Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rule #24

Tomatoes are considered, by US law, vegetables even though they are scientifically categorized as fruit

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rule #23

The undisputed best holiday movie . . .
(* Starring Nicolas Cage)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Delirium Pub

Delirium Pub is a popular beer-lovers destination in Brussels. My friends and I entered the smoke filled pub late on a Wednesday night. The place was surprisingly packed but luckily after a few minutes of awkwardly lurking over some tables we were able to secure a huge emptied out beer tank that had been cleverly transformed into a gazebo.

I immediately noted the professionalism of the men behind the bar. They weren't dressed like the typical bartender at a pub, they dawned industrial looking aprons and smocks-- like beer scientists. They moved swiftly and listened intently behind the bar. I finally weaseled my way up to the front of the pack and stuck my arm out. I ordered two Deleriums for Pudding and I and a strawberry beer for Brenna. They went down smooth and were much better than they've ever been from the bottles they sell at Morton Williams.

In a city that prides itself on beer, fries and waffles this pub can't be missed!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Study Break

Here is a video for every student whose dreams of care-free weekends and a relaxing Thanksgiving have just been crushed by the realization of quickly approaching, miserable, Starbucks Double Shot Esspresso-induced all-nighters.

Good Luck with finals!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fried Ice Cream

I was recently in Prague when I was navigating the narrow and windy streets behind Tyn Castle in Old Town Square and stumbled upon a small family-owned Czech restaurant.

Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the place so I won't waste my time trying to critique it here. Chances are you'll never find it anyway. I'll save all the scrumptious details of my meal for my travel journal and leave you with this picture which I feel captures the innovation and quality of each course.

This dessert captured three dimensions of contrasting qualities. 
1. Cold ice cream v. Warm shell and hot chocolate sauce
2. Soft melted ice cream and whip cream v. Crunchy shell 
3. Tangy raspberry v. Sweet vanilla

Does this remind anyone from Pasadena of Mijares?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rule #22

Djibouti not only the country with the coolest name but the coolest flag.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kanye West - Heartless

This song has been in regular circulation on my iPod for the past week or so and I've realized I like it much more than Love Lockdown... Listen to it a few times and you'll realize it's going to be a hit. If you still haven't got over the digitally encoded voice then let this track convince you that it can work. Then listen to "Street Lights" and you'll fully realize the melodic approach that Mr. West is trying to apply on this album.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Phoenix Album Trailer

Phoenix is releasing a new album... here is a 3 minute preview with a glorious beat. Sounds like those Parisians were hard at work in their hipster den around the clock for this one.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Florentine Shopping: Boggi Milano

Hands-down my favorite shopping destination in a high-fashion shopping city. I first walked into a Boggi boutique on a day trip to Siena (home of the famous Palio). They've got a great look. I would characterize it as clean, modern but classic.

I was so impressed by the boutique that I visited their location in Firenze on Vigna Nuova. The service was excellent. The gentleman who helped me was happy to assist me with any questions, urged me to try on everything and after I made my purchases even walked me down the street to a local tailor who fitted some pants and adjusted a shirt. Overall an ideal shopping experience. I'll definitely be back if the value of the dollar continues to catch up to the Euro, or rather the Euro continues to plummet to the value of the dollar.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Let the Celebration Continue!

This is a cool photo courtesy of Mel Marcelo, my cousin in San Diego and a very talented graphic artist. I made this into a shirt that I wore on election night.

Thanks Mel!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Bzablog Election Prediction

It's 6:27AM EST and after careful calculations I've formulated a prediction for tonight's historic election.

I predict 298 electoral votes for Obama and 240 electoral Votes for McCain

I believe Senator McCain will take all the battleground states except for Ohio which will decide the election. North Carolina will be close but I believe that it will be won by McCain.

Obama will secure Colorado and New Mexico, Pennsylvania but lose Arizona.

I hope I'm right.

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Merger of Labor and Love

Do you recognize the man giving the speech in the clip below?

Unless you've been following politics for the last decade at least a little bit, then you probably don't. But There is something mysterious about James Carville that makes watching him so captivating. This leading democratic strategist is a man who launched his career behind the scenes, out of the spotlight and in the "war room" as the '92 Clinton presidential campaign endearingly referred to their Little Rock headquarters. Together with colleagues George Stephanopoulos and Paul Begala, Carville has changed the way campaigns are run-- making a living off winning elections for the underdog.

I've always enjoyed watching the "Ragin' Cajun" contribute on news programs. I once even had the opportunity to attend a panel that he moderated in his home state of Louisiana. People from both sides of the political spectrum love Carville (his wife is a republican strategist) because he has strong opinions and is never afraid to express them. In a way he is simultaneously the anti-politician and the super-politician. He is working for the ideas he believes in and has dedicated a career to putting democrats who share his beliefs in office not just in the US but also abroad by managing foreign campaigns. Yet despite his uncanny political strategic skills and success he does not crave the political power a politician does. He is working for his beliefs without owing an interest to constituents or lobbyists and without the influence of public polls or pressure of re-election. He is immune to what Washington politicians call "Potomac Fever".

However, tonight I'm posting this video for reasons far beyond politics. In this clip we see another side of Carville -- A side of him that he never shows on CNN's Situation Room or as a guest on any news program. This clip of Carville was recorded the night before election day 16 years ago, tensions were running high and the race was neck and neck up until the last day of campaigning. It was a night, as George Stephanopoulos appropriately describes, that "[Carville] will pass from the role of a regular human being to the role of a legend..."

When I first saw this clip I saw the more human side of politics. Someone once told me that "everyone who runs for president has to be crazy." And to a certain extent I believe it. It takes extraordinary discipline, perseverance and desire to withstand the nature of a career in politics. It requires a lifetime of winning the trust of all those who surround you, repeating the same lines everyday and being constantly aware of your actions and word. Often times it requires improbable strokes of luck. But when I see this speech I'm reminded that politics is more than winning votes and wanting your candidate to win.

Long after you've chosen your candidate, done your research, donated to the campaign, registered some voters and bought a T-shirt and voted then the only thing left to give is your faith-- a sincere belief that you are no longer promoting a man, but personifying your beliefs. Regardless of your political party or preference we eventually arrive at a point when you realize the man who bears the name on the poster means less than the ideologies that his name carries. We rise above the issues that the media has force fed us with sound bytes. We forget off-shore drilling, economy, the war, democrat and republican and realize that inevitably tomorrow's decision is so much more than just a few tag lines and grandiose promises. It's a reflection of the needs of our nation and our plea to finally to reap the benefits of our labor and our love.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Rule #22 "The Name Game"

Mr. Manners once told me --

Make it a point to remember a recent acquaintance's name. Acknowledge that you remember them the next time you meet by greeting them using their name (e.g. "Adityavikram! Good to see you, how was your weekend?")

People always feel better when you remember their names.

When you don't remember try introducing them to a friend you are with. For example, if I am standing with Adityavikram at a party and a girl I don't recognize comes to say hi I would say  "Hi! This is Adityavikram, I don't think you've met." and gesture the two to introduce each other, forcing the girl to say her name. 

Lastly, pronounce peoples' names correctly. Last names that are foreign to you might not be natural to pronounce but this is not an excuse to butcher a person's name and laugh it off. Ask politely and apologize when you think you might be saying a name incorrectly. Don't assign anyone a nickname just because you can't learn to say a name. If someone prefers to be called a different name/ nickname do not question it.  If Shang Tsung wants to be called "Steve", don't ask why and remember to use this name. 

I'm On Fall Break

I apologize for not giving an advanced notice, but last week I was traveling without a reliable internet connection. Traveling without internet emphasizes the change in scenery.

Last weeks adventure began in Budapest, worked its way west to Prague, Brussels and ended in Amsterdam. I have interesting food stories and random facts about each of these places in the week to come. Expect regular updating starting tomorrow.

Now time to unpack.