Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hawaiian Cowboys & Shark Round-Ups

So I visited the big island this past week and I learned some interesting things about Hawaii:

Exotic Flowers
I never knew so much exotic flora existed. These flowers look like some sort of candy from the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka movie.

Goat Cheese
Hawaii produces delicious goat cheese. Fresh goat cheese with basil and macadamia nut? Yes, please. It still was not as good as the goat cheese I tasted in Greece. But goat cheese brought by a cute Greek boy that says "my mother just milked the goat this morning" is a hard act to beat.

When they decided to build cattle ranches up in the hills of the big island, they brought in Mexican cowboys to teach the locals. The Mexican cowboys enjoyed it so much that they stuck around, and now there is still a strong Hawaiian cowboy culture on the big island.

Shark Round-Ups
The Spaniards have their bullfights, the American West has bull riding, and the Hawaiians have shark round-ups. What is a shark round--up? It is exactly what it sounds like: you lasso a shark and tie it to the boat. It all started when cattle would either fall of the cliffs into the ocean or they would drown when the cowboys would swim them boats for transport. Obviously, sharks began to congregate in these areas to catch an easy meal. So these crazy Hawaiian cowboys would go out to these areas and lasso themselves a big ol' shark. People still do it today because Hawaiian have spirit animals - for many it is a shark - and they like to get close and personal with their spirit animal. I'm a bit conflicted with the whole shark round up. I keep asking myself if I would go on one if someone offered - which will never happen - and I'm still not sure what I would say.

Portuguese Doughnuts/Malasadas
The best doughnuts in the world are Portuguese. They are the best because they are so light and fluffy. (I also had a Hawaiian tell me that the Portuguese in Hawaii are the equivalent to the Polish in America). I don't understand why they say that; they gave you the best doughnuts ever. So if you are ever in Hawaii, go to Tex Drive In for the best doughnut in the world.

The State of Hawaii
Hawaii is one of the most recent states to join the United States, and while in Hawaii I read Benedict Anderson's book, Imagined Communities. It was an interesting place to be reading a book that postulates about the modern phenomenon of nationalism. I finally plucked up enough courage to ask people how they felt about being a part of the United States. The answer I got was that it was hell for white people to live in Hawaii during the 60's and 70's. While the younger generation seems to be more ambivalent about it, the older people still feel strongly about it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Champions League Final 2010-2011

I'm a huge Manchester United fan. Now I know some girls say they like soccer and they can't name a player besides David Beckham. I am not one of those girls. So of course being an avid Red Devils fan, I'm extremely excited for the Champions League final today. To get ready for the final, I revisited Man U's European Cup victories.

The first is the emotional win in the 1967-68: Manchester beat Benfica 4-1. It was emotional win as manager Matt Busby (Busby Babes) led his team to a victory ten year after the horrible Munich air disaster.

Here is a video with the highlights

Next up is the nail-biting win in the 1998-1999 European Cup. I love seeing all the Man U veterans looking so young and re-visiting the David Beckham years. You must watch this clip of the highlights. It is possibly one of the most exciting football matches ever.

Here is a video with the highlights

Finally, the all-English final of 2007-2008. It ended with a penalty shoot out with my least favorite team in the Premier League: Chelsea (sorry, Rachel). It was a great game full of wonderful saves and goals. But goodness, it was nerve wreaking at the end. I love how this match was held Moscow because FIFA was hoping to keep hooliganism to a minimum with the threat of Russian prisons. It was quite successful. (Side note: ESPN magazine just published an extremely interesting article about hooliganism in the UK). Never underestimate Russian prisons. Yet it didn't keep the ugliness off the pitch; the egotistical, greasy haired, Didier Drogba got sent off for slapping Vidic. No one slaps Vidic and gets away with it. I love Vidic.

Here is a video with the highlights

Well, all I can say is that I hope it is not a repeat of the 2008-2009 European Cup. We played terrible; it was one of the most frustrating matches I've ever watched. Subsequently, I'm not going to give a link to that match. Instead, let's aim for me ending the day singing "Glory, glory Man United!"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Le Chocolat

I thought I was an elitist when it came to chocolate. Apparently, I have nothing on the French.

I remember during French class spending five minutes practicing the correct pronunciation of
"le chocolat." My professor justified this tangent by claiming that mispronouncing this word is offensive to French ears. I thought his was exaggerating a smidge. But then I tasted gourmet French chocolate this weekend and realized that it was no exaggeration. My brother-in-law was kind enough to share his birthday chocolate that just arrived from Paris.

A box of chocolates of world renowned chocolatier, Christian Constant

I never had the pallet for dark chocolate - or so I thought. Apparently I was not eating the right kind of chocolate. Now eating milk chocolate just tastes too sweet. I love the texture of Christian Constant's chocolates - they are so smooth. He also takes the most interesting ingredients - by interesting I mean it sounds disgusting - to make the most complimentary tastes. For example, I enjoyed the rose and raisin chocolate. Sounds disgusting, right?

Au Contraire, Mon Frère

It was incredible.

A bar of chocolate from La Maison du Chocolat

They polish each individual chocolate at this establishment.

So I am a convert to French chocolate. As for pronouncing "le chocolat" perfectly, I wouldn't want to offend French ears because then they might not give me their chocolate.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My New Home: The John Taylor House

Welcome to my new home: The John Taylor House. It is called the John Taylor House because one of his wives lived here. It's actually an amusing story. So John Taylor lived in the neighboring brick house and after he died, one of his polygamist wives - who detested one of the other polygamist wives - built her own house on the property. She built it on an angle so neither of them could not see each other from their windows. Talk about polygamist drama - Sister Wives has nothing on my house.
Yes, I'm living in a polygamist home. There are girls who live above me, so I guess you could call it a polygamist home or a brothel. My friend who goes to Syracuse for her doctorate lived in a house that they had to make into two separate apartments because according to New York State law, if a certain amount of girls lived in a house together in a house it is considered a brothel. So take your pick between brothel or polygamist home.

Here is the entryway to my basement apartment in the John Taylor House.

Here is my kitchen. One of my favorite things about this house is the shelves with the original
industrial heater
below. I cannot wait to fill the shelves with antique plates
and milk glass vases.

Another favorite feature is the archway over the shower and tub.

I think industrial, accordion heaters are fantastic. I can't tell you why, but I just love them. Perhaps it is because they are shaped like an accordion? We all know how much I love accordions.

Because I do not have any furniture yet, I've stacked all my books in the window seal to keep the floor clear. Although not having furniture is a bit frustrating at the moment, it is also exciting. I can decorate an apartment in a style that I like; I've decided to go with the mid century Danish style. I feel like Liz Lemon, because I've had the awful urge to nest lately, but I'm not married - I'm such a terrible specimen of a Mormon girl - and so I have not really been in a situation or had the excuse to nest. Thank goodness I got in the graduate program, because now I can use that as an excuse.

Here is the view from my bedroom. (There are two bedrooms in this apartment; I'm looking for a roommate to move in June if anyone is interested). I've actually come to prefer the view from a basement apartment; you get to see all the trees and flowers better. You can tell I'm really in love; I'm even finding it's faults - being in the basement - charming.

So if your in town, come visit me at my polygamist apartment.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Craigslist Nazi

During the next few days, I will be moving into a house that is unfurnished. Problem: I do not own a stitch of furniture. I'm borrowing a blow up mattress; it is that pathetic. Since I'm a poor college student, I've been scouring craigslist for the past few weeks looking for furniture. During these weeks I've realized my calling in life: the Craigslist Nazi.

Holy Couches
This idea of becoming a Craigslist Nazi began when a listing for a couch stated that it used to be in an LDS/Mormon temple. What the what. Do you seriously consider this a persuasive selling point? I don't know about you, but personally I think this tidbit is deterring. Having a "holy" couch in their living room would make me feel like I aways have to be on good behavior; I couldn't sprawl across it and watch movies because it is not pious enough.

The "Elegant" & "Classy"
I have also noticed a pattern with ads that use the words "elegant" and "classy." At first, I would see these words in the title description and click on the link eagerly only to see some of the most hideous furnishings ever constructed. Seriously, you think that is classy? This happened so consistently that I now avoid even clicking on posts with these words. My friend Becky's mother says "classy people do not use the word classy." Truer words have never been spoken. As the Cragislist Nazi, I would write emails banning them from using these words.(Also, words "decorative" and "unique" is code for run for the hills). Why can't people just be honest? How refreshing would it be to see a by-line that reads "hideous, but cheap couch"? Most college boys would take it in an instant, while girls like myself would avoid it like the plague. As Shakespeare says, "sell when you can: you are not for all markets." Figure out which market your product appeals to and then use the appropriate rhetoric to appeal to that group.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Breathless Coupe de Cheveux

Breathless. It's a movie directed by Jean Luc-Godard that is on several lists of the best movies of all time. While taking one of my french courses last spring, I attempted to watch it. I must be the most terrible "elitist" in the history of blogging, because I got bored and didn't finish it. Don't worry though, some "elitist" goodness came out of it - I fell in love with Jean Seberg's haircut.

As spring and summer are approaching, I'm tempted to just chop off all my hair into this chic, boy hair cut.

Of course she is has the better face, but I think we sort of similar face shapes. So it could potentially work, right?

Oh who am I kidding? Only Natalie Portman and Emma Watson can pull off this short of a haircut.