, there was more to Viva la Vulva that we didn't see… the seminar where the woman taught the others how to masturbate. Alas.

During Viva la Vulva, many students turned away in horror. One girl in front of me turned to her friend and said, "How can guys like those!?!"

People left the lecture singing "Viva la Vulva" to the tune of "Viva Las Vegas."

Wednesday in the same class was "penis day." We watched a documentary called "Private Dicks," which featured men talking candidly about their penises and related issues of health, size, sexuality, etc. We then had a discussion about how different the reactions had been between the films from "vagina day" and "penis day."

The next Thursday, I helped usher at the opening night of The Vagina Monologues. I handed out programs and directed people to their seats. The show was great; all the performers were really enthusiastic and brought to life Eve Ensler's amazing work. I also helped usher on Friday and Saturday.

Quotes of the Day: "Know thy barnacles!"

"Mulan II: She already saved China, but can she save her impending marriage?!?"

"Wow, I had no idea pussy was so flexible!"

:: SL 8:38 AM [+] ::

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