Monday, November 7, 2016

Greetings 11.7.16



     Hello, everyone!
     I hope you're having a wonderful start to your week! Hopefully your midterms are all over or you can at least see the light at the end of the tunnel!
     Just keep in mind that registration is right around the corner! If you have any questions about what classes you should take, how to get permission to take a class, or just anything about the registration process, come stop by Boylan 3416! That's what we're here for!
     I'll take the liberty of posting Professor Natov's office hours if you need to speak to her specifically! (They are also posted on the door of Boylan 3416!) There are usually interns in the office to answer any of your general questions about the English/Creative Writing Major/Minor/Concentration!
Professor Natov's Office Hours:
Monday: 11am-4pm
Tuesday: 10am-10:45am & 1:30pm-3:15pm
Thursday: 10am-10:45am & 12:30pm-3:15pm

     Have a wonderful week!
     And congratulations!!! We've made it half way through the semester!
(GIF credit here)


- Michelle Cherian

News Briefs 11.7.16


Director of Moscow’s Library of Ukrainian Literature on Trial for “inciting [anti-Russian] hatred”


Natalia Sharina, director of the Library of Ukrainian Literature, is currently facing charges of embezzlement and dissemination of extremist, anti-Russian literary materials. Sharina has denied the charges, and her lawyer , Ivan Pavlov, stated in an interview with BBC News that he believes the charges are politically motivated.

"It's no coincidence that it's the Ukrainian literature library that was searched, and not a Belarusian or a Cossack one," says Pavlov. Russia and Ukraine have a complicated past, and relations between the two nations remain fraught: as recently as 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused of meddling in Ukrainian elections, and the recent Russian annexation of Crimea has put many on edge. (For more information, click here).

Pavlov and Sharina believe the Ukrainian Library has been targeted for political reasons, and that the offending materials were planted by official search parties:

“On October 28 [of last year], law enforcement officials came to the library at 8:30 in the morning. Only a member of our cleaning staff was present, and she let them in. I have reason to believe that they planted a whole pile of books on us, which they then “uncovered” in their search. I noticed that these books did not bear the library’s stamp” states Sharina. 

Pavlov claims to have statements from witnesses who allegedly saw Russian Police planting the books.

Additionally, Sharina claims that she was not given adequate medical treatment for dangerously elevated blood pressure while in custody.

If found guilty, BBC News states that Sharina will face more than a decade in prison.

***

MOCA NYC


In the heart of Chinatown, NYC, there is a hidden gem by the name of MOCA-- The Museum of Chinese in America...


MOCA was founded in 1980, and is dedicated to documenting and sharing the history and culture of Chinese diasporic peoples throughout the United States.

Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America is an exhibit that debuted in early October 2016, and will be on display through March 26, 2017. The exhibit is a unique amalgamation of sculpture, video, and audio that tells the story of how food functions as a tether to one's heart and home. World renowned chefs such as Philip Chiang (co-founder of P. F. Chang's) and Ming Tsai (star of Simply Ming on PBS) are among those who have contributed their own special meals, recipes, and narratives to the collection.


The other featured exhibit at MOCA is entitled With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America. This is a showcase of the often overlooked role that Chinese immigration played in the Shaping of America. It covers everything from the transcontinental railroad and the Chinese Exclusion act to mass media and Bruce Lee. As a semi-permanent part of MOCA, the exhibit is set to be on display through December 31, 2020.


MOCA is located at 215 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013.
It is a beautifully constructed, intimate location that a unique fosters cultural experience and encourages intellectual growth.
The general admissions fee is $10-- Only $5 for seniors and students!

CHECK OUT MOCA's WEBSITE for more info on exhibits, events, and tours...

The next time you're in Chinatown, perhaps you should stop by-- Learn how Chinatown came to be! :D

~ Clinton

Poem of the Week 11.7.16


Revolutionary Poetry & Dirty Laundry


As my News Brief this week implicitly suggests, I recently paid a visit to MOCA-- NYC's Museum of Chinese in America.

There are many poems covering the museum's walls. Though many of them are tales of theft and hardship, they are nonetheless beautifully constructed bits of art AND history.

Photo taken @ MOCA NYC (By Clinton C. Cole Yaaay! ... :D)

The picture above (taken by yours truly ;)) is part of an exhibit called With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America. An entire wall is dedicated to the laundry business-- one of the few enterprises in which Chinese immigrants could actually create businesses and/ or find work.

What I found most interesting about this particular wall was the poem I saw amongst the laundry paraphernalia...

(Also by Clinton! :D)

Words cannot express how I feel about this poem. It details the ins and outs of this particular brand of harsh labor. It captures the difficulties of trying to purge oneself of the hatred that necessarily comes with exploitation, oppression, and dehumanization. It tells the Tale-- The ongoing story of humanity.

However, the author(s) of this story, and the version(s) of this story are of some import...

As stated in the photo above, Chinaman, Laundryman (I must say that I find it EXTREMELY problematic that this computer [a Mac] recognizes "Chinaman" as an actual word. >_>) is a 1932 song by Ruth Crawford Seeger. 

Here it is...


(Call it a hunch, but something tells me that the highly Western, highly aristocratic opera-esque stylings of Seeger would NOT be the form that H.T. Tsiang would have chosen to have his work presented in >_>)

According to Wikipedia, Seeger composed this song, and another entitled Sacco, Vanzetti as part of a commission for The Society of Contemporary Music in Philadelphia. BOTH songs are based on poems written by Chinese immigrant H.T. Tsiang (Tsiang is not recognized as a word, but "Chinaman" is... >_>).

I find it quite interesting that Seeger's rendition of H.T. Tsiang's Chinaman, Laundryman is the one on display at MOCA... I also find it interesting that Seeger's version is SO MUCH easier to find online.

HOWEVER, after a bit of digging, I did manage to find the original, and it is decidedly different...

(The following images are from Tsiang's 1929 book Poems of the Chinese Revolution.)

(Credit-- Not me!-- Trinity College Library Moore Collection Relating to the Far East)

The most notable differences between Seeger's poem and the original appear near the ending...

Seeger omits "'The International Soviet/ Shall be his human race'!"
She also changes the 'brush made of Marxism' and the 'soap made of Leninism' to the 'brush made of study' and the 'soap made of action.'

First of all, I am upset by the fact that the plight of the minority must almost without exception be legitimized by a member of the majority.

Why must H.T. Tsiang's work/ words to the masses be mediated by Ruth Crawford Seeger???

Secondly, I am dissatisfied with Seeger's revision of Tsiang's work.

Tsiang's work was meant to be, and is largely reflective of his political affiliations. 
I don't think it is fair that his work has been forced to fit the mold of another's political mission-- Even if it is only manifest in the omission of a few words.

I highly doubt that Tsiang was credited or paid for his work.
I also doubt that he would have appreciated the watering down of his poem...

In fact, I would venture to say that Seeger's act is symptomatic of the very thing that Tsiang dedicated his art to fighting... The (capitalism-inspired) exploitation of the minority and working classes (both at home, and abroad).

(Thanks again, Trinity! :D)

Like I said...
Tsiang's poem tells an ongoing story.
OUR STORY... :(

~ Clinton

Currently Listening 11.7.16


Forces of Evil

My iTunes playlist probably contains the most diverse genres of music in history. I have pop, k-pop, r-pop (Romanian pop), Russian-something (all I know is it's Russian), classic rock, punk rock, alternative rock, rap-rock (why the heck do we have so many labels for rock), swing, electro swing, dubstep, EDM (electronic dance music), film soundtracks, Disney soundtracks, broadway soundtracks, video game soundtracks... I feel like I can go on ad nauseam with these genres, but I think you get the idea.

To be honest with you all, I have this tendency to shove my favorite songs in other peoples' faces (or maybe their ears) because I love sharing everything. I'm the type of person who'll randomly approach you and quietly recommend that you should try this new song.

If possible I would have wanted to share with you all my top 100 songs.

I decided to be a LITTLE (okay not a LITTLE... BUT, as my younger cousin would say, a "little-biggle") creative, and decided that I'd share with you all the first five songs that play after I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes playlist.

First up,

Vegeta - Super Saiyan 

Yeah, I like Dragon Ball Z. Bruce Falcunor (the guy who made some of the BEST soundtracks EVER for DBZ) deserves some kind of award. He's a legend. If you don't know who Vegeta is, just look at this. He's basically the dude who gets angry all the time, and somehow gets more and more powerful (as all the other characters in the show do) by constantly shouting. No matter what people say about him (heck, even I can't stand him some of the time), he'll always be my favorite character, and I think he has some of the best character-exclusive soundtracks ever. Here and Here

Anyways, on to the next one.




Okay, I admit it, I listen to Hollywood Undead only because I like their first album, Swan Songs. 
I mean, if anything, this is probably one of my favorite songs from that album. Why?
I like the lyrics... that and it's the least vulgar (I think it's one of their few songs, if not, ONLY song that doesn't have a swear word ((I think???)). Besides, I think the lyrics will really resonate with those of you who think their life is a mess. It might just heal you. 

MOVING ON.




I'll be brief about this one. The group is Caravan Palace, the song is Suzy, and this group has some weird music. They're a French, electroswing group, but honestly, I find their music videos much more entertaining than their actual songs. Knock yourselves out.




Yeah, I'm not surprised this song was number four on my shuffle. iTunes says I've played this song over a THOUSAND times. I've ONLY had iTunes for a couple months. This song, I Saw Her Standing There, by The Beatles, is what catapulted me into their music. It's from their first studio album, Please Please Me.
Honestly, I think I have an obsession with their music. If you like them too, well, just Let It Be. I've downloaded more of their albums then I have any other band.

BONUS SONG

 So let this one be the 4.5th song (or the bonus one) because I suddenly listened to this and thought to myself I HAVE TO SHARE THIS (because I have no idea how to describe the genre but just listening to it makes me feel POWERFUL). It's the opening soundtrack to the game Dark Souls III. 




Anyways...

The final one.



Out of all the songs I wrote about, so far, this one is my favorite.

This is all I have to say: Kingdom Hearts I.5 ReMIX. Forze Del Male. 
It's a soundtrack that plays when you fight Ansem / Riku towards the end of the video game. According to iTunes I've played this song over 4,000 times. Don't judge me. Fine, you can judge me but...

The definition of Forze Del Male is Forces of Evil. The words forze and male are etymologically rooted in Latin. :-)

-Onur A. Ayaz


Culture Corner 11.7.16


"Sak Pase?" "No, We're Not Burning."

Following up on Clinton and Kayla's last Culture Corner blogposts, I'll be continuing on to Part III of our language discussion. But for this week (get ready y'all), we'll be talking about HAITI CHERI!


Now, if you're a fellow Haitian or Haitian American, you've more than likely been forced to participate in a conversation that included at least one of the following: 
  • OMG, so do you speak Haitian?
  • You shouldn't be in this level one French class, that's cheating.
  • Oh you're Haitian? Sak pase?! 

Believe me, although its 2016, those days are NOT over. 

But my dear brethren, pa enkyete' ou! Those of you who've been brave enough to stand up and explain that Haitian Creole and French are two COMPLETELY different languages, we see you, we stand with you. 

One of the fundamental differences between Creole and French lies within their structure; Creole is broken down so much that its sentence structure is completely different from French, which has quite rigid rules. Sentences in Creole can be changed and shifted in ways that French sentences can't, and although most words in Creole are the same in French (though many also aren't), they often have different pronunciations and assumed spellings.

It's also important to note that Creole is a language that can be written many different ways. Creole was not taught in Haitian schools for a long time, but it's recently been reinforced in their school systems alongside French. Most of the time though, Creole is picked up by ear or by learning individual words and phrases, and because many Haitians grew up only learning French in school, Haitian millennials are the ones who've had the advantage of learning to write it. Those who haven't learned to write it, simply write how it sounds. To learn French however, one may start off with words, but will eventually move into learning conjugations and tenses, which almost don't exist in Creole. 

Because Creole has virtually no rules to it, its speakers have the freedom and liberty to pretty much do whatever they want with it. And though Creole is highly derivative of French, most French people wouldn't understand it. 

But in efforts to debunk some common misconceptions and confusions, let's get into some examples:

  • Where the French would say: Comment vas tu? or Comment ca va? (How are you?)
  • Haitians would say: Koman ou ye? or Kijan ou ye?
  • Where the French would say: S'il vous plait? (formal) or S'il te plait? (informal) (Please)
  • Haitians would say: Tanpri, but this depends on context. Tanpri is often used to plead with someone or to ask a favor, but s'il vous plait or si'l te plait can also be used. 
  • Where the French would say: Quoi? (Huh?/What?)
  • Haitians would say: Kisa? or (especially if you're about to get slapped) Sa'ou dim la?
Here are some similarities:
  • Voice
  • French: voix Creole: vwa
  • Wood
  • French: bois Creole: bwa 
  • Law
  • French: loi Creole: lwa
These translations all sound the same, but are written completely differently.

One of the most interesting things about Creole is the colloquial sayings and phrases that come out of it, often not having derived from the language itself. For example, the phrase "take care" (as in "to take care of") in French is prend soin. In Creole, you could say pran swen, which would most likely sound the same as the French translation (depending on your accent). However, Haitians also say teke, which can be considered a pidgin form of the English phrase "take care." 

So if I were to say, "I will take care of you," in English,

The French translation would be, "Je prendrai soins de toi,"

And the Creole translation could either be, " M'ap pran swen' ou" or "M'ap teke' ou."

If you think that's weird, it get's weirder.

The famous saying, "Sak pase?" "Nap boule!" (which no Haitian actually says) is understood to mean "What's up?" "We're okay," but literally translates to "What's going on?" "We're burning." 


If there's anything I know about my people, it's that we can be super innovative, and also a bit strange. 

-Nathalie 

Canvas 11.7.16


Costumes and Colors

Though this is not Currently Watching, I want to take a moment to highlight an aspect of many television shows, staged performances, and films, that I really have grown a fond appreciation of over the years. Costume design is an incredibly important part of the media we consume, providing another layer of depth to the characters that appeals to our unconscious mind. Rarely do we notice the finer details of certain costumes (unless we're actively searching for them) but they still have a large impact on how we perceive the character(s) and the world they live in.

In HBO's  Game of Thrones, Tywin Lannister is a stern, cold, and calculating nobleman who's very concerned with the legacy of his family. Michelle Clapton, who was the Head Costume Designer for Game of Thrones (Season 1-Season 5), reflects Tywin and his family through their unique costume choices.

Tywin and his family, of the House of Lannister, are often associated with lion iconography and a distinct color palette of red and gold. However, Tywin is rarely dressed in the stereotypical fashion of his family name (despite his strong ties towards maintaining it). Beneath is an example of the kind of clothing Clapton frequently presented Tywin in. There is a distinct lack of red in Tywin's attire which doesn't act as a rejection of his family ties, as much as it represents his character's nature. Tywin would do whatever it takes to maintain the political power of House Lannister and that requires setting aside the bloody crimson and adorning a more oppressive, mute, and callous black wardrobe. Note that on the interior of the black, rests the golden lion, indicating that the true heart of Tywin Lannister lies in his family's name and legacy.


One of the few instances where Clapton adorns Tywin in clothing of the typical Lannister color scheme is at the wedding of his grandson in Season 4. Tywin's grandson, Joffrey Baratheon, is the underaged reigning king of the Seven Kingdoms so it is safe to assume that the wedding of such a figure would require a spectacle to match. Tywin's character is presented in his Lannister reds for one of the few times at this wedding. Clapton presents Tywin as setting aside his political role as adviser to the king and cold-hearted politician for a more familial depiction of Tywin as the grandfather and Lord of House Lannister that he would undoubtedly be expected to represent at the union of two powerful families.



*Disclaimer: Season 3 & 4 Spoilers*

Even better, to adorn Tywin in the colors of his house reminiscent of blood at the wedding of his grandson carries great impact as well. The young king Joffrey is poisoned at his wedding feast, his throat closing up and blood pouring from his eyes and ears as his face turns a deep purple. Fans un-affectionally refer to this wedding as The Purple Wedding as a play on the purple-color Joffrey's face turns as he chokes to death. It also is a parallel to The Red Wedding, an event in the third-season of the show where Tywin Lannister orchestrates the murder of his enemies at a wedding feast (breaking guest rite and long-standing cultural moors within the universe). 

In the Season 4 Blu-ray commentary, Michelle Clapton highlighted that around 700 costumes are used in a single episode of Game of Thrones. The world crafted by George R.R. Martin has been brought forward by showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss which has allowed for an entirely new way of approaching the fantasy series to evolve. The world itself is brought to life not only through the characters and the acting but by the spirit of culture represented in the distinct outfits and costumes. 

Clapton herself has stated that, "I love to try and indicate the emotional state of the characters through their costumes, and also to indicate their influence over other characters and courts. Sometimes this says so much more than words" (1). Though Clapton was not brought on for Season 6 of Game of Thrones, she was enlisted to create and style the only daughter of Tywin Lannister for what I will only describe as her most prominent scene of that season.


Cersei Lannister who forever lived in her father's shadow ends Season 6 of Game of Thrones representing the same grim and harsh visage that Tywin Lannister was imbued with throughout the series. Her costume is fierce, menacing, and reminiscent of a warrior, all the traits that a noblewoman like Cersei has been denied her entire life. 

Regardless of the character, their costumes and outfits are highly capable of transmitting new meaning into the story that sometimes cannot occur simply by reading the text. As a viewer, we don't realize the kinds of color palettes associated with certain characters until they are challenged with a striking contrast - very much represented in the cyclical use of red and black within the Lannister family in Game of Thrones.

- Christopher L. 

Illuminations 11.7.2016.

 

An Itemized List of Grievances 

The plague hath strucketh.

As it seems, I too have been infected with a lack of inspiration, much like what fellow boylanblogger Rachel has confessed to enduring. She coined her ailment a "thinking drought(?)," where I prefer the more- dare I say eloquent- term "The Fuckits."

Please excuse me as I untangle myself from my cat hair and crumb-riddled blanket; I haven't moved in five hours.


Since I'm off of any creative streak, I compiled a list of my trivial complaints for your amusement.

Ahem:

1. Can someone please explain to me why sneezing fits aren't referred to as "sneizures?" I'll wait.
2. Why is it that disposable coffee cups, which are equipped with lids, still manage to leak?
3. How has GE not taken advantage of Jack Donaghy's idea for a dishwasher with a clear door, much like a commercial washing machine? I want to watch the magic box clean my dishes!
4. Why are breakfast tacos not fashionable in New York? Seriously: Tortilla. Eggs. Sausage. Avocado. Salsa. Case closed, put the bagel down (YEAH I JUST WENT THERE!).
5. Who looked at the initial design for flatform Birkenstocks and thought "Yes! That's exactly what the world needs!" ?
6. Is there an exclusive acting school for the CW network? Or is every actor contractually obligated to portray dramatic moments with blank expressions?   
 supernatural ruby katie cassidy  
  supernatural  

HULU tv superman watching clark kent 
arrow cw arrow
 

Explain, because this is not acting. This is styled posing.  

7. Why is it not federally mandated that public high school students take a course on how to file their own taxes?  
8. Why the hell is Election Day not a federal holiday? 
9. Someone explain to me why Donald Trump's "Pussygate" was referred in the echo chamber as "the final straw?" Really? Everything else he touted beforehand was acceptable how? Oh, and you'll have to expound on this without using the Bed of Nails Theory for bonus points.
10. Why can I never remember the current date but I can accurately name each obscure character on Game of Thrones (Yoren. Illyrio. Mya Stone. Locke. Mirri Maz Duur. Howland Reed Etc. Point them out, I dare you.)? 
11. What's the difference between butterscotch and caramel? I know I can easily google this but I don't want to lift my pointer finger to type. 
12. Why the hell is the Raindrop Cake so popular? It's just Jell-O devoid of personality.

And finally, can someone schlep down to my apartment with a half-gallon of Blue Bell Rocky Road ice cream? Oh wait, you can't. Because I don't live in Texas anymore. . . Yeah, Texans don't mess around with pints. We enjoy life.

-Em

Magic Hat 11.7.16



HEY!
I have no idea what to write, so I will put an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo!
From the hole in the bricks she saw three pairs of feet swaying back and forth, tickled by skirts whipping around the ankles with the wind. There was a roar as if a tempest had blown through and knocked loose the inner evil of everyone in the town, expurgating the shadowed horror from their throats with violent appreciation.  Children’s boots scattered in front of the window through which Tituba gazed. The light stomping and echo of innocent laughter struck Tituba as obscene when juxtaposed against the desolate spread of humanity left in the town’s square. She ran bony fingers across a belly not swollen enough for having missed her cycle these seven months. It writhed beneath her touch. The echo of an elbow skating across her abdomen like an axe chopping through wood.
This time tomorrow, she would be free of this place. Her birds had come and told her so. The doors will be unlocked to her. Though she wouldn’t be able to stay on this land. The land to which she had connected herself so thoroughly. Salem was still hunting witches, and Tituba was the only true witch in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. “Hold on, sweet boy, we’re to be free on the morrow. The soul of this land tells me so. You are to be born a free man. Your spirit speaks to mine even now, my sweet boy, my sweet Caliban.”
Tituba rocked on her knees through the night, chanting the spells sang to her in her mother’s womb. Those spells which were permanently tattooed on her soul through her mother’s love and magic. The same spells she wove around the heart of her son, only now just the beginning of the witch he would become. The nascent power behind her skin pulsed beneath her ribs with every sound uttered from Tituba’s song. She knew that some of the magic she covered her Caliban in was from the well of the earth, springing and reacting to her call; but the majority of this miracle erupted from her own heart and soul, overflowing her fruit with the ripening power of her love. Outside her window, the skirts and shoes no longer danced with the wind, but the stain of their dance darkened the hill where no moonlight could touch.
A wolf bayed her name in its song, and she sang back with all the fierceness she felt. John. It was her John. No longer man, passed into her wolf to protect her and their child. She sang back her song of devotion. Her call of freedom. Soon he could surrender himself to Mateguas and cantillate with eternity. The call of his song was a blessing and a blight upon her being, she bent around their son, swallowing her sorrow, but accepting her grief. Her grief was proud, and made its owner stoop. She propped herself against the cold stone walls of the prison and beckoned sleep to her.
As the sun kissed her face she eased back into consciousness. From the other side of her cell, the sound of a lock turning in place struck her back into her senses. She stood, anticipating an attack, calling the earth from beneath her feet into the viscera of her herself. A man nearing thirty or better, with a plait of shockingly pale hair thrown over his left shoulder, and a uniform designating him as a constable, entered the dank space, a handkerchief pressed to his nose and mouth. In a tone which was shockingly warm and polite, he said “I am to take you from here.” Tituba looked about him, feeling caged and fretting over the implications of his statement. “I won’t be going to the hill, Constable.” Tituba would raze the entire colony before she sacrificed her son to these vessels of hate. The constable lifted his hand in a placating gesture. “I am sorry, you misunderstand me. I am to escort you from the prison, Ma’am. You are being released. You confessed your crime and did so shaming the devil.” His lip quirked as though he thought the situation ludicrous. “I will escort you to the edge of this territory where you are to be left. You will be executed on sight if you ever return to this jurisdiction. Worry not, you will be provided three days of vittles and a skein of water. This place is so changed and charged with what it does not understand, so it fears. Thus, bad begins, and worse remains behind, my lady.” At this, he took a gentle grip on her elbow and ushered her away from the depths of the tombs only once removed from the oubliettes old torture, and across the greenery of the colony.
When they were far enough away as not to be seen, he removed a flask from the pocket of his doublet, handing it across to her. “Drink, my lady, you need it more than I.” Raising the silver flask to her lips, she sipped tentatively at the liquid. The sweet brandy swirled in her mouth, tantalizing and delicious. In it, she could taste the sunlight that fed the grapes, and the water that gave them life. She tasted the sugar that dripped from the seeds of the golden globes, and the maple of the barrel wherein it was changed. She breathed deeply, allowing the smell of the brandy to affix itself in her mind as the smell of her own freedom. The woods that surrounded them pulsed in recognition of her.
“Over that hillock of lavender is the end of this territory. This is where I must leave you. I will stand witness to your crossing of the border, and report to the magistrate that you are beyond the divide. I wish you well, my lady. You were more sinned against than sinning.” With that, the Constable turned abruptly and marched off in the way they traveled, his actions belying his words. Tituba watched as he took up to a run, and was absorbed by the forest. Looking down, she noted she still held his silver flask. How curious a creature is man? Tituba thought as she took her first step over the fragrant purple hill.

Currently Eating 11.7.16




      I have done the impossible: At the age of 21, I have finally completed a New Year's resolution! No, I didn't lose twenty pounds or fix any of my procrastination habits.  Instead, I finally appeased the five year old flower child I used to be and I stopped eating meat.

      Let me explain. After watching Fast Food Nation in my eighth grade social studies class, I wanted to be a vegetarian. I immediately stopped eating beef and pork as soon as I watched the videos of how animals die in slaughterhouses. I somehow justified eating chicken because "chickens are horribly mean".  As if that was a good enough reason. I kept this diet up for a year and a half until I went to Kerala during the summer of 2009.  In India, especially where I'm from, you either eat whatever is put in front of you or you don't eat at all.  So I started eating meat again just to survive the summer.

     I came back home and continued to eating meat because frankly, I felt like it was too much of an inconvenience to have any sort of dietary restrictions.  But I still felt this longing in my heart to cut out meat altogether (including the chicken)! The problem was that I had lost faith in myself.  For God's sake, my favorite restaurant was Buffalo Wild Wings! I craved cheeseburgers daily! Bacon was my favorite breakfast item! It seemed too impossible. Not to mention, whenever I expressed my desire to stop eating meat, I was bombarded with everyone in my life telling me I would never be able to do it.

      I don't know what changed December 2015.  I think 2015 had beat me down so much that I needed to prove to myself that I could do anything I put my mind to.  Maybe I just wanted to prove myself that I had some control over my life.  Whatever it was, I made a plan for the year on New Year's Eve.  I split the year into thirds (something the math part of me could understand).  From January to April, I focused on not eating beef.  From May to August, it was pork. And finally, from September onwards, I would stop eating chicken.

      And I did it. I haven't slipped up once! We've just come into November and I haven't eaten chicken in two months!

      Now for the (not so) currently eating! I've had many "last suppers" this year.  Food has always been like a warm hug to me.  I love food.  It's my greatest comfort.  So these last suppers were like saying goodbye to old friends (as dramatic as that sounds).

      Towards the end of December, I definitely had my fair share of cheeseburgers. It's funny, as much as I loved cheeseburgers up until this point, beef was the easiest thing for me to give up. I haven't missed it since 2016 started.

      For the whole month of April, I ate bacon every single day. My mom made me a whole pack of bacon and snuck it into whatever meal I could.  It was a bittersweet goodbye, but I regret none of April and my bacon overload.
(GIF credit here)


      In August, I'm pretty sure I went to Buffalo Wild Wings a million times.  Chicken was the hardest thing to part with, specifically my favorite restaurant of all time! If you ever go there, and can handle spicy food, I definitely suggest trying the Mango Habanero wings.  Every time I ordered them, I would ask for extra blue cheese sauce and about five glasses of water, but it was totally worth it.

(Photo Credit here)

      Another last meal in August was chicken over rice at the halal cart on Hillel Place.  LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I DREADED THIS DAY! Chicken over rice has consistently been my greatest comfort food.  Whenever I needed a pick me up after a bad day at school, I would always get some chicken over rice with a lot of white sauce! Please try it. It's delicious. It'll make your heart happy.  Trust me!
(Photo Credit here)

     This isn't a blog post about how not eating meat is the best thing ever. This isn't a blog post promoting a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. I guess, I'm just trying to let you know, dear reader, it's true what they say: you really can do anything you put your mind to! I know it's a dangerous piece of advice.  Please don't try to fly and think your sheer willpower is going to make you reach for the sky (Trust me, I've tried and it doesn't work).  All I'm saying is that don't count yourself out of the game before you've even tried! Give yourself a little credit! You're capable of wonderful things if you just give yourself the chance!
      This change has been a wild ride. The truth is I'm still trying to find ways to adjust to this lifestyle, but I don't regret it at all. I just thought it would be more interesting to talk about what I had chosen to be my last meals this year instead of talking about what I'm actually currently eating (Which is rice. Lots and lots of rice).

-Michelle Cherian

Currently Watching 11.7.16



                                  What Else Do I Watch Besides Netflix ?

                       I was never really much of an avid Netflix user until a few semesters ago. During the beautiful and wonderful month long vacation that we are granted from December and January, I found myself with absolutely nothing to do. One night (really morning if you consider the fact that it was after midnight) I turned on my T.V. and selected Netflix. 

                                                                      And Voila!



                             I typed in voila on giphy.com and came across this gif which confused me, but it is also relevant because it brings me to the next part of the blog. The actress in this gif is Blake Lively who was one of the main stars of one of my favorite shows on Netflix, Gossip Girl.

                 These are the shows that I am currently watching on Netflix in rotation:
           
                One Tree Hill
                Gossip Girl
                90210
                Being Mary Jane
                The Vampire Diaries
                How to Get Away with Murder
              
                As you can see I love television shows that are filled with drama! 


I love watching with a lot of popcorn because every show needs a fulfilling and satisfying snack to match the quality of the show. 

 But back to Gossip Girl, because if I decide to write about the reasons that I watch all of these shows repeatedly, I will begin rambling. 

    Gossip Girl (2007-2012) is an American teen drama television series based on a book series which follows the lives of upper-class teens residing in Manhattan's Upper East Side. In the show, the girls attend Constance Billard and the boys attend St. Jude's Preparatory School for Boys.



Each character provides just the right amount of drama to rake the viewers in. 

Here is a break down of each character and why they are essential to the arc of the show.

Serena van der Woodsen portrayed by Blake Lively is the 'it girl' of the Upper East Side. She is not the brightest of the bunch, but her mesmerizing looks constantly secure her exactly what she wants. Many females, including her best friend, Blair Waldorf envy her because of her ability to capture the attention of any male she encounters. 

Blair Waldorf portrayed by Leighton Meester is the 'mean girl' of the Upper East Side. She is immensely obsessed with social hierarchy and more importantly being on top. She is exceptionally brilliant at scheming and academics which more often that not secures her position at the top. Her extreme paranoia and need to overachieve at every aspect of her life gets the best of her. The man who shapes her behavior is the love of her life, Chuck Bass.

Chuck Bass portrayed by Ed Westwick is the resident 'bad boy' of the Upper East Side and is basically the male version of Blair Waldorf. He is a master manipulator and schemer but differs from Blair in that he is not obsessed with social hierarchy at all because he naturally leads with his charm. Chuck and Blair's love story is an important storyline, if not the most important storyline of Gossip Girl as it spans from Season 1- Season 6.

Dan Humphrey portrayed by Penn Badgley is also known as the "Lonely Boy" for the sole reason that he isn't even from the Upper East Side. He is from Brooklyn and is an intellectual in terms of writing and literature. Unlike many of his peers, he is attending this prestigious high school on scholarship because his family is too poor to afford the tuition. He is constantly at odds with other main characters because he feels excommunicated and disrespected which causes him to find another method of access to the top. He is one of many men who is hopelessly in love with Serena van der Woodsen.

Nate Archibald portrayed by Chace Crawford is the 'Golden Boy' of the Upper East Side and is best friends with Chuck Bass. He is sometimes seen as the male version of Serena van der Woodsen because every female he counters falls for him one way or another. Him and Dan Humphrey are at odds for Serena van der Woodsen's heart for many seasons.

There have been countless arguments on who Serena should have ended up with between Nate and Dan. 

Serena and Dan


Nate and Serena


Should the Lonely Boy or the Golden Boy have the It Girl? 

 For anyone that has actually watched the series, (I so hope that someone actually has), who deserved Serena more?

Now for the couple that is the definite epitome of coupledom of this show, CHAIR (Chuck and Blair)!

The masterminds of scheming, duplicity, and destruction of the Upper East Side are perfect!







I am love with their romance and their beautiful story! 

I'll leave you all without sounding too cheesy though I probably already have.



This is Kayla, fellow Trini signing out,

Love and Happiness.  Trini to deh bone!!