Tuesday, July 22, 2008
First off, the tasty stuff: Fleur de Sel.
Fleur de Sel is an offering from Haagen-Dazs' Reserve line. I have never been the biggest fan of Haagen-Dazs; not because it is bad ice cream, but because it's not good enough for the price. Yes, it is better than most cheaper ice cream, but it's not that much better, and the flavors are fairly dull. Their more exotic flavors usually involve nuts of some sort, which I have never been a big fan of (I know to many this would signal that I should not write a food review, to that I say: "fuck you"), for example, I would love to try the Caramelized Pear and Almond, but don't care for almonds.
There is one flavor of Haagen-Dazs that I do see fit to buy, and that is Dulce de Leche. H-D makes, by far, the best Dulce de Leche ice cream I have tasted, which is partly why I was enticed to try Fleur de Sel, which had caramel as the primary flavor of the ice cream, but with a twist.
The flavor is a combination of caramel ice cream, caramel ribbons, and chocolate covered caramel pieces sprinkled with... salt. But not just any salt, Fleur de Sel (as if you hadn't guessed), which is an expensive salt hand collected from Brittany in France (fleur de sel means "flower of salt" en Français).
My first bite only yielded ice cream and caramel ribbons, which of course was good, but I was waiting to taste the fancy-pants salt. The second bite was of a chocolate covered piece, and I was in heaven. At first I tasted chocolate and caramel, but that flavor melted away into the salty (but sweet and delicate) taste of the fleur de sel. The flavors blended perfectly together, the caramel giving way to the salt and vice versa.
The price is higher (I paid a dollar more than regular H-D) and the quantities are limited, but I would recommend you go out and give it a try. Well, assuming that you are a little adventurous in your desert tastes. Now, if only they'd release a pepper and chocolate ice cream (they have chili and cucumber Popsicles, but that doesn't sound all too enticing...)
Part II: iPod Touch v. 2.0
On July 13th the iPhone 3G was released to much fanfare. On the same day, all of us losers with iPod Touches were given the joy that is the App Store. We all did a little cheer and started staring down at our small screens.
I got my Touch when I bought my new laptop and it has pretty much taken over my life, as now I actually schedule my time, which has never happened before. The interface of the iPod Touch is ingenious, and it makes it annoying to use my old iPod (which I still use because it has a lot more storage). All-in-all, the touch is like a mini laptop, doing much more than any PDA I had experienced before (not that I really had that much experience before).
The 2.0 update has made the Touch that more awesome. First off, the Touch/iPhone can now connect to secure wi-fi networks, which means I can connect to my school's wi-fi (hello goofing off in class). The App Store has turned my Touch into a little gaming/chatting/Facebooking device, which makes me want the iPhone that much more as I can now communicate with it in every way except phone calls. The wi-fi in my apartment is exceptionally horrible and for some reason the Touch usually connects better than my MacBook, so it has made browsing/chatting in bed so much easier (well, not so much on the eyes).
The bad: the biggest flaw of the iPhone OS is that it can only run one program at a time (with the exception of playing music), thus it makes multitasking difficult at best. It can only load webpages one at a time, and the update has taken away the ability to have Mail check for new messages on a regular interval. Also, I sometimes use French and when I went to the "International" settings dialog, the easy to understand "English (US), English (UK), French (France), et al." has been replaced with "en_us, en_uk, fr_fr" which one can deduce, but is not as convenient. Also, and this is more of a critique of third party apps, the problem with many apps that utilize the accelerometer alone is that the accelerometer can often be a little wonky. I downloaded the much advertised "Super Monkey Ball" only to be frustrated by the fact that sometimes I would randomly switch directions when barely moving my touch.
All-in-all, the update is well worth the $10, I just hope that the next one will add some multitasking functions. I foresee great things for the iPhone/iPod Touch, by far it is the best music playing device I've experienced, but Apple could do so much more. I am hoping for some exciting announcements next WWDC.
Well, that was a very fattening and nerdy post. Hope you liked it!
As a former lesbian, the Christian author dispels the myth that a woman can please another woman better than a man can. She shares her multi-orgasm techniques that encompass far more than just foreplay. Thus, Bedroom Secrets of an Ex-Lesbian is for every man who has ever lost his woman to another woman or who simply seeks to satisfy his woman so she will never consider being with someone else. This book is also for every woman who wants to help her man satisfy her sexually.
A Straightforward Guide to Extracting the Elusive Female Orgasm.
Monday, July 21, 2008
The last review on this blog was not a very favorable one, so I figured I'd review something I actually liked so I don't seem like a cold, petty bastard. Today's review is the self-titled album by Santogold. Santogold hails from Philadelphia, where she was a member of the punk/ska group Stiffed. I haven't heard Stiffed, so I can't really make a reference to her previous work.
General Feeling: Listening to this album is like listening to a mix tape and then suddenly realizing that it is really just one artist, and that is, surprisingly, a good thing. Ska, grime, and post-punk influences run rampant and play nice on this pretty good debut.
Full Review: Santogold's album is not exactly the most coherent in style, but all of the styles that she uses mesh well together in the framework of the album. The variance in styles help keep the album interesting and makes you want to listen to the whole thing in a sitting because you are not bogged down with the same hooks and tricks every song. The album starts off with "L.E.S. Artistes" which sounds like a Tegan and Sara song, only more electronic. The song "You'll Find a Way" shows Santogold's ska roots, and reminiscent of No Doubt but... good.
The two artists that Santogold seems to channel the most are M.I.A. and Siouxsie Sue. The use of rap and noise channel M.I.A., especially the songs "Shove It" and "Creator". While Santogold is not near as good as M.I.A. it is nice to see someone else follow in M.I.A.'s footsteps (besides Lady Sovereign, if you believe Last.fm). The song "My Superman" is so creepily like Siouxsie that I had trouble believing I wasn't listening to Mantaray.
Overall, this album is amazing fun, good dance songs, good trip-hop songs, and never boring. There is a pretty good remix of "You'll Find a Way" tacked on at the end. Some have said that the lack of coherence in style will hurt Santogold, I say that if she keeps it interesting it will only make her stronger. Good work!
Final Word: Buy it! I would say go over to Emusic and download it there!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
The other documentary I watched on the subject of Christianity (see below post) was “Jesus Camp.”
Essentially, “Jesus Camp” follows a group of three charismatic Christian children who attend the Kids on Fire School of Ministry, a summer camp in Devil’s
First, there were the children themselves. These children were surprisingly well-spoken and obviously intelligent, especially when asked about their beliefs. However, I find it difficult to absorb that these children understand precisely what they’re talking about. One of the kids, who was 12 years old when “Jesus Camp” was filmed, said he became born-again at the age of five. My question is how can you fully comprehend the meaning of salvation when you are five years old? As one of my friends put it, when you’re five, you don’t have anything to be born again from.
On that note, during the actual camp, there is much discussion and hollering about taking back
Also, I thought it was interesting for each of children the filmmakers followed, their respective mothers – but not their fathers – were also interviewed. For a group of people who place such an importance on the nuclear family, it seems rather strange the fathers’ voices were not heard.
Finally, there’s a scene in the film where the leader of a major fundamentalist Christian organization talks to the children at the camp about the evils of abortion. Object to abortion, fine, but I worry that instilling so much fear into children about it will cause some sort of slippery slope as far as reproductive choice, or lack thereof, is concerned. After all, the children are shown praying for the Supreme Court to end Roe v. Wade., which is a chilling image in and of itself. The path from opposing abortion to advocating abstinence only sex education isn’t so long, and it’s obvious how far that’s gotten us.
At any rate, I respect the people who appeared in the film insofar as fundamental Christianity is their chosen path, but I think I will continue to do what I’ve been doing, which is respectfully keeping my distance from them.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
The first of these is “For the Bible Tells Me So,” which examines the intersection of Christianity and homosexuality. I watched the film with rapt attention. So long used to the negatives Christianity hurls at the GLBT community (although plenty of examples of those are also presented), it was refreshing to hear the opposing side, the mantra of which is homophobia is the sin, not homosexuality.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Bored as I was during the show, I started to contemplate the moral of the story or what it was all of the characters were striving toward. Having trouble coming up with a clear answer, I considered the precursors of My Fair Lady.
It is well known that the musical is based on the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. In fact, the plots of both – shrewd academician transforms uncouth country girl into prim and proper lady – are nearly identical except for their respective conclusions.
The name Pygmalion itself is a reference to a Greek myth in which a lonely man fashions the likeness of a woman out of marble and for his kindness is rewarded by the gods with a real woman to marry.
Contemplating this, I thought perhaps the inherent charm of My Fair Lady was the supposedly entertaining plot device of someone “improving” someone else while hilarity and romance unquestionably ensue. That’s probably true for most people, but I don’t find those kinds of stories entertaining.
And then, I picked up on another theme that maybe isn’t so obvious. During one of the few scenes that genuinely moved me, the heroine, Eliza Doolittle, plaintively and repeatedly wails to her instructor of proper grammar, Prof. Higgins, “What will become of me?”
At that moment, the lines, “You become responsible forever for what you have tamed,” from the French tale The Little Prince came fluttering through my mind. Yes, I decided, this was the moral of My Fair Lady: Higgins created the new Eliza, and he was subsequently responsible for her. That was a premature conclusion on my part, as several scenes later Higgins tells Eliza she is free to leave his home whenever she wants because he has no power over her.
So, to reiterate, I could not identify any clear moral to My Fair Lady, and I wasn’t at all amused by its so-called charms. And, to make it worse, the ending is fairly open-ended, which works for intelligent dramas, but only served to exacerbate my overall irritation with it.
According to that hallowed reference guide, Wikipedia, My Fair Lady has been called the perfect musical. Perfect musical, my ass.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Not only that, it seems that it is going to star Smith's son, Jaden. I don't really know what to think about this, as I am usually wary of nepotism - except in the case of Helena Bonham Carter in Tim Burton films, BUT she was a good actress before she married him. Now, I could be proven wrong and Jaden could be a good actor. We'll see... or rather other people will see as I don't think the Karate Kid necessitates a remake.
And beyond that, I am getting pretty tired of Hollywood regurgitating the same old movies. Lately it's either remakes or comic book movies. Blah. I mean, I have never been a big fan of mainstream movies period (I usually stick to indie and the Criterion Collection), but the movie theatres are starting to look like a giant roman shower. No thanks LA.
Friday, July 4, 2008
... I'll pause to let you read the thing...
Of course, the joke is that this is basically the script for Transformers, but made much more obvious the subtle message in Transformers: The military is awesome!
In the commentary for Transformers, however, this is pretty much laid out, as Michael Bay says that the Army worked with Bay in order to show the public how cool the army could be. Humorously enough, in Transformers law enforcement is shown as bumbling and full of themselves, while the army is blown up as a lone wolf, pursuers of true justice. Obviously Bay is trying to make the Army seem... well... rebellious. A contradiction in terms if I ever heard one.
Even my beloved Apple does not escape from the Army trying to peddle its awesomeness, during WWDC 08, when Jobs announced iPhone 2.0, various corporations were featured in a video on how the new iPhone has helped them. Most of the other corporations focused on the iPhone, but the army was more concerned with building itself up. (Garrr... I can't find the link, maybe later...)
So, has the army become the new cigarette? It can kill you and harm others, but it sure looks cool in movies!
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Some things will never change. In a faltering economy with a stock market that’s officially been declared bear, the wealthy are still spending their confusingly exorbitant amounts of cash on random crap while the unemployment rate continues to skyrocket. Case in point number one: Pharrell Williams.
Williams, a multi-millionaire music producer, has commissioned the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Skin Treatment in
When it’s ready to go, the skin, which is created using a sample of his existing epidermis, will be grafted onto Williams, and after it heals he said he intends to have that new shiny spot all inked up.
I realize skin is a pretty amazing organ but imagining Williams getting a tattoo on his grafts creeps my shit out. Needles going in ... chunks of skin ... falling off ... but I guess that’s okay because he just has his old skin underneath, right? Although that begs the question, how can you just graft new skin onto skin that’s already there, that’s perfectly healthy? What happens if he gets tired of that tattoo? I don’t think this is a procedure you can do more than once. Actually, I think there’s just too many things about this that make it seem like a bad idea.
Many parents would say tattoos in general are a bad idea. I would disagree. I have one myself, and I intend to get more. It’s just that it’s been more than a year since my last tattoo because I spend a lot of time thinking about my next one. Maybe Williams could have saved some cash by thinking a little more about his tattoos, but then again I’m just an idealist.
The tragedy of this is for every bored and egotistic Pharrell Williams, there’s probably at least 12 burn victims who would refinance their house to get what’s left of their hands on skin just like theirs – because it is theirs – and the replication of which won’t cause them any further pain. But then again, how many burn victims do you know who have as much money as Williams? (Two-Face from Batman doesn’t count.)
That said, Williams’ commission is far from being the first time a scientific breakthrough has been used to satisfy vanity; after all, plastic surgeons repair the faces of both aging socialites and children with cleft palates. Similarly, Botox injections can used to tighten the visages of the aforementioned aging socialites or to soothe the muscles of those who suffer from cerebral palsy.
What makes this different is because, in a word, it is ridiculous. Kudos to you, Mr. Williams, for taking it to another level.
Somewhere, there’s a room full of scientists and futurists scratching their heads.