Saturday, December 26, 2009

Home for the holidays...

I was scared too. Kidding. No, I was rather relieved. After a couple of rough weeks working on my thesis day-and-night, I needed badly to take a trip to my hometown to visit family and friends. To sleep in my old bed and cozy up with my old mutt seemed like the definition of comfort.

Comfort is also the many memories packed between the walls of the house I had lived at since I was twelve. Homes for some of us are our sanctuaries, shielding us from the rest of the world, so naturally we want to return to these places and feel the comfort whenever possible. When something goes awry, it's so crucial to have a reliable place to go.

Now when I go home, I start to feel a new urge. Is it a female thing to have domestic fantasies of how her own kitchen will look like one day? Basking in sunlight from vast windows and hovering over a stove on an immaculate clean counter? Did I just scare off any potential suitors? Sorry, guys.

I'm going to keep going with it though. Why? Well, because I'm at the age where these things fuel my dreams. Everyone wants a sense of comfort and style that is only their own and it's natural. I envision my home to be in a big city-the space is small but cozy and comfortable.

Stumbling around this weird thing called life, on my way to a white picket fence and eternal happiness (what else?), the notion of having my own home has settled right in. Something to lavish adoration upon that would be a loyal place to go when I'm cold/sad/stressed/tired or happy, something that couldn't exist without me. You know how that feels, right?

This is what I've been thinking about while I'm enjoying my time home.

My home won't be a place I need to travel to, but will be where I am (where ever that may be) and my family and friends will come to visit. Home seems like a dream for now, but is a reality I'm working on.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Love and Butter

It's time to talk to you about Love and Butter. One, maybe the only, underground restaurant in Boston.

Underground meaning:
1. You can only attend if invited by someone who has been to a past event.
2. The servers are local chefs who like to keep their identity secret.
3. The location changes.

The whole underground phenomenon has flourished in New York, London, and San Francisco for decades now. These underground restaurants are in a similar vein to a speakeasy during the prohibition days, but the difference is there is no illegal activity going on and you don't have to drink cognac out of a teacup. Although, if caught the Board of Health would and have shut them down due to unregulated food practices.

Enticed by its mystery, food lovers dine at these events with the promise of a unique experience. This is not a money making business either, an individual's cost is a donation of $50.

I have finally found my in. I'm waiting to get my official invite (which may take months), but will be well worth the wait to walk through a bookcase or whisper a secret password through a peephole.

When writing about this I must be discrete, for this kind of experience only comes once in a lifetime. After the Globe ran this article about Love and Butter their website disappeared. Some secrets are begged to be revealed while others are best kept secret.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A wonderful resource for understanding the healthcare reform is through the writing of an expert in the medical field. Atul Gwandi, is an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and contributing writer to The New Yorker since 1998.

His most recent article from the New Yorker can be found here.

My personal favorite by Gwandi is "The Cost Conundrum, how a town in Texas taught us about health care."

To read more.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The 25 Best Albums of 2009 according to Paste Magazine. Click here. These are some bold choices that I don't agree with. I'll try to get my top picks up by the new year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Albert Square

One of my great friends, Sim Castro along with his band mates, Byron and Spencer are finally getting the recognition they deserve. Check out their My Space page.



Click here to read article from The San Jose Metro.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thesis is Due

in 13 days. Crunch time.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Weird

...but it's my favorite Christmas song and apparently David Bowie's son's favorite too.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Renegade Lunch Lady, Berkeley, California

I would love to interview her for my thesis.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stuck in DC airport (Monday)

As a last attempt to keep my sanity intact when told that the next flight out is at ten pm and it's noon, I considered it but then decided not to do my Christmas shopping at the souvenir stores here at the airport. No packing my suitcases with unnecessary memorabilia. Here's the reason why.

At Dulles there is no exception to junkety trinkets, thus the slew of awful stores including the Fox news store and fuzzy yippy toy store. As for the higher end stuff, be it liquor and higher ticket items, you'll likely be paying more here than at shopping malls.

Even without considering my depressingly boring wait, it seems that you can find ways to entertain yourself and eat for cheap. During my time here, I did find out the trick to getting good deals at an airport. You have to know what to buy and where.


Here's a list of the things I did purchase:

Giant Pickle
$.99 each



Presidential Bloopers DVD (I needed a white elephant gift)$17.99


Bowl of Broccoli soup: $3.50


Pint ol' New Castle (750ml)
Cheap wherever the hell you buy it.


I worked myself into a tizzy in my attempts to find a new scent at the duty-free store. But, unfortunately, you have to be a foreigner or traveling outside the country to shop here. After a bit of a chat about my preferences with the manager, she produced the perfect scent (that she told me I could buy at sephora) and even kicked in a sample bottle.

My advice- beware of the little tchotchkes; they're overpriced and add up quickly and STAY AWAY from the little plastic China made trinkets they are often astronomical expensive especially at the airports.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Relaxing Travel Experience

Who was I kidding? I got re-routed from DC to Chicago, had to switch airlines only to find out that the flight to Cleveland was full. Could have been worse. Luckily, I'm in an awesome city staying at my cousin's apartment and going to the museum before I fly out to Cleveland.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Flying Out to Pennsylvania

I had the bright idea to plan an impromptu trip to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving and after a frustrating ordeal of trying to get friends to go for the drive out, I ended up saving my sanity by buying a pricey plane ticket.

Admittedly, I was pretty grumpy about a road trip (sorry, pals) as the idea of a long drive seemed oddly unattractive. This could be due to having spent much of my time on vacations driving to the destination and I'm a bit burnt out. Though usually once I'm on the road the lovely landscape of rural America, and playing roulette with my iPod (there are six different playlist I listen to while in the car) I usually begin to settle right in to the ten hour car ride.

Flying out seemed more comforting to me. I was thrilled to see that there were still some flights available even if I have to leave at eleven at night and return at six in the morning. The idea of visiting with friends and family is worth it and frankly, well-needed, but I actually expected a bit more for the price point. Thank you my friends, for your generosity and the wonderful offer to drive out with you! But I'm still looking for a relaxing-style travel experience and this time around in involves me flying.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Drink- Four Points, Boston

As evidence by their kabillion five stars it has received, the wonderfulness of Drink has not been lost to drink reviewers. I found myself sipping on cocktails made by bartenders dressed in fedoras, tweed, and suspenders and look more like a team of 1930's reporters than bartenders. And, oh yes, does this team really know their shtick.

At Drink you will find beverages made with the best kept secrets of mixology, here revealed: homemade bitters (including chocolate mole), freshly picked herbs, squeezed citrus (which I was told gets squeezed a lot on Fridays and Saturdays). There is plenty of bar and table seating. The bar wraps around the bartender so you can watch them while they shake their little hearts out and pour you somewhat of a fickle drink of cleverly layered flavors.

The staff adds to the experience, solid suggestions of what you should drink, the fact that they never seem to be scurrying you out is a relief at a place with such abundance of choices. If you get lost in making a decision, they will patiently suggest drinks based on what you might be in the mood for tasting. "I would like something bright and asparagus please...and make it with bourbon!" And what you will get? A well-made, handsome, thought provoking drink.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell, Eclectic Detective

In this article Steven Pinker writes a review on Malcolm Gladwell's book "What The Dog Saw."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Another Inconvient Truth

Al Gore speaks about his new book Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Global Climate Crisis at Harvard Bookstore.

Notes from "Practical Tips on How to get Published"

On panel:

Boston Review is a bi-monthly, general interest magazine with lots of space for poetry,
idea pieces, investigative journalism articles. Always taking in new writers.

Plough Shares Literary Review send in paper submission, not folded, paperclip.

Harvard Review- Publishes twice a year. Committed to publishing beginners and student writers.

Pitching- A literary review has a lot of readers. These readers are usually post grads or working currently on their MFA.
A lot of good stuff gets rejected.
If you get a rejection letter that says send more writing then send more!

Newpages.com = list of just about every journal.

Length of online journal 500-1400 words.

If you are a serious writer most get as much experience possible by writing in as many genres and get published in many different periodicals.

Query Letters-
Try to promote yourself
Be very honest about accomplishments and be polite
Make it as easy as possible for your readers to get you
Be clean
Demonstrate familiarity with publication
Pay attention to when editors change
Everyone loves to discover unpublished writer
Since for a literary review your submitting your work just needs to be short and simple
First line say what piece is poetry, book review, short fiction etc.
Date the letter
Never staple use paperclips
Address and contact info.
Do tell if you are a grad student

Follow-up if you haven't heard back in three or four months

Most importantly literary reviews are looking for a high level of control in writing.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Old Halloween Picture

My best pal Katie and I from 2003?
Photobucket

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Year Ago Today...

I flew back to the US from backpacking for three months visiting 24 countries in Europe. The day this picture was taken, I took a five hour train ride to see the Matterhorn. Unfortunately, the clouds covered up the mammoth mountain and instead of seeing just buildings in the background there would have been a gorgeous peak. It was taken towards the last leg of my travels. While this photo shows a tired and disappointed me, seeing this reminds me that I accomplished one of my dreams that I had never thought would be possible. For this reason it is my favorite picture.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

School Lunch

Friday I am going to a elementary school in Somerville to have lunch with kids and talk to the principal about what kids like and don't like to eat. I hope it's pizza Friday!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Pictures

Here's some pictures from Halloween in Salem, MA and the masquerade ball, Click Here

Friday, October 30, 2009

Drowning in Bobbing Apples



Tribute song from 2005 to help benefit UNICEF
Musicians included:

Win Butler & RĂ©gine Chassagne (Arcade Fire)
Beck
Feist
Devendra Banhart
Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)
Roky Erickson
Peaches
Dntel
Syd Butler (Les Savy Fav)
David Cross
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Jenny Lewis & Blake Sennett (Rilo Kiley)
Dan Boeckner & Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade)
Steve Jocz of Sum 41
Nick Diamonds and J’aime Tambeur (Islands)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Future Of Journalism

Harvard put on a talk about the future of journalism last night.
Here's my notes from the event. Here's what the Crimson (Harvard's newspaper)
had to say about the event.

What We Know
1. Journalism Matters
2. Current advertisement for newspaper models is broken
3. Economic sustainability is key
4. Multimedia is the future of journalism

9 Basic Elements of Journalism
1. Journalist's first obligation to tell the truth
2. Journalist must be loyal to citizens
3. Essence of journalism is a discipline of verification
4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover
5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power
6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise
7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant
8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional
9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience

My thesis topic

I am following an idea exploring the different options of lunches for elementary school-age children. My interest peaked when I read about the $1 billion overhaul that President Obama plans to distribute to better school lunches. I'm hoping to talk to people at several schools, and I'm writing to their principals to find out more about their programs.

My originally idea was about adults and nutrition, but my thesis adviser said that I was too passionate on the subject matter to write objectively on it. We both decided it would be best to focus on children since I don't have as big of a bias on this subject matter.

I plan to go and watch schools during lunch period and also to talk with principals, parents, government officials, and nutritionist about lunch program at their schools. I also will go and watch a parent shop for lunches at a grocery store, follow a cafeteria worker as she prepares food, and eat lunch with children during lunch hour.

Since no one has written extensively about the subject matter, and depending upon what I discover, I may seek to have my report included in a publication that explores educational issues.

Push-Up Challenge


Ever do a hundred push-ups in a row? Me neither. This website shows you how you can build up your strength to do it. Each week they increase the amount of push-ups based on your activity level and how many you can do from the beginning. I'm starting at week one and will do a hundred by the holidays.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Host

Sometimes, I admit, I need a fire under my ass to get up and do the things I want to do, be the person I want to be. ED2010 is a match for all young professional writers that want to "be journalists," but are not yet deep in the trenches of the business.

They host monthly events to benefit us newbies and get the buzz going about ways to break in. I recently attended a wine tasting event hosted by a young editor who started his own magazine called Wine Riot. The crowd of us were smiling and supportive. He shared his knowledge about wine and starting off.

Tonight is my event where I get to give something back. Basically, to be a member you host an event at your place, make food and have drinks. I feel good about spending some effort knowing it's going to entertaining guest and meeting people who would do the same for me. Plus the members are a dynamic, engaging bunch!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Editorial Assistant

Before I finish my degree, I will work as an editorial assistant for a writing professor. I will help in the editing and production of an anthology of creative non-fiction by Boston-area public school teachers.

Typically, an assistant does a lot of what you’d normally call secretarial work dealing with the clutter of office life. In the case of a editorial assistant, I will maintain communication with authors and editor, attending editorial board meetings, proofreading near-final copy and help to pitch the final product. Sometimes, there will be plenty of work, but more often I'll be on my own, which is why I shall make it a habit to get organized and have a checklist of what needs to be done and by when.

If someone is going to be a full-time writer's assistant, sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day, they might as well be writing something that can further their career. Though, I plan to keep working my other part-time position while working as an assistant. Therefore I don't think this can help my career goals as much as it is going to teach me how the process of book editing and publishing works.

There are perks. I will not be working out of a gloomy office or a house. I will be working alongside the professor at a cafe.

The project starts soon and I am looking forward to the experience.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Article I'm working on...

Does buying local products lower an individual’s carbon footprint? In recent years the idea of tracking food miles has been a way to understand the damages that come from importing and exporting foods from far away places. There are many reasons why eating local is important for a community from helping people stay connected with other locals, food is fresher, and it reduces fossil fuel intake. However, is reducing the miles that food travels really good for the environment? New evidence shows the carbon dioxide found in watering, fertilizing, pesticides, and growing crops and meat can be higher in some areas locally than if the products were shipped. Some studies suggest that it can be up to ten times more energy efficient to buy imported fruits, meats, and dairies than local products. In the following months, Wal-Mart plans to include on the label a tracking code of how many miles their food products have traveled before they get into their stores. This article is an investigation into whether buying local is beneficial for the environment or not. I plan to talk to someone in the publicity department at Wal-Mart to help understand why they want to track the carbon footprint on their products. I will also talk to those that oppose the idea of buying local as well as those who only buy local. I will talk with environmentalists who are researching the pros and cons of tracking food miles.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I finished my last pill of accutane today. No more seeing these silly images
scattered around the apartment.

Netflix

Technology is funny. As soon as I get set up with one thing I'm already behind in another. I finally got around to activating my Netflix account. Netflix will never have my heart, I love browsing the covers of movies at indie video stores and the strange guy behind the counter who can recommend me something obscure and thought provoking. Though, Netflix is neat...organized in Criteron categories by genre, country, and even what fellow Somerville residents are watching. What was I waiting for? Probably some service that allows me to watch movies instantly from my Ipod, cell phone, or other hand held device.

While traveling I asked the people I hung out with what are their favorite movies from their country. I filled my notebook with lists of movies and music to eventually check out. Surprisingly enough, most of those foreign flicks are on Netflix. After putting my six titles on my queue, I watched three episodes online instantly of This American Life and I'm officially hooked.

For those interested in knowing what is on the list. I wrote some of them down below:

Head On- Germany
The Class - France
8 1/2 - Italy
Let the Right One In - Sweden
12 days at the San Jose - Austin
Bananaz- Gorillaz documentary- England

Recommendations from my Persian friend.

1.Turtles Can Fly- directed by Bahman Ghobadi
A story taking place in a village in Iraqi Kurdistan on the eve of
the 2003 invasion.
2. Santouri "The Music Man" directed by Dariush Mehrjui
A movie banned in Iran, about a musician whose concerts are banned
and his struggle with drug addiction.
3. Leila also Dariush Mehrjui, about an infertile woman under pressure from her mother-in-law to let her husband take a second wife.
4. Ten- experimental film showing ten conversations of a divorced woman driving in her car, directed by Abbas Kiarostami.
5.Kandahar by Mohsen Makhmalbaf about an Afghan-Canadian woman trying to return
to her sister before she dies. Filmed during Taliban-era.
6. Offside and Crimson Gold- both by Jafar Panahi, both banned in Iran because of criticism of society lone feminist plot and about inequality.
Upcoming Movies..
&. Nobody Knows the Persian Cats by Bahman Ghobadi about underground musicians in IRan
7. About Elly

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Volunteering is rewarding.

Not only because I feel I'm doing my part to help the greater good... now I get to see a sneak of Where The Wild Things Are. Dave Eggers, founder of 826 and writer of the screenplay and Spike Jonze the director will be conducting a Q and A.

The first time I saw the preview my eyes filled with tears.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Here's a link to my published article on Terri Trespicio and her recent appearance on The Martha Stewart Show:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Austin

I'm hunting for a city with beauty and personality disorders.
This city has musicians, politicians, professors, and blue collar workers. I'm going to see some shows and do some rock climbing and other outdoor activities with my good friend Megan. My summer started late and this is the last to do before I push out my thesis.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rock Climbing


My skinny arms, lack of coordination, and weak ankles would probably not make me the best boulderer. Yet upon my first time at indoor climbing, I found out that the security from a harness and the rope builds different strength and that climbing practiced involves much skill. It's a game of strategy and to set up some good stemming problems is as stimulating as playing a challenging crossword puzzle. The levels go from easy to severely challenging. I am yet to dangle at a 45 degree angle upside down.

After palming several rocks and climbing to the top (50 ft) several times, my arms and fingers felt gummy. If it wasn't for that there would be no reason to leave. If climbing indoors is this rewarding, I can only imagine what it would be like to do it outdoors. I can't wait to find out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I found this podcast from All Music Considered interviewing
Thom Yorke about the music he listens to. Yorke's musical taste
is hard to categorize, but through the different genres you can
hear where he picks up certain elements in the music he creates.
Here's the link.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

My thoughts on success have changed in the last year. I conducted many interviews with people discussing their careers and found a trend in their thoughts. Few people in the deepest recesses of their heart feel like they are successful, I started to question my own ideas of what it means to succeed.

The whole concept of success seems skewed, even from the beginning with the way we define it. Webster's dictionary defines success as "attaining of a desired end." It seems the way this is defined and the way most of us think about it is in black and white terms, rather it is success or it is failure, good or bad. Failure and success work hand and foot and we have little to no control over these two forces. In fact, as William James stated this pursuit of success may be a disease of our society and if we aren't cautious it may cause us harm. "What the world giveth us the world can also take it away", and frequently does. The only control we have is in our response to failure and success. We need to understand what is real success and what's not. It's a judgment only we can make.

After completing my thesis in December, I will graduate with a master's degree in journalism. When I tell people that I am student in journalism I get the same response, What are you going to do even Pulitzer prize winning journalist are losing their jobs. It is realistic to say that I may not find a job in this field, however, all my hard work and the concepts that I learned will pay-off and I view this as a success.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rained Out

Charity softball game this weekend!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009




















There is so much fresh produce in Seattle from brambles of wild blackberries to garlic that bleeds a purple color and remains fresh for ages. I discovered a lot of these local goodies at Pike's Market. You really don't need to eat lunch with all the sampling going on here of everything from smoked salmon, dried strawberries, and honey with different vine riped berry flavors. If your belly isn't full after all the grazing I would recommend going to have a piroshky at Piroshky Piroshky. I had a potato, onion, and cheese one. The caramelized onions paired well with the goey cheese and soft bread. All and all, I didn't eat anything that wasn't in the category of being delicious.

After Times Kennedy Leak, Hachette Hires Private Dick


After Times Kennedy Leak, Hachette Hires Private Dick

Shared via AddThis

Labor Day Weekend in Seattle


I posted my pictures from Labor Day weekend. I spent it with my brother who recently moved with his family to work at Microsoft in Redmond. I have been missing my little nieces and this visit made for one wonderful trip. I also snuck away to go to Pike's Market with my Dad and to Bumpershoot where I saw Franz Ferdinand and Modest Mouse.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Losing It Over Softball. We lost 2-19

You know that cutie that you can't help approaching after seeing them at your favorite cafe sitting next to you, or in line at the grocery store, biking through your neighborhood -- that's my relationship with softball. I'd seen and heard about people playing before, and it definitely sounded fun, my buddies had partaken and raved about being on a softball team so I was intrigued but somehow didn't join until this year. Bash. And I am so glad I did!

We played short games then partied at the best dive bar in Boston. It was ideal for our big group as we had ample space to play darts, watch the Red Sox games. I was really impressed with how fun hanging out with employees can be. Not to mention my coach is simply awesome.

All in all, it was a fantastic way to spend Tuesday nights mingling with friendly spirited people and engaging in some kinesthetic activity.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tonight is our Championship Game.

The Upper Peninsula


I write this to honor the weekend I froze my ass off in Upper Peninsula with my two friends Laura and Colleen. The Upper Peninsula, or tenderly referred to by locals as the UP is full of natural wonders from sandstone rock formations to large waterfalls that you can hike to in a day. We hiked bouncing from one gorgeous site to the next, fresh air, and discovered Midwestern beauty.

These gals make all sorts of fun and silliness even on a cold weekend that felt like Boston in November. Colleen sang sentences as if they were Broadway show tunes while posing for pictures. Laura and I talked and talked about food. Most of the time my head is so fascinated by what's going on with these two, I don't even notice my surroundings.

Because of the bad weather our plans to camp out turned into getting a cabin. The cabin was adorable - I mean everything: tiny beds, mini chimney, moose and bear curtains and so comfortably. We loved our little cabin.