Quick Rant on Questioning Authority

Published 1/29/14 by:

Questioning Authority Comic

My apologies for not posting a lot this week – I’ve been sick, and absurdly busy. February will hopefully bring some reprieve (and more blogging)!

 

I’m a huge sports fan. I like sports of all types and at all levels. I attribute my desire to watch sports live (at the amateur level) to sitting through most of my younger brother’s wrestling tournaments when he was a kid. There’s just something really spectacular about watching kids compete at athletic events when the only motivation is to win, and not a hefty paycheck. So, I was watching a dozen of my former students at our middle school basketball game on Monday afternoon, thoroughly enjoying myself. I had been sitting with some of my colleagues, but they couldn’t stay for the entire game. Upon their departure some serious heckling started to occur from a group of sixth grade boys (none of them my current students). Some of these boys had siblings on the floor, and others were just school super fans. Their comments became progressively louder, more frequent and negative. After suffering patiently through their “kill ’em!” commentary for twenty minutes, and noticing that the moms of the opponents were not impressed, I turned around and told them to can it. I sternly addressed the group and said, “we’re at a school; we’re not killing anyone! Say ‘get ’em’, or something else, but lay off the killing comments.”

 

It died down for about five minutes. Then one of the boys inquired, “why can’t we say kill ’em? What’s the big deal?” I had to compose myself. I was mad because they were ruining the game for me, and bewildered by the fact that 1) they thought this behavior was acceptable, and 2) they were questioning a teacher’s request. I told them that it was aggressive commentary and that there are better ways to express yourself at school. They were (relatively) quiet for the rest of the game. When I was in sixth grade (just 17 years ago), not only would it not have crossed my mind to question authority, but I wouldn’t have been (publicly) heckling people. I may have made some choice middle schooler comments among my friends, but I never would’ve been shouting them from the stands. I knew better than that, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why these kids don’t. When relaying this story to some of my colleagues they said I was lucky that the boys’ parents (who were in the stands, but sitting far away) didn’t yell at me for reprimanding their kids in public (something that they unfortunately have had happen to them). It’s clear to me that this world of ours needs an upgrade in terms of young adult accountability. Otherwise, the adults of the future are not going to be anyone we want to deal with.

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Valentine’s Day 2014 Wish List Items

Published 1/23/14 by:

Valentines To Myself...

 

I mean, if anyone is looking for ideas for me this February 14th, this is a good place to start. What are you requesting from your loves this year?
Valentines For Myself… 
Short sleeve shirt / Accessorize Bright Heart Fairisle Boot Slippers / Kate Spade slim wallet / MARC BY MARC JACOBS bracelet, / Tory burch jewelry / Blue toss pillow / Kate Spade dinnerware / Home wall decor
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Quick Rant: 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Published 1/22/14 by:

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My Olympic idol, Michelle Kwan, at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics

 

While I’m more fanatical about the results and winners of the Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics are much more fascinating, terrifying and awe-inspiring to me. This is mainly because all the winter Olympic sports make me nervous, and I’m too wussy to participate in them. Therefore, I’m really engaged in what’s happening because I can’t imagine somehow making my body do all of the things these winter Olympic athletes excel at. When I was a kid I swam, dove, played softball, and had a very brief stint with gymnastics. While those sports are grueling, difficult and require copious amounts of coordination, they’re fairly traditional. Whereas someone lifting their entire body into a triple axel while on tiny silver blades, and sliding around on ice is unfathomable. Someone opting to ski or snowboard up a half-pipe and throwing their body into the air to do as many rotations as possible? Flat out nuts. Rocketing yourself down an ice tunnel on a sled with blades? You’re certifiably insane. It’s these daring feats that make the Winter Olympics so thrilling – what’s that saying about the great unknown? Because I’m into it (from my couch).

Here’s the other aspect that makes the winter olympics such a show-stopper: a lot of these athletic events don’t have bigger venues. While gymnasts and track athletes have competitions that may not be as prestigious as the Olympics (but possibly more monetarily rewarding), most winter Olympic athletes don’t attend any tournaments or competitions in the same realm as the Olympics. In other words: if you’re a bobsledder, a speed skater, or on a luge team: the Olympics are it. This creates such a do-or-die atmosphere, that you’re literally fist-pumping for sports you hardly know any of the rules of (maybe I should just speak for myself). Unlike the World Series, or the Stanley Cup Playoffs where winners have 7 games to prove themselves, Olympic sports call for perfection on game day – one failed triple salchow double-toe-loop combination and you’ve just bought yourself another four glory-less years until the next winter games.

What events and athletes are you all looking forward to seeing this February? Who should I be keeping an eye on as the next “Gold medal hopeful”?

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Review: Pretty Little Liars’ “Close Encounters”

Published 1/21/14 by:

Pretty Little Liars Close EncountersImage courtesy of: AlloyEntertainment

My rambling recap:

In tonight’s episode we finally see the Liars venture into the great unknown WITH WEAPONS. Hallelujah! They show up at the Busy Bee Inn wielding hammers, field hockey sticks etc. They’re too late, but it’s renewing my faith in their potential to track down Ali, and not get murdered in the process. In no time Spencer is playing hardball with her dad, as he discovers her at Toby’s apartment. She assumes he’s there tracking her down, but he’s there to discuss Radley with Toby. We then find out via Spencer’s excellent litigation tactics that Jason has started drinking again, and was recently arrested for starting a fight in a bar. That solves the sneaking around that Spencer’s dad and Mrs. DeLaurentis have been doing…maybe?

Oh no, just what I was hoping for last season, but now have been dreading  finally happened. Aria picked Ezra over Jake, after his “morning with me, afternoon with him?” comment. I’m all for more Ezra screen time, but not if he’s a total creeper spy bro who potentially is the luminous “Board Shorts”. And Shauna shows up at the church out of the blue? I forgot she existed. Now she’s passing messages for Ali to Emily? Have we (as viewers) figured anything out about Shauna? I feel like the Liars dismissed her too quickly, and now they’re going to regret not having paid more attention to her earlier.

Shauna may have just earned a spot as a Liar – she lived next door to Ali’s grandparents in Georgia, and has been keeping eyes on Jenna et.al. to see who tried to kill Ali. That must be some bond that she and Ali had, if Ali is trusting her on this witch hunt. It’s quite fishy (per usual) that Ali never mentioned this lovely friend from Georgia to any of the Liars – especially Emily.

The Aria dumping Jake scene was excruciating because he was such a nice guy, but walked into a thunderstorm mid lightning. And Toby contemplating signing the plea bargain is dragging out that Radley story line even more. Sign it, don’t sign it – I don’t give a crud.

The Liars still think Shauna is on the A team after Emily reveals her church encounter with her. While it doesn’t seem plausible that this “out of the blue friend from Georgia” would move to Pennsylvania to hunt down Ali’s tormenter, Emily reminds the Liars that “Ali can make someone love her enough to do that.” Man, that just makes me want more Ali flashbacks – she’s the most fascinating character on the entire show. Her charisma and cunning ways around older men as well as her female peers is unlike anything else happening on television right now. I have to say, I’m pretty convinced by Shauna after she knew everything Ali said to Em outside of the barn. I’m not buying this whole “you have to see Ali alone” business though, but I am a firm believer that Emily really was her favorite. I’m glad that Spencer tries to talk some sense into Emily, because let’s face it: she’s still blinded by her life-long love of Ali.

I didn’t recognize that blonde that Ezra was conveniently berating in front of Jake on the street. She looked older? Anyone think she looked familiar? And Travis? Hanna physically attacking his face with her lips? She’s rushing it, but I kind of don’t blame her. She feels like crap, and now Mrs. Marin is concerned. Good times. Her mom’s advice to Hanna is solid, but Hanna is stubborn. Hanna is right –  it is her broken heart so mend it she will (whatever way she wants).

Now Mrs. DeLaurentis is on the board at Radley? THIS could get interesting. She could be the master puppeteer in terms of all the lovely ladies who have graced the halls of Radley. And who would’ve thought that Jake would be the one to warn Aria about Ezra? I’m sure he’s not the last person to do this…but maybe this will finally let the Liars in on Ezra’s secret.

I can’t tell if Ezra is lying about meeting with Maggie’s lawyer, but if he is, damn he’s good. And hearing Aria say that she’s so happy that she chose Ezra makes me cringe. And now Emily is dropped off by Shauna to see her long-lost love. I can’t help but find it adorable that Emily changed her outfit so many times to see Ali. And just when Emily and Ali seem like they’re going to team up with each other and rekindle their odd BFF-lover thing, Spencer shows up and blows it for Em. If looks could kill, Em may have just maimed Spence. Does this mark the first time we saw Ali being vulnerable? It was actually alarming to me.

While Spencer has always been the conspiracy theorist of the group, and is usually pretty spot on, I blindly trust Ali in this situation. Ali genuinely looked freaked out, and even though that whole “targeting Emily to divide the Liars” theory has potential, I’m still swayed by Ali. I guess she made me love her enough to be swayed – I’m no better than Em. Whoops.

The knives in Jake’s boxing bag? Shauna’s photo being set on fire!? YIKES!

Tonight’s episode had a lot of good set up, but that scene between Ali and Em was the best of the season thus far. What did everyone else think?

What could Jason really be doing?

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Recipe: Cabbage Dumpling Soup

Published 1/21/14 by:

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What better way to spend the Monday of a three-day weekend than cooking up some soup? This recipe from A Beautiful Mess had me intrigued, so I modified it heavily. Unlike the gals on ABM, I used frozen dumplings to make the process speedier. I also like a lot of seasoning in my broth, so I added a few things here and there. If you do not like Asian recipes, then I would avoid this soup because it’s heavy on oriental flavors. If you’re a huge Asian cuisine fan like myself, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t made this soup already. It was relatively quick (about 45 minutes total chopping and cooking time) and really savory. Enjoy, and please let me know if you make your own variations!

 

Cabbage Dumpling Soup

Ingredients:

Diced cabbage – as much as you desire (about 12 Brussel sprouts in my batch)

Chopped green onions – as much as you desire

1 large onion chopped (or shallots – I used both)

1 bag of frozen shrimp dumplings (this could be any kind, but I got mine at Trader Joe’s)

1 teaspoon of curry powder

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

Sriracha and salt to your liking

4 cups of vegetable broth

2 1/2 cups of water

 

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Directions:

-Combine the (regular) onion, broth, and water in a pot. Bring it to a boil.

-When the broth is boiling, add the frozen dumplings and cook for 5-6 minutes.

-Add the soy sauce, Sriracha, cabbage/sprouts, green onions, salt and curry powder into the soup.

-Let the soup simmer until the cabbage has softened (about 12-15 minutes).

-Serve hot and don’t let anyone hog all the dumplings!

Cabbage Dumpling Soup

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