Friday, July 20, 2007

Enough Already!

This is totally ridiculous:

Kids' Grief Counselors Wait By Phones in Case Harry Potter Dies

I am holding back a full fledged rant here but real quick:

I am sick of Harry Potter. If you're 12, fine. If you are 20, not fine. Please grow up. I am eternally glad that I (hopefully) won't have to hear about Harry Potter anymore other than stomaching the inevitable last two films.

I am almost certain that tonight I will be losing friends because they are waiting at midnight. Sad.

OK. Venting over. But real quick...

....Harry dies.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm Addicted to Guitar Hero

Well, not really, but when I found out that I could be a rock star in the privacy of my own living room while playing ZZ Top and Deep Purple, I was hooked. My brother didn’t really like that his 23-year-old sister was not more amused with things like books and socially interacting with people. Eventually I got bored, though.

I’m a pretty lame example, but I might go as far as to say that some people are actually addicted to video games. Like extreme gambling and drug use, daily life activities can take a back seat to the thrill of rolling the die just once more, getting one more hit or getting to the next level on World of Warcraft.

The American Psychiatric Association says no, extreme gaming isn’t an addiction, but I could probably name someone, or someone who knows someone that has missed school occasionally or gotten out of work, or not showered for an entire day because the mission is to finish the game. I can see how it’s appealing though… The ability to stop or restart a game whenever you want? To be another person for a while and alter your own reality?

Recently, Europe’s first rehab center dedicated to video game ‘addiction’ opened, set in the canals of Amsterdam in a 16th century townhouse. Countless tales of kids and adults dying from heart failure for playing too long and committing suicide are out there.

So…extreme gaming: addiction or vice?

On the Other Side of I-295

For the interns that have yet to leave DC this summer, this weekend is the time to get out and wander over the border into MD! Growing up in this area, one of my favorite summer events has always been Artscape. Sadly, I won’t be able to attend this year, but hopefully some of you all can check it out!

Artscape is a Baltimore arts festival where both local artists and artists from across the country are showcased. There’s everything from paintings and crafts to performance art like dance and fashion shows. And most of the art is pretty out there and eclectic so it’ll keep you quite entertained. Culinary art is also a part of the festival with a whole section that showcases international cuisine from local vendors. For you music lovers out there, there are free concerts with local bands and national headliners (I noticed Lupe Fiasco on the list) happening on the four or five stages located throughout the festival. And the best part is that it’s all FREE! For most specific details check out:

Now how do you get to the other side of I-295 to attend this fabulous event??

For you car-less folks (which I assume are most of you), if you go Friday after work, you can take the MARC commuter train out of Union Station to Baltimore Penn station (Penn Line). From there you can take the Light Rail shuttle to the University of Baltimore/Mt. Royal Avenue stop where the festival is going on. The last train to DC leaves at 10:10 PM and gets back to DC at 11:00. This will cost you about $15 roundtrip.

For the Penn Line MARC schedule:

For Light Rail Information:

If you’d rather go on the weekend, you can take the AMTRAK out of Union Station to Baltimore’s Penn Station & then take the Light Rail shuttle to the University of Baltimore/Mt. Royal Avenue stop for the festival. The AMTRAK will cost you more than the MARC (probably $30 roundtrip) but you can make a day-trip to Baltimore out of it!


A Brief Treatise on Socks

Noting the recent posts on the topic of pants, I feel we need to appreciate the sartorial contributions of pants' slightly lower, often overlooked bretheren: the socks.

Socks are not just a means of keeping your feet warm, or getting sweat off your feet if they're hot, or keeping your shoes from getting really smelly. Socks offer an important window into someone's personality. For example, how does someone choose which socks to even buy, much less wear, among the various designs? Obviously, one picks the socks the appeal most to them. It is a matter of aesthetics. So at the very least, someone's socks tell you a little about what they think looks good (i.e., their aesthetics).

Socks are also a means of personal expression, especially if one rolls their pants up a lot. As one who appreciates a sense a style, I salute all those who wear brightly colored, stylish socks. Just make sure they match. Or don't. While some people may read into your sock wearing habits (i.e., someone whose socks don't match is disorganized), your socks are still a personal expression of your own aesthetics, and for that reason, are a reflection of your beliefs. As such, your socks, whatever style (or however mismatched) they may be, should be celebrated. They are a unique, personal expression of the wearer's preferences, as should be respected as such.

Essentially, Socks are Awesome.
Here are some more reasons why:
1) The provide cushioning for uncomfortable shoes.
2) They protect my feet from sharp rocks.
3) If you put them on your hands, you instantly have mittens!
4) They makes great puppets. Or pets. Whatever you want, I guess.

So please, appreciate your socks. They can do a lot.

Different Perspective on the Middle East

A group of University of North Carolina students who are traveling or studying in the Middle East this summer started a blog called Tar Heel Travelers.

Now, I like NPR's coverage of the Middle East.

The BBC does a good job, too.

But it's difficult to find news that does not focus on militants, peace talks, the war in Iraq, or Iran's nuclear capabilities. There's a lot more to the Middle East, much of which is rarely discussed in the media. I think that truly understanding America's relationship with the Middle East requires something beyond the ability to properly pronounce "Ahmadinejad."

Which I can't really do, anyway.

If you're interested in the Middle East, I encourage you to check out the blog. In the last two posts, topics included overused motifs, the public portrayal of autocratic leaders, and ghost riding across Midan Tahrir. It's interesting to read the reactions of peers who are living in the region. Pretty insightful stuff.