Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Few Links for a Quiet Night In.

After a lovely Thanksgiving break I'm back in Berkeley and eager to finish up the semester as soon as possible. Here's a few amusing posts from around the internet to let our holiday vacation last just a bit longer:

Hangover Helpers is a small business dedicated to supplying a clean up crew and snacks for the morning after. I really wish I thought of that as a post-college enterprise.

I just wrote a paper all about how Facebook is such a successful social networking website that it is truly transforming interpersonal relationships, and wish I could have cited this article on tangible Facebook scrapbooks.

I really want to go see Tiny Furniture, a new indie film about a confused young woman trying to figure out what to do with her life after graduating from college and moving back home with her dysfunctional family (even though I'm really hoping I'm not in the same situation in six months).

Monday, October 11, 2010

College Cooking Class: Beef Chili With Rice

The spices used to cook up this hearty meal make the kitchenette portion of my studio apartment smell amazing. I also got several of the ingredients at the 99¢ Store, making it an incredibly affordable dish that included six servings.

- 2 cups rice
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cans of diced tomatoes
- 1 can of pinto beans
- 1 can of black beans
- 1 can of kidney beans
- spices: salt, pepper, chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, oregano (or anything else you like, such as cumin)
- cheddar cheese (as much or as little as you like to put on top)
- 1/2 pound of broccoli
- olive oil

1) Cook rice and set aside. If you have a rice cooker, I am jealous. If you don't, add two cups of rice and four cups of water in a large pan, bring to a boil, then turn turn and stir slowly until the water evaporates and rice is fluffy)

2) Coat a skillet with some olive oil. Brown the ground beef and add a dash each of salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

3) Combine cans of tomatoes and three types of beans into a large pot on high heat. Stir in small amounts (i.e. a teaspoon of salt, pepper, chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and oregano), and then add more of which ever spices you prefer (some people like it really spicy!). Switch to medium heat and cover, but remember to stir occasionally.

4) Meanwhile, steam broccoli in the microwave by covering it with water and plastic wrap. Then strain in a colander and cover to keep warm.

5) Strain the ground beef in a colander, then mix into the pot of chili.

6) Do a taste test and add a few more spices if necessary.

7) Grab a bowl, add some rice, spoon on some chili, and sprinkle with cheese. Don't forget to serve some broccoli on the side to balance out the meal.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Power to the People? I Don't Think So.

Here's a link to my editorial criticizing Berkeley students' approach to the October 7 protest that appeared in yesterday's issue of UC Berkeley's student newspaper, the Daily Cal. Students staged a sit in at the library that disrupted people trying to study and plan to continue their "activism" through a pillow fight outside of the Chancellor's home next week further proving my point that this circus atmosphere distracts from the cause and makes students seem ignorant and uninformed about the issues at hand. Here's to educating yourself on the reasons why California is in such a massive budget crisis, and organizing effectively to increase our opportunities for affordable, quality higher education.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Back for a Quick Recap

All 2.5 of my fans out there must have figured it out by now that the radio silence on my blog meant that I was transitioning back into the school year. Starting my senior year at Berkeley has been more hectic than I expected. It usually takes me about a month to adjust to a new schedule, but I've already begun work on three major assignments due all in one week, and this has definitely disrupted my otherwise calm start to the school year.

Anyway, I'd like to share a few great links that have amused me during my study breaks.

You've heard of food yoga, naked yoga, hot yoga, and now there's stoned yoga.

Although I can barely keep up with the Sunday New York Times throughout the week, here's a great list of what books to read this fall (hopefully I can catch up during Thanksgiving break).

I'm really looking forward to going to see Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps next weekend. I love that the trailer uses the Rolling Stones song "Sympathy for the Devil" to show Gordon Gekko's return.

That's all for now.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summer's Coming to a Close

With just a few weeks left until school starts, I'm trying to squeeze in a few more adventures in the Bay Area before I visit my family in Los Angeles. Between working, interning, and getting tutored for a math placement test I have to pass in order to graduate on time, this summer has turned out to be much more hectic than I expected.

Still, I'm glad to make time to go to the fabulous San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. The theme this year is Tough Guys: Images of Jewish Gangsters in Film, but I choose to go to two very different screenings. On Monday night I got to see contemporary Israeli short films, and tonight I'm planning on watching a documentary. A Small Act is about a Jewish woman who donated a few dollars per month to an impoverished young boy from Kenya who later went to Harvard and became a renowned human rights lawyer. He later established a scholarship fund in her name to thank her for helping him. I'm eager to see how the cycle of mitzvahs (good deeds) unfolds.


Friday, July 23, 2010

A Few Links from the New York Times.

When I recently moved into my new apartment, I was incredibly lucky to receive an amazing housewarming gift from my parents: a subscription to the Sunday edition of the New York Times. I try to read as much as possible and soak it all in on Sunday, but it does tend to pile up on the coffee table and I end up reading various sections later on in the week.

So here's a few recent links from the New York Times:

This piece from the book review offers an excellent analysis on how multimedia and multitasking are affecting our way of life.

Here's a fashion feature on people who challenge themselves to wear only six items of clothing for a month.

If I could pick a place to travel, I'd certainly want to spend more than 36 Hours in Florence. Still, this whirlwind trip looks like a fabulous vacation.


I took this picture on a trip to Florence!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Few Links to Summon The Weekend.

After being sick for a week and a half, I'm finally back to posting a few links to get the weekend started.

I'm looking forward to checking out awesome art thanks to free admission at tons of San Francisco museums this weekend...

Here's the trailer for the highly anticipated film Howl, which covers Allen Ginsberg's obscenity trial over one of the best poems of the 20th century.

Finally, for all you bacon lovers out there, here is a creation to whet your appetite: a burger made of ground bacon. I'm torn between loving it and hating it, but you have to admit that it's creative.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Few Links for a Sunday Afternoon.

I've watched it since the beginning and am excited for the season premiere tonight, but I have to agree that Entourage has jumped the shark.

Given that the new iPhone was released this week, it's pretty terrifying to realize that phone companies are trying to cover up the connection between cell phone use and brain tumors.

Here's the trailer for The Social Network, the movie about the founders of Facebook.


The boys are back tonight.

Friday, June 25, 2010

College Cooking Class: Shrimp Fried Rice

For one of those nights when you need to use up a bunch of leftovers but still want something filling and satisfying, there's fried rice. The trick is to use rice that's been sitting in the fridge to get the right consistency. Throw in whatever veggies and protein source you have, and eggs if you have some, you've got a quickly whipped up yet delicious dinner.


- 3 cups cooked rice

- 1 cup cooked but frozen shrimp

- 2 eggs

- 1/2 cup frozen peas

- 1/3 cup chopped baby carrots

- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

- 2 tablespoons soy sauce

1) In a slightly oiled pan, lightly scramble the two eggs until soft and not completely done. Put aside on a plate.

2) Place frozen peas and chopped baby carrots into dish with water and microwave until heated through.

3) Let frozen shrimp thaw in a bowl of cold water.

4) Add some oil into a large saucepan and add the cooked rice. Stir around.

4) Add cooked veggies and eggs, then 1 tablespoon soy sauce.

7) When it is uniformly mixed and starting to get crispy, drain and add the shrimp. Stir in the other 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.

8) Mix well and serve. Chopsticks optional.

Shrimp Fried Rice

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Few Links for a Summer Day.

Holy Rollers opens this week! I highly recommend this fascinating movie based on the true story of Hasidic Jews smuggling ecstasy in the late 90s.

Is buying overpriced hipster duds worth compromising your conscience? We should boycott American Apparel for its disgusting appearance discrimination.

I just came back from a pricy Trader Joe's run, so maybe I should follow this man's guide to eating well on $1 a day...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

College Cooking Class: Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Tonight I'm sharing a recipe that got me through finals: delicious and healthy pesto pasta with chicken and green beans. It's a balanced meal in a bowl that has protein and veggies. I recommend getting the fresh Genova pesto from Trader Joe's, but you can make your own if you have fresh basil.


- 1/4 of a package of penne pasta (or any other noodle)

- 2 small, boneless, skinless chicken breasts

- 1 tablespoon pesto sauce

- 1 cup green beans

- 1 teaspoon olive oil

- parmesan cheese to taste

1) Turn on the stove and set up water to boil for the penne; defrost chicken in a bowl of warm water.

2) Rinse green beans and set aside in a bowl with some water.

3) Let the pasta cook on the stove. When it is done, drain in a colander. Place it back in the pot it was cooked in.

4) Cut up and cook the chicken in some olive oil for a few minutes on each side.

7) Heat green beans in the microwave; then cut up into smaller pieces.

8) Add chicken pieces and cut up string beans into the pot of pasta. Add pesto and sprinkle on some parmesan cheese. Add more parmesan cheese.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Few Links to Celebrate Summer Break!

I survived finals and am now starting summer vacation by visiting family in Los Angeles! Here are a few links to ease into the summer.

These tips on packing will help all chronic overpackers actually fit stuff in a suitcase!

I am obsessed with 30 Rock, but this news might be a dealbreaker...

Fans and haters of Sex and the City alike will appreciate this interpretation of the soon to be released sequel.

Liz Lemon

Who doesn't love Liz Lemon as she sings about working on her night cheese?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Few Links for a Study Break.

In the midst of studying for finals I haven't been able to post much, but I do have a few links for those in need of a quick study break.

Behold the $500 100 layer lasagna in all its glory...

Would you spout a racist quote for a free appetizer?

This newly-wealthy journalist doesn't need to worry about the collapse of the business model.

Keep up all the good work studying it'll all be over soon!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Meatless Mondays?

The city of San Francisco has passed a measure to persuade its citizens to forego eating meat once a week! The Board of Supervisors claims that one less meat meal per week will help people develop healthier eating habits and a more eco-conscious lifestyle. Say it ain't so!

Here's the thing: I love meat. Obviously, I respect vegetarians for their decision not to eat meat, whether it's a health reason or because they love animals too much. However, I don't think it's right to push one's dietary restrictions onto another person. I have lived in a vegetarian co-op, and the majority of my friends are vegetarian. I have learned to cook savory meatless meals that still pack protein. But that's not my full time choice, and I don't think a city agency should foist its beliefs onto everyone.

The measure encourages "all restaurants, grocery stores and schools to offer a greater variety of plant-based options to improve the health of San Francisco residents and visitors and to increase the awareness of the impact a green diet would be on our planet." That's all fine and dandy, but what about people who are just fine chowing down on their bacon cheeseburgers? I consider myself a highly environmentally sensitive individual (I recycle, compost, shop at used clothing stores, etc.) but cutting out meat from my diet is one step I think is taking it too far. If I enjoy eating something, I shouldn't have to give it up because self-righteous vegetarians think their lifestyle is more environmentally friendly than mine.

Here's to being open minded about food, and looking at other ways to incorporate food sustainability that don't necessarily involve eliminating the most delicious source of protein: meat.

Corned Beef

Hey, it's part of my Jewish heritage to eat corned beef sandwiches!

p.s. Here's one food item I'm fine with outlawing: rare coffee beans found in animal dung...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

TCM Classic Film Festival.

I wish I was visiting Los Angeles next weekend! April 22 to 25 marks the first annual Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival, which will show exceptional films on the big screen.

I grew up watching TCM pretty much since I was in pre-school most of our family videotapes of old black and white movies began with host Robert Osborne introducing a film with juicy tidbits. I could explain obscure trivia and hum the TCM commercial jingles. As my dad likes to tell people, "My daughter grew up on TCM." I'm sure it was unusual for such a young kid to prefer watching Monkey Business over an animated Disney film, but I'm grateful I was exposed to quality movies when I was so little.

Although the ticket price is steep ($499 for one of the lower end packages), individual movie screenings are $20 apiece and $10 for students. I'm sad to miss out on seeing The Graduate or Singin' in the Rain on the big screen, but hopefully others will enjoy this fabulous four day festival celebrating classic movies!

Nick and Nora.

The Thin Man series is one my favorites!

Nick and Nora are an excellent drunk detective duo.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Berkeley: Always A Protest, Rarely A Point.

One of the reasons I chose to attend UC Berkeley was because of the university's role in the Free Speech Movement. I thought it would be amazing to go to college on a progressive campus with like-minded individuals. I was wrong.

I am very liberal, but there must be something in the organic granola, because it seems like all Berkeley students do is protest about every single cause under the sun. I'm all for civil rights, fair labor laws, pro-choice ideals, and several other important political issues. But this doesn't mean I want to hear about them constantly, like when I'm innocently eating lunch on campus and trying to take a break from the chaos.

This is why I try to avoid Sproul Plaza at all costs. Sproul is the main site of the Free Speech Movement, where Mario Savio boldly led teach-ins and civil rights protestors tried to speak out for change. Today it is the main stomping ground for myriad daily protests concerning bullshit causes, and student groups trying to recruit you/sell you stuff.

I wish the Berkeley I attend was more like Berkeley in the 1960s, but it is anything but. It is much more of an excuse for people to shout about anything they are angry about instead of organizing around a valid cause. I mean, is it really necessary to vandalize our chancellor's on-campus mansion because you're pissed about budget cuts? That lovely protest will cost nearly $14,00 in damages, even though the University of California clearly lacks a rainy day fund. It's frustrating, but it's Berkeley.

This is why Go Back to Berkeley is so hilarious. Apologies to militant vegans, Birkenstock-wearing hippies, and slow food enthusiasts, but this website knows what's up.


A more serene view of campus.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Few Links for a Rainy Day.

For some laughs during Passover, hear Old Jews Telling Jokes.

To count down to a heart attack, check out this no-bread meaty sandwich concoction.

And if you're in the mood to watch the most indie film trailer I've seen this year, here's an interesting take on breaking up while staying together.

p.s. Today I had my first ever Easter brunch complete with ham and scalloped potatoes. It was delicious!

Ham and Potatoes.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Break in New Orleans!

This year I'm spending spring break in New Orleans on a trip to literally rebuild homes, tutor middle school kids, and explore an entirely new culture! I'm very excited to be in one of the most exciting cities in America, and I really hope that I can appreciate the wonderful food, sights, and music of the Big Easy.

One of the reasons I'm on this trip is because although Hurricane Katrina was over five years ago, major parts of New Orleans have not recovered yet, and I want to do my part to help rebuild this amazing place. At the same time, I want to forget about the tragic elements of New Orleans and really enjoy all the city has to offer, because it has such a rich history that I want to experience.

Here's to helping to rebuild, eating beignets at Cafe du Monde, and listening to jazz!

French Quarter

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cake vs. Pie Contest.

As a major dessert connoisseur, I love to be adventurous and try new things. At the same time, it's usually something simple and chocolatey that hits the spot. One of my favorite blogs, Jezebel, is currently having a contest between two tasty desserts: cake and pie. Although my favorite desserts are chocolate covered strawberries and ice cream brownie sundaes, I still love cake and pie, so I realize how the cake vs. pie tournament certainly creates a dilemma for anyone with a sweet tooth. On the one hand, a decadent piece of chocolate cake with the perfect amount of gooey frosting is the clear winner. On the other hand, in the summertime I always enjoy a delicious slice of strawberry pie with fresh whipped cream. Click here to participate in the pie vs. cake showdown!



Saturday, March 20, 2010

Media Fasts.

Yes, I have an iPhone. And a laptop. And an iPod. And a TV. But that's not so different from most college students these days, and most adults as well. One professor from the University of Minnesota thinks my generation's dependency on electronics has spiraled out of control, and her solution is to assign college students media fasts.

Media fasts are when people are told not to use "media or gadgets that didn't exist before 1984," which pretty much includes all tech devices we're accustomed to using every day. I think this idea is completely ridiculous. Yes, studies have shown that the abundance of technological gadgets has lead to decreased attention spans. Yes, although I don't take my laptop to class, I do notice that everyone else around me is on Facebook instead of frantically taking notes on the lecture. Yes, just last week a man was killed in a freak accident because he was listening to his iPod and didn't hear an emergency plane landing.

These are all reasons for us to take a step back to limit our use of technology, but closing ourselves off completely is a rash and unnecessary measure. It's far more important to continue to use these products while also attempting to educate ourselves about their impact in our lives. So instead of a weeklong media fast in which people would not be able to use cell phones or computers, how about having one night per week in which a group of housemates did not have to give up these modern necessities, but chose to hang out together doing something that did not involve Guitar Hero marathons or Nintendo Wii? It's certainly still possible to be tech savvy, enjoy our modern marvels, and still appreciate the moments in life in which we aren't constantly reaching for our iPhones to see if we got a text.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Champagne & Cupcakes.

Yesterday I had a small get together to celebrate my 20th birthday. It was a champagne and cupcakes themed late afternoon cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres, dessert, and some bubbly. Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes. I had a great birthday weekend!

Birthday Girl

Champagne & Cupcakes

Friday, March 12, 2010

Obsession: Secret Diary of a Call Girl

I have to confess that I am absolutely obsessed with the Secret Diary of a Call Girl, a show based on the anonymous blog and books chronicling the life of a high end escort as she gallivants through London. Originally shown in England but picked up by Showtime picked in 2007, I have been obsessed ever since the series premiere. When I was home last weekend I watched almost all of the third season in one sitting (hey, each episode is only about 20 minutes), and I watched the amazing season finale last night.

Why am I obsessed with a show about a hooker? First of all, it's written in such a captivating way that allows the audience to understand how secrecy and money could prompt a young woman to live such a scandalous life. The main character leads two double lives: the first as Hannah Baxter, who works as a nighttime legal secretary, at least according to her family and friends. The second is Belle du Jour, a sophisticated and high class call girl who satisfies every client's deviant whim. What makes the show so interesting is how she balances being both Hannah and Belle even when her secret life often clashes with her personal life.

It's also fascinating how Hannah, an educated girl with a college degree, decides she cannot fathom working in a stifling cubicle from 9 to 5, so she would rather experience a luxurious yet explicit lifestyle of pampering herself and engaging in her favorite hobby for her job. Hannah is a warm and compassionate person, but instead of utilizing those skills by becoming a teacher or doctor, she chooses to become a sex worker. But she must keep this secret from everyone she cares about most, except her incredibly supportive best friend Ben, a nice Jewish boy who also happens to be in love with her.

Similar to Sex and the City, the show includes frequent introspective voiceovers and frenzied writing montages, and of course features fabulous hair, makeup, clothes, and shoes. It also has fantastic music by indie artists such as Feist and Regina Spektor.

The craziest thing about Secret Diary of a Call Girl is that the real life call girl the show is based on revealed her identity a few months ago. Brooke Magnanti is a scientist who now specializes in cancer research. She paid her way while getting her PhD by working as a call girl in London. So when she did finally settle down to a 9 to 5 job, she choose a very worthwhile career.

If I haven't convinced you by now, I highly recommend watching this show! Enjoy.

Secret Diary of a Call Girl

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Back to Berkeley.

I'm adjusting to being back in Berkeley after a wonderful whirlwind weekend in Los Angeles. I had an amazing time visiting my family, enjoying an early birthday celebration, and just getting the opportunity to relax at home. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and it always makes me realize how spoiled I was to grow up in LA with almost 365 days of sunshine per year. I think the Los Angeles skyline is the most breathtaking sight, even if others think it's just a bunch of tall buildings, seeing and appreciating it is an essential part about going home.

Los Angeles

When I was home in LA, I especially enjoyed watching old movies with my dad, including Casablanca. It's such a classic film, yet most of my friends have never seen it. I really recommend it – I'll watch it over and over again! It was a fun distraction from the films I'm watching for my film class this semester that focuses on race in American film during the 20th century. We're watching incredibly depressing and intense films, so I'm looking forward to later in the semester when we'll watch The Godfather, another of my absolute favorites.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

College Cooking Class: Chicken Parmesan

Tonight's recipe is chicken parmesan with spaghetti. Chicken parmesan is one of my favorite meals, but I have never actually tasted a version made with parmesan, it's always with mozzarella. I have continued that nonsensical tradition, but mixed things up by using boneless skinless chicken breast, which is much healthier than the typical breaded and fried recipes.

- 1/4 of a package of spaghetti (or any other noodle)
- 2 small, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/3 jar of marinara sauce
- 1 oz. mozarella cheese, preferably a string cheese
- 1 cup green beans
- olive oil

1) Turn on the stove and set up water to boil for spaghetti; defrost chicken in a bowl of warm water.

2) Rinse green beans and set aside in a bowl with some water. Cut up the mozarella cheese into small pieces.

3) Let spaghetti cook on the stove. When spaghetti is done, drain in a colander. Place it back in the pot it was cooked in, and add marinara sauce.

4) Cook the chicken in some olive oil for a few minutes on each side. When chicken is almost done, add some marinara sauce into the pan. Once marinara sauce has coated the chicken completely, add cut up chunks of mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce-covered chicken.

7) Heat green beans in the microwave to serve on the side.

8) Put spaghetti on a plate and place the chicken on top. Sprinkle on some parmesan cheese. Serve green beans on the side.

Chicken Parmesan