Watch. Read. Present.

Tomorrow, the last day of classes. Always bittersweet–especially for those that have been inspiring this past semester.

Watch: The Band’s Visit, an Israeli film directed by Eran Kolirin from 2007. Touching, though slow.

Read: Zoomscape by Mitchell Schwarzer. A survey of the urban landscape from railroads, automobiles, and airplanes.

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Present: Food Trucks: Social Media, Experience and Location in the Urban Environment. A Visual Urbanism project that I am going to present on tomorrow. Not quite finished with this one yet!

At Task.

The very scary truth is that there are only two and half more weeks of the school year. While this semester has been relentless with assignments (hence a lack of blogging), there have been too many enjoyable moments to chronicle. Yesterday was Founder’s Day, and I think each year the one before is surpassed by the former. In the next two weeks or so, I hope to post about what I am working on, and maybe just some beautiful images of the campus from time to time.

This past week I wrote an essay about memory and the graphic novel Waltz with Bashir. One of the perks of a liberal arts education is that I have been able to read, watch, and analyze such an array of materials, and this is no exception. If you have not had the opportunity to explore Waltz with Bashir yet you must. I first saw the film around a year ago, and I have to say I prefer the graphic novel adaptation. It’s not necessarily a fun read, but the illustrations and story strike a chord.

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Currently Reading: Homemade

CrossProcessed Photo copy 2Now that it is Spring break I am spending less time reading for class, and more time reading for fun. Even though I love a good book, reading for fun means looking through cookbooks for me. There are so many good ones out there, each with their own story and killer recipes to be inspired by. Homemade by Yvette van Boven was given to me as a birthday gift last fall and I quickly made the lamb chops in a crust of lemon, mint and pistachio nuts (with mint sauce!) and the pear-hazelnut tart. Both recipes are splattered in my book, and I would make them again in a heartbeat. They were truly stellar. The book even gives you recipes to make your own cheeseboard, including the cheese! What’s more to love?

 

Currently Reading: The Lover–A.B.Yehoshua

CrossProcessed PhotoMore reading for class. This time it’s for my religion class, and it’s The Lover. Written by an acclaimed Israeli writer, this book tells the tell of a husband searching for his wife’s lover who has gone missing during the Yom Kippur war. Told from multiple perspectives, it is an engrossing read thus far. You would think that Israeli literature could be a bit one sided, but it is surprising how often it is critical of itself.

 

Palace Dumpling Spicy Noodles

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I’m sure many prospective students zip in and out of Poughkeepsie, leaving, thinking that the city doesn’t have much to offer. I also know students here that don’t get off campus nearly enough, or ever.

Both situations are a shame.

Poughkeepsie, and the surrounding towns, has a surprising food scene. Well, not too surprising, since the Culinary Institute is close by. CIA grads have open restaurants ranging from casual to upscale, but they are not the only ones we depend upon for good grub.

The best hole in the wall I have gone to so far nearby is most definitely Palace Dumpling in Wappingers Falls. You don’t go here for your typical chinese take out. There is no beef and broccoli on the menu. The place is so unassuming, it’s in a shopping mall after all, but they serve the best dumplings, noodles, and simple salads. Choose from pork, beef, vegetable, seafood, even lamb and egg dumplings–and then concoct your own dipping sauce from a mixture of soy, sweet and chili sauces. For a side stick to cucumbers dressed with a horseradish vinaigrette, or go with the more adventurous agadir vegetables, a type of mushroom, that my friend affectionately calls condom mushrooms. Call it how it is.

I write this mid-slurp of another hidden gem on the menu. The spicy noodles, a thick soup of noodles served with bok choy and bits of spicy pork. It contains tons of Sichuan peppercorns so it is spicy, but it’s really best the next day when the noodles have the chance to absorb all of the sauce.

I wouldn’t be compelled to write this right now if it wasn’t worth the hype.

Songs on Repeat: Beyoncé’s Diva

Last night FlyPeople (the dance group I am a part of on campus) performed in a Beyoncé musical. It was a sort of impromptu, campy sort of event with tons of skits, dancing, and laughs. We performed to the song above, and the turnout to the event was great. Sometimes I think Vassar should have more of these drama camp style events that are fun for both the people performing and those watching.

Thoughts on a 300th Post

In preparation for my upcoming 300th post I wanted to do something special.

I wanted to pay tribute to one of my most popular posts on my website, the chocolate birthday whoopie pies. Not only was this post popular, but it was fun to make and even more so to enjoy. I even brought them into work over the summer and shared them with a group of self-professed whoppie experts.

They were a hit.

But you know me, a recipe becomes quite boring if you just leave it be. It’s a winner of a treat, but for this post I wanted to change it up. I bought lavender oil and found some sparkling sugar crystals and set out to make a lavender version of my favorite whoopie pie recipe yet. But in adapting the recipe, it just didn’t work and since I was leaving back to school I did not have the time to perfect my mistakes.

And this gets me to what this post should have really been about. Something I feel so adamantly about is that it is always better to take a chance rather than play it safe. There is nothing gained from looking on without putting your whole self into something.Even though I have less and less time to update during the semester I have grown more and more proud of this little space I have carved for myself on the internet. It is nothing that has to conform to anything, or even my own expectations, it is just a space of imagination and of musing. Even though there is no recipe to go with this post I think reflection has as much of a place to be here.

And I’ll try to put less lavender oil in the batter next time.