I’m Never Going to Not be Excited for Thanksgiving Break

I feel like Rutgers should give more Fall Recesses, just saying. I love learning, don’t get me wrong, but I just want a nap.

Anyways, I’m excited for Thanksgiving. I think last year I wrote about a seitan turkey replacement my sister made, and how cool that was, because she essentially made a meat substitute out of a sponge. So, I’ll talk about the food I want to make this year, because I’m always super excited to cook for the holiday.

Now, I watch a lot of people cook on YouTube, which I mentioned a bit before (Maangchi is still the love of my life I promise). Recently I’ve started watching this channel called Hot for Food (here’s their blog link, because even though I’m not endorsing them, they do have a delightful bank of recipes that you guys can look at if you’re so inclined: https://www.hotforfoodblog.com/welcome” . This is a vegan cooking blog/channel, and honestly it’s the best one I’ve seen. I watch a bunch of others occasionally, and all the food they make looks so d u l l. It’s upsetting man. Like I saw someone make a fall “grain bowl” and it was literally a giant bowl of quinoa with some sad looking pan fried Brussels sprouts and a small amount of a mustard sauce they made, and no way can that actually be a tasty meal, Imma be real with you. That seems to be what a lot of people think vegan cooking is, but it can be really nice. Hot for Food does it really nice. My sister told me like months ago she trusts these people with her life (we make their macaroni and “cheese” recipe a lot and it’s amazing, it uses softened cashews and nutritional yeast as the sauce and it’s really good), and after watching them a bit, I have to say, same. These people seem to understand cooking and balancing flavors to maximize taste of a vegan dish, and it’s so fun to watch.

I say this b e c a u s e I’m going to make two dishes from them for Thanksgiving, and I’m super excited. Idk about you but honestly, the turkey was never my favorite part of a Thanksgiving meal, the sides always had much more flavor. So, we’re just doing away with that this year, and I’m going to make what Lauren (the women in their YouTube videos), calls a Thanksgiving Vegan Roast (here’s the video for this recipe if you’d like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SNEly05Nmg). This seems so cool because it’s like a leftover sandwich, as your meal. But instead of bread, they use puff pastry, so it’s fancy. I’m actually interested on what vegan puff pastry is, because traditionally it puffs due to a bunch of layers of butter in between a flour based dough, so when the butter melts and steams, it lifts and separates the layers, giving you a “puff”. But I know vegan versions exist because we’ve used them before, I just don’t know how they work. If someone does tell me, I’d think it’d be really cool. Anyway, yeah, fancy sandwich, filled with mashed, spiced sweet potato, a lentil and mushroom mix, and a cranberry apple sauce. I’m probably going to do the cranberry sauce differently, because we have a recipe we love that we’ve been using for years  (super easy, a bag of fresh cranberries, cinnamon sticks, orange peel, water, if you like a jalapeno, and a metric ton of sugar it’s crazy, and you just boil that forever until the cranberries open and it’s thick and delicious. I’ll just add chunks of apple to that). So I’m excited to try that.

We’re also making (from the same blog, because like I said I trust these people with my life), a “Hazelnut Torte” (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujNE1J_D9Kw), which is a cake made with more crushed hazelnuts than flour, and it has mocha flavors in it (mocha is coffee and chocolate, in case you’re not a coffee addict or something), with a coconut whipped cream as it’s icing. I think it’s fun cause it uses something called “aquafaba” as it’s rising agent, as opposed to eggs. What is aquafaba? It’s bean water. How crazy is that. Either cook chickpeas, and it’s the water you cooked the beans in, or drain a can of chickpeas and it’s that water you usually rinse down the sink cause of sodium. And it foams, how cool is that?! Like, I’ve used it for things and it looked exactly like meringue, it was the coolest thing of my life. I checked a few sources, and I’m notoriously bad at googling information so maybe I’m wrong and they do know, but from what I can t e l l they don’t exactly know why the aquafaba foams just like egg whites would. The water has plenty of protein after cooking the beans, much like an egg white, so that’s a fair bet, but what exactly in the substance makes it behave the way it does is unknown. Whatever it is, it’s cool though. So this cake is made with aquafaba and more nut than flour, and has coffee and chocolate and it looks delicious, so I’m making it.

Then the less interesting stuff, I’ll do a fresh spinach salad because it’ll be a meal of roasted vegetation, and freshness is nice. Probably mashed potato because my sister demands it (she’ll be the one making it anyway she does it better than me, the jerk), and what I’m actually a bit excited for is trying out a vegan brown gravy. I figure soy sauce will be the most prominent ingredient? Who knows though.

So yeah, guess that’s all I was excited about lately. I did well on my midterms so far, so that’s nice. Hope you guys did well too, have a fun break when it finally comes. If you make anything fun and want to tell me, please tell me, I like comments, they’re fun. Bye!

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Procrastination Nation

If you can figure out how to sing the title to the tune of “Conjunction Junction” do it, it’ll be funnier; I tried to sit here for like 10 seconds working that out, but kind of gave up on it. I’m sure the creative-minded can do it.

HEY GUYS ANOTHER YEAR OF SCHOOL ANOTHER YEAR OF FAILURES AM I RIGHT? Nah you’re probably doing fine, just like, don’t procrastinate like me. That blog post by Akhila, when they said “I overextended myself and my GPA suffered and I’m still trying to recover,” take that advice to heart man. I feel. Ditto.

That being said, guess who overextended themselves again. I’m doing a job like 8 hours a week, research like 8-10 hours a week, 17.5 credits, it’s maddening. I mean I like doing all of it, I just hope I can actually do it. That, plus I have a major procrastination problem. I’m usually better about work and research, I procrastinate significantly less because for those things other people depend on me and such. But my homework??? Work I don’t want to do, and put off to watch people online cook instead. And I happened to make a vegan shepherd’s pie yesterday, while I was procrastinating on doing my quantum physics homework. So, I’m just gonna tell you how I made it, and honestly I would love it if you guy’s left comments on what you would do differently. Seeing and hearing different culinary techniques I live for (I used to want to be a chef, for probably 10 years of my life, before I made a h a r d left into the world of astrophysics, which then turned into experimental high energy particle physics after being a research assistant for a professor in that field).

SO, my sister is vegan. Honestly, I like vegan food more than she does, we were all shocked when she became vegan. Her favorite food used to be chicken nuggets. But she watched a sad cow video, and she won’t eat meat anymore. She’ll eat like, wild caught tuna because it’s not so bad to the fish I guess, so maybe more pescetarian on a technicality.  But, this digression was here for the sole purpose of saying; this is a vegan shepherd’s pie.  For those of y’all “in the know”, a shepherd’s pie is a meat stew (using either ground beef or ground lamb, and honestly I would’ve gone for lamb. Veeerrryy not vegan friendly, but I’m not vegan, and it would give a great richness, and a much more complex flavor than beef due to the gameier flavor that lamb has. I think it’s a bit more traditional as well, multiple sources online seem to believe that this was a dish made from roast dinner leftovers) and topped with mashed potato, then baked in the oven. A nice and hearty winter dish, that I made on a hot day in September (but it’s fine. I had the AC on and didn’t go outside, so I can pretend. Idk what y’all who live in dorms without air conditioning do honestly, bless ur souls).  Anyway, this is how I made a vegan version of a very meaty dish:

Of course the first step is cutting up potatoes and boiling them. Honestly, just make mashed potatoes however you want, I’ve seen people bake potatoes, then peel them and mash them up with cream and butter because they’re drier and absorb the fat and cream better, which makes a lot of sense. But boiling is traditional and quicker, so. I peeled and boiled potatoes, then went on to making the “meat” stew. You start any stew by sweating aromatic vegetables. These are veggies that fragrance the dish, and are pretty classic to use in essentially any food that cooks a while, be it stew, soup, porridge, what have you. You could use a whole mirepoix (a fancy french term for diced onion, carrot, and celery). That’s your traditional French base for a whole load of food. Or you could go with The Holy Trinity, which is Creole cooking, where you replace the celery with green bell pepper (my preferred one, because I dieted once in high school by eating only celery for lunch and now hate celery with a burning passion). Though, I just went with onion and carrot, but I used a lot of onion because I love the sweetness it gives. So, sauteed a relatively fine diced onion and carrot mixture in olive oil until soft (you could also go to brown, that will enhance the sweetness because you’ll start caramelizing the natural sugars in the vegetables), then threw in a bunch of minced garlic. I love garlic so I do a boat load. Up to you on the level of garlic, I wouldn’t do less than like, mmmmm, three fat cloves?

You don’t cook garlic too long ever. Just until you can smell it. If you burn the garlic, the whole thing’s ruined forever, it gets too bitter. Don’t even let it brown. That’s why it goes in after the rest of the veggies are soft. Then I put in some tomato past and let that brown up for probably a minute. Next, chuck in your vegan soy crumbles. Mmmmmmm, soy crumbles. It’s honestly not so bad. If you heat them and spice them up, they taste perfectly fine, I think. Don’t expect them to taste like real meat, though. Never go into a vegan recipe with the expectation of tasting like it’s non vegan counter part, you’re always going to be disappointed then. Just enjoy food for what it is. (What I really would’ve loved to do, would be take a bunch of mushrooms. I’m talking like 3-4 pounds. Cutting those up to a medium dice, and use those instead of the soy crumbles. It’ll cook down to like half it’s size I think mushroom is a great alternative to meat, but my sister hates them so only me and my mom would eat the whole pie. But, if you’re actually vegetarian or something, and want to try this recipe, be my guest, tell me how it goes, that would be my preferred method to veganize this dish). Saute the soy crumbles for a little bit, then add a spoonful of flour. This will combine with the oil in your saute, and make kind of a roux, which will thicken your stew when you add liquid to it. Though it’s important to cook the flour a bit after you’ve added it, otherwise your stew will just taste like raw flour, and if you’ve ever eaten plain flour it’s disgusting.

Flour’s cooked, now add your liquid. I added water instead of a vegetable stock, which is what I would ordinarily use. However, I wanted to add water because I knew I was going to flavor the stew with miso and soy sauce. Mmmm, I do this to a lot of vegetarian dishes, not just Japanese cooking. I do this because it adds a way more complex flavor than just salt, and for something vegetarian you need the added flavor from something. Ordinarily it’s the browning of meat, and meat already has a kind of complex flavor, especially lamb or a stewing beef like you’d use in this dish. But, veggies. So, I like the combination of miso and soy sauce (if I had used the mushrooms I d e f i n i t l e y would’ve used soy sauce, it adds an “umami” flavor, which is a word I hate by the way because I don’t think that fifth umami taste actually exists. Taste is a combination of four-five flavors and scents in case you didn’t know, there are flavor receptors on your tongue that react to sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Spice is actually produced by capsaicin, which binds to taste receptors and sends the signal of spice, or pain or whatever, to your brain. It’s not a flavor. Some people say umami is the fifth flavor. Hogwash I say. But I’m not a neuro scientist so it’s just my opinion. But whatever, soy sauce and mushroom provides an amazing depth of flavor when combined, almost meaty like). So, added in the water, soy sauce, miso, then other spices (mine were chipotle powder for smokiness, black pepper, salt, garlic and onion powder, turmeric cause it’s healthy apparently, and probably others idk, add what you like. I used a tiiiny bit of cinnamon actually, it adds a subtle sweetness and a complex thing again). Then I added apple cider vinegar, to brighten up the stew with some acid, and let that thicken along with some frozen corn I added to warm up. Had I used meat I would’ve let it actually stew but it was soy so frick the rules. Then I finished it up with chopped herb: dill, parsley, and thyme.

The potato, my sister actually seasoned. She makes great mashed potatoes, idk what’s up. She used vegan butter, vegan milk (our’s was almond and coconut), and a bunch of salt and hot sauce and other nonsense. Flavor as desired of course.  Then you kind of just put all of the stew in a skillet that is oven safe, and all of the potatoes on top of that stew. Make a design on the potato, which is important not for presentation (I give literally no cares about how my food looks if I’m not cooking for anyone). You do design on top because it will have some peaks and what not, and the peaks will brown up and be a bit crispy, and that will add more to the flavor because it’s all technically caramalization. I baked it for 20 minutes at 350.

Results: decent. What I would’ve changed is I would’ve added frozen peas as well as the corn. I would’ve used a few mushrooms if I could. I probably would’ve baked it longer, honestly I’d go like twice the time I think. I might’ve used some cilantro and lemon zest as well, add a bit more freshness. What I’m most regretful of is not adding a splash of red wine along with the water; there are alcohol soluble flavors in tomato that I’m sure would’ve added to the complexity of the flavor of this.

Now idk, this was a pretty long post, it may have bore you. I just love thinking about the flavors of food and how they work together. You could make a simpler version of this fit for a dorm I bet, since a lot of you probably do dorm. Like, just ground beef, an onion, water, mashed potatoes, salt, pepper, peas for nutrition because I hear stories about no one eating vegetables when they dorm and it terrifies me. Pretty simple. If any of you like to cook, please tell me, I would probably really enjoy just talking about food I make on this blog actually. I talk about complex flavors a lot, and they’re all subtle things no one really detects, but contributes to the whole dish to make it go from bland to flavorful. So, thanks for listening, if you made it past 1500 words good job I applaud you.

Also, just a quick shout out; I love seeing comments and likes because I rarely get any, and thanks to Zazzy, who’s the only person I’ve seen to leave a comment, and francoise47 who likes literally everything I write. Y’all make me smile. If you have requests for me to write about something specific tell me and I’ll do it, I like you guys. That is all, peace out, enjoy the start of your semester.

Let’s do Another Music Ramble I Guess

I’ve been like, way busier this summer than one should ever be in a summer pls send help save my soul SOS. Well, that’s not to say I don’t like it. I’ve been doing research over the summer for the physics department, and I’m doing the same job I did last summer, which is another job within the physics department, and I gotta say, it’s all really fun and I’m quite enjoying myself. But I’m tiiiiiirrrrreeeeddd. With these two jobs, and socializing, and my old sad computer died like a week ago so I had to rush out and drop one thousand dollars on a new computer that night so I could continue to do my job, I’ve been busy, and I get stressed easily. So I’ve been listening to music. Which I did anyway but hey, it’s like the only thing I do in my free time (socializing isn’t free time, it takes too much energy, it’s basically a job). So y’all are getting another music list from me. But this time: PLAY ADDITION. For some reason I got stupidly into two musicals, which I’ve never even watched but I listened to the songs and now I keep listening to them, so I’m forcing my opinions onto you.

Be More Chill:

is is like, a cute musical. Kind of sad stuff happens sometimes, some character’s get sad, but that’s most stories ever so, eh. Be More Chill was actually a book by Ned Vizzini, and it’s a Sci-Fi where super computers go bad. Shocking. A worn out trope, but kind of a fun spin on it because it’s basically a high school drama meet’s sci-fi thing which is kind of funny. Anyway, the musical. The music was written by Joe Iconis and I love all of the songs. “More than Survive” is a really catchy eight minute piece, with dialogue and fun, upbeat, techno sounding instrumental portions. “The Squip Song” is just all around funny; the story is a once loser, turned cool kid, is trying to convince a current loser to buy a squip, which will make him cool. The song is very much not cool, it’s just a kid screaming about ridiculous technology, which is amazing. “Two Player Game” is an adorable song about the main character and his best friend, both losers, who are sticking it through high school together and it’s all good because “IT’S A TWO PLAYER GAAAAAMMMMEEE!” Then my favorite song, “Micheal in the Bathroom.” This song, man. It’s so pretty, and it’s really sweet in a sad way. It’s the main character’s best friend, singing about how he lost his best friend to the technology that’s trying to make him cool. I just kind of love the actor, George Salazar; he’s precious, and has the voice of an angel (if you want to laugh, listen to him sing the song “Calculus,” not from the play but just out there on YouTube). This whole play, in my opinion, is adorable and I really like the music so I highly recommend 10/10.

Dear Evan Hansen:

This is actually a current Broadway Play, and while I again have not seen the actual play, the story sounds interesting and the music is really really good. The play was written by Steven Levenson, and the music composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. It’s essentially a story of suicide, and people dealing with that type of thing. Like I said, I didn’t really watch it, I just thought it sounded cool and read the Wikipedia article about it. So, I don’t know what to say without actually spoiling the story other than that. But the music in this play. It’s all beautiful man. I really, sincerely suggest listening to the songs. “Sincerely Me” is funny, light-hearted, and really fun to listen to. The whole song is two boys writing emails, and the stories they make up. Another song, which is actually the song that made me start listening to this play, is “You Will Be Found.” This is a gorgeous piece about not giving up hope in tough times, with a full chorus bit, and it sounds really lovely. However, my favorite song from this play is “Waving Through a Window.” I mostly like this song because the singer, Ben Platt, has a beautiful voice. It’s so full and rich, and really shines in this song. It’s a song about people feeling loneliness, but it’s not overly sad, with a very melodic and light tone to it. If you listen to any of the song’s I’ve mentioned today, listen to “Waving Through a Window.”

Well, I guess that’s it. I had fun rambling about music again. I hope y’all enjoyed my nonsense mutterings as well. Do you have any songs you’d recommend? (Side Note, if any of you guys are into play music as well, I haven’t properly listened to Hamilton, I just heard some song’s in passing, but I did quite enjoy them. Maybe songs you like from that play?) HAVE A GOOD DAY GUYS!

Rise In Collegiate Knowledge

I know I said I’d never write one of these, but midterms are happening for me (I have one that is literally tomorrow and I’ve barely studied for it beyond doing the homework for the class, but here I am writing an essay for the lovely, probably three total, people who read this. Yay procrastination) and I have literally nothing else to write. So, in the hopes that you won’t be a horrific procrastinator like me, let’s do….. A LIST OF STUDY TIPS!!!! Are ya quaking in your fricken boots from excitement? I know I sure am….. (hahah I’m dead inside let’s just get on with me attempting to tell you how to study).

  1. Never let yourself be caught by surprise by your exams. I’ve heard stories about people just, not knowing they had an exam until the day before. Don’t be like these people. That’s how stress happens. Also, make sure all of your equipment is with you for the actual exam. Pencils, calculators, formula sheets if you’re allowed them (again, I heard a story of a kid who forgot his formula sheet, went all the way back to his dorm to get it, then took the test in the remaining half period he had. #yolftch. (You only live for the cheat sheet, m8).
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  2. Gonna give yourself rewards for jobs well done. If I manage to focus on something for a full hour, I’ll  watch a youtube video. It makes life seem less depressing. You could reward yourself with food too; I’ll eat candy or something. The only reason I don’t usually reward myself with food is because I already eat like garbage anyway, so it’s really not much incentive to just eat more candy. Though a youtube video may be counter-productive, because then you get caught in the hell-hole that is youtube, never to be seen again until 10 minutes before your exam, but OH WELL.
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  3. Give yourself ample time to actually study. Maybe this is similar to bullet one, but I think it’s different in the sense that you know your exams are happening, yet you willingly let yourself procrastinate cause “Oh, I can make it.” My calculus grades may be questionable, but I’ve gotten so good at that crunch time study arithmetic, involving logarithms designed to take the time I have to get homework and studying done, plus time I have to ignore responsibilities — which increases exponentially as the day wears on — then again as the days (plural) pass. And I’ve calculated to the second the amount of sleep I can get if I study solidly through a few hours (plus goofing off on the internet time), at 3am the night before an exam. It’s honestly an art that only a college student (and possibly the particularly stressed out AP high school student) can perfect.
    math.jpgMy point: DON’T DO THIS. This is no way to live I hate myself when I’m taking an exam on exactly 1.5 hours of sleep, fueled only by my self-loathing (as caffeine doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried plenty.)  Just… just actually plan out your studying, please.
  4. You gotta be prepared for oddballs. My last intro level physics exam was weirdly hard. It wasn’t actually all that difficult (as I begrudgingly learned after I took the exam and realized a lot of stupid errors I made), but much harder than all the practice exams we were provided with prepared me for. So, I gritted my teeth during the exam, then whined like a child to my friends after the exam. What I SHOULD’VE DONE was plan for harder stuff. That way easy material would just come naturally. Don’t let yourself get shot in the foot, like my home boi harambe was shot down. He didn’t deserve it, he wasn’t ready. But you should be ready. After my pro tip article prepares you.
  5. Up-hold yourself to a high standard. I always tell my friends: aim super high. That way when you fall short, you haven’t plummeted into a ditch. Merely… face planted at ground level. Or the nicer saying: reach for the moon; if you miss you’ll still land among the stars (or something like that, though that honestly doesn’t sound that great as stars don’t seem all that comfortable to be on, no matter how glamorous they sound). If you can aim high and reach that high standard, power to you, you are a better person than I. However, I’m perfectly happy wallowing in the mud, so long as I haven’t dug myself into too deep a hole. I can always pick myself back up so long as I haven’t fallen too far.

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Or not.

So, there ya go. Study tips, a la Becky. Helpful? Possibly. Hopefully. If anything, I hope you hearing my failures and stories to try to study were at least amusing, and you can get a good “ahaha at least I’m not as bad as her” out of it. By the way….. notice anything about this post? Wanna….. read the first word of each of my pro-tips back for me?

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APRIL FOOLS, SUCKERS! While I do hope the post has been helpful, or comical at least, I have honestly been planning this elaborate Rick Roll for my April blog since, legit, I joined the blog. So…. since the summer I guess. I wanted to insert more memes in here but I honestly do have an exam I should study for, and therefore ran out of time to find the highest of quality memes to spam you with, but I hope this will do. Notice the title of this article, each first letter spells out RICK. That was my sister’s idea. Ah, foreshadowing. While you’re not reading this on April fools, let it be known I wrote this on April fools day, so I’m counting it. (If you’re interested, the best April Fools I received today was a friend telling me he loved me. What made it entertaining was my response, which I thought was solidly funny with a “#yikes.” Honestly, I’m a riot). Well, enjoy your day guys; safe studying.

I should really plan what I’m gonna write about before the day I decide to write these.

Idk man. I can’t plan. I have no schedule, I haven’t slept in my bed for a solid week because I ruined my schedule so much and I’m running on a 4 hours a night average. BUT Imma write a blog post anyway, all of mine are random regardless, so it’s chill. A friend mentioned that I could write about Greek Mythology so I’m totally gonna write about that. I used to be really into Greek Mythology when I was younger for some reason (it wasn’t just the Percy Jackson series I swear), so this’ll be a fun blast to the past.

I’m sure all of y’all know Zeus: God of the Sky, the king of the Gods, the Head Honcho, world’s thirstiest Commander in Chief, Big Zaddy Zeus, the Ancient Abs of the Greek (the last two names helpfully provided by my younger sister). He basically became God of the God’s by being lucky and winning at “draw sticks,” which is honestly super admirable and I applaud him. As a college student, lucking your way into being God of literally everything is, like, everything I aspire to do. Now I mentioned Zaddy Zeus was thirsty. This is very true, as he’s famous for the affairs he had, seemingly All. The. Time. This guy had no chill. One of my favorite affair stories he had was withIo. She was just a pretty girl who Zeus thought was hot, so he disguised himself as a cloud to….um……copulate….with…… her… I guess. I can’t write profanities here but imagine your own words. So, it’s a beautiful thing when cloud meets girl, they have a fun night,  Zeus’ wife is understandably jealous, and came down to see what was going on. There’s a couple ways the story goes, but my personal favorite is that jealous Hera (Zeus’ actual wife, not just one of his many flings) turns poor confused Io into a cow. That’s just, the ultimate petty. The Greek Gods are living for the #drama.

Then there’s Poseidon. God of the Sea, who shakes fear into the heart’s of those who defy them if they plan on traveling by sea; a force to be reckoned with indeed. And on top of that he’s lowkey the creator of the horse. Idk man, cause why not. I guess again this randomness came from the God’s desire to get with a hot chick (this time it was Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest) and she wanted a beautiful animal, so Poseidon, God of the Sea, just poofed up one of the fastest land animals. Sure. Why not. My favorite thing about Poseidon actually isn’t necessarily a random myth, I just love how petty he was in The Odyssey. Granted, I get it, Odysseus was super annoying. I have a friend who swears he’s a hero and she loves him to death, but I can’t stand the arrogant guy. I mean yeah, Poseidon can be kind of annoying by needing everyone to praise him for safe travel by sea before he wrecks their whole lives, but like… Odysseus stabbed Poseidon’s son in the eye, his ONLY eye, then bragged about it and shouted his name like he was king of the world. Um, no. Excuse you Odysseus. Take a seat. But anyway, I love that Poseidon’s reaction was essentially “Well you’re just gonna be lost at sea for ten years. Oh you stabbed my son in the eye? Let’s make it twenty, yeah that’s good.”

Last (well not really last, as there’s something like a million and twenty two point six Greek Gods, give or take) we have Hades. My poor bro. I relate most to Hades. In that game of draw sticks between Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, Hades drew worst and got stuck as God of the Underworld and Ruler of the Dead. Though honestly that sounds like an awesome power. What would you take? “Zeus: Oh I can blow some air around. Poseidon: Well I can slosh this glass of water over. Hades: Oh really? I’ll just summon the dead to fight for me.” Like, Hades really won. I guess it could get lonely though. Which is why my boi Hades essentially tricked Persephone (Demeter’s daughter — a good family blood line I guess, their fresh harvest milkshakes brought all the God’s to the yard) — into staying in the underworld and being his wife. Honestly, same Hades. It’s the only way I’m gonna get a date, man — kidnap the choice specimen and trick them into staying with me by feeding them food. (I’m joking, just so you know. I won’t kidnap people, FBI I promise, I’m just a small Jewish girl who has actual aspirations that I don’t want ruined cause I tried to be funny on an honors program blog. Pls).

So, those are the big three I guess. I think it’s interesting, and I barely even talked about a fraction of them. So if you want to look into them further, be my guest. It’s all really cool.

More Music Rambling

I never have anything exciting to write about on here. I don’t do anything, man. Like, I could get into the topic of that March for Life thing that’s happening this weekend, that I didn’t even know was a thing until two days ago, but frankly that sounds like a can of worms I don’t want to open because I’m not great at dealing with sensitive topics. (I mean if someone waaaants me to talk about a topic like that, tell me, because I do enjoy lively debates. It’s just I’d need to be cautious, and I doubt you care about my opinions on abortion anyway, cause why would you. But let me know, we got freedom of speech, yay ‘murica). SO I’m just gonna talk about music again, except less like a set list of recommendations, but more free form because I haven’t heard anything specific and new that I love (and I’m a lazy child).

This stems from me realizing you have to like, actually study for classes??? Shocking, I know. In high school I literally didn’t do anything outside of school and got A’s. College is harder apparently. I heard a statistic somewhere that even though the average IQ is 100, you need at least an IQ of 110 to do well in college. Don’t quote me because I very much could be wrong, I don’t even remember where I heard that fact, but if it’s true, how dare they set us up to fail like this; I’m personally offended. Anyway, my initial point in bringing up studying was: listening to music helps people study. Or it helps me at least. Took me two years to figure that out but we got here eventually, which is better than not getting there at all.

What do I listen to when I study you ask? For some reason it depends on the subject. Which I find ridiculous, because literally all my subjects are physics, but even between physics subjects I need to listen to different things, which is like, strange. But so be it, here’s how I break it down:

Mechanics (study of like, motion and stuff in physics. A lot of torque, a lot of things rolling down ramps)- death metal. I don’t listen to specific bands in particular, I usually google death metal compilations. Though if you want a band name, Dawn of Demise is usually decent for studying purposes. I don’t know why, it just works. Perhaps it’s a way to relieve the aggression I have for not understanding the physics of a wheel rolling down a ramp.

Thermal (study of temperature relating to heat/energy exchange and stuff)- dubstep. I can’t listen to metal for thermal. I have no clue why. But dubstep works weirdly well, and I focus on my textbook a lot more listening to it. I’ve been listening to compilations by the YouTuber Alex MTCH if you’re interested. I’m praying that now that I have the right music to help me focus on studying, I’ll end the semester with an A (hahaha… ha…. pls. I need the grade).

Literature classes- classical music. I feel like this is a common one. The way I got through my colloquium book (which wasn’t even a bad book, I just have a horrifically short attention span and with every sentence I read in 30 seconds, another 5 minutes was spent doing nothing but staring at a wall) was listening to stuff like Bach and Mozart.  All the reading core classes I took were spent listening to classical music, too. It’s always nice to listen to these types of pieces anyway.

Really, what’s most important is I can’t study with music that I can understand the words to. Cause then I’ll start singing along, and I lose all motivation of actually doing work. That’s why instrumental pieces or really fast screaming metal works the best. But that’s just me. Do y’all listen to anything while studying? Any suggestions? I don’t even know if you guys CAN comment, but if you can, suggestions are always nice.

Quick side note, my post became a list. Gosh darn. Here’s a physics pick up line to apologize for going against my word of this post not being a list (I thought I made the pick up line myself, but someone told me they heard it before me, and I don’t even know if it makes the most sense in regards to actual physics, but use it anyway. If you have non science friends they won’t know the difference): “Hey baby, are you the event horizon? ‘Cause it’s tearing me up that I can’t get close to you.” Have a good day, now.

I’m Not Classy Enough for Book Recommendations, so Here’s Some TV Shows

As the title says, I don’t read all that much. I used to read all the time; in high school, when classes weren’t hard (ah, the wistful memories)– I read during math classes. I don’t know what made it stop, because I still love books and I look at them all the time and say “hey, I should read this,” but then I just don’t read them. Or if I start a book, I’ll stop reading half way through. It’s upsetting. But because I don’t read, all I’ve been doing since winter break started is watching television. So, because two of my fellow bloggers wrote some book recommendations, I’m gonna go ahead and offer TV show suggestions. Specifically cartoons, because that’s all I watch lately.

First up: South Park.

south-park

This is all I’ve been watching to be honest. This is a show inappropriate for children, but it’s ridiculously entertaining. I actually started watching it when I was like, four years old, because my parents figured I wouldn’t actually know anything that was going on in the show. I don’t know what made me start watching it again, because I hadn’t seen it for years, but I’ve just been binge watching it for the last two weeks now. Earlier seasons are just the main characters having ridiculous adventures, with no rhyme or reason as to when they do whatever adventure. However, newer seasons have an overarching plot throughout the season, which some people don’t like as much, but I personally find amazing. The season’s plot ends in the craziest way, and it’s really fun to watch it unfold. If you haven’t watched it, despite a lot of sex and racist jokes, it’s a very witty show that I wholeheartedly recommend.

On the opposite side of the cartoon world: Bob’s Burgers.

bobs-burgers

I’m adding this one because a friend really likes the show, and she got me into it as well. While I have watched significantly less of this show than I have of South Park (I really didn’t like the art style of this one, the lack of chins freaks me out, so I just didn’t watch it for the longest time), it is still very funny. While South Park is hilarious due to it’s very spot on social commentary, Bob’s Burgers is a kind of mindless funny. One specific scene that stands out is where Bob starts kissing a cow. Good times. I’d say this is a tamer Family Guy (which is another good show, a mix between funny social commentary and mindless amusement), so some people might like it for that. It’s entertaining, I’d say watch it.

And now the part of the list where stuff seems to get childish. I have two shows that I love that some people will probably say is for kids, but they’re really good shows in their own right, I promise. First, Gravity Falls.

gravity-falls

This was on the Disney Channel, and it’s basically a mystery/supernatural story. What starts off as seemingly random episodes in the beginning of the series, escalates to “the world trying to be taken over” type of deal. It has lovable characters, more of that mindless comedy, and an interesting plot. While a kid would like the show, an older watcher can certainly appreciate the plot unfolding, and they could have fun trying to figure out the mysteries of the weird town along with the main characters. I haven’t actually finished the series yet, despite it being out for almost a year now  (I keep putting stuff off, man), but I’m very excited to see how it all ends.

Last on my list: Steven Universe.

steven-universe

Listen, I know this looks like a total kids show. All the main characters sing, and it’s all bright colors to grab a kids attention. I get it. My sister thinks I’m a loser for watching this show. But I love this show so much. It’s about a boy who learns to control powers that he inherited from his mother, and his mother’s friends are there to show him how to use those powers. It sounds like a simple plot, and at the start of the show it seemed like it would be cute and simple. But then things like the destruction of the Earth and war among an entire civilization became major plot elements, and it got very interesting very quickly. And despite the heavy themes of the show, it remains adorable and overall happy. It also has a lot of women empowerment in it, because most of the main cast are female leaders. There also seems to be gay themes in the show, but not the usual “hahah the flaming gay character is at it again” type of thing, but just gay characters acting naturally, as a person normally would, which I love a lot. My point is, don’t knock a show until you give it a try, it’s actually a very good show. If you liked Adventure Time (another show I love, kind of a post apocalyptic world that’s fun to try to piece together), you might like this, because the creator of Steven Universe was from the story board team of Adventure Time.

So, if you want to binge watch any cartoons, all of these shows are excellent candidates. They’re all funny in their own right, and extremely entertaining. Are there any shows you guys like to watch? I’m willing to watch any show, I can end up watching anything if it’s in front of me. Have a delightful rest of your break!

If I Could, I Would Procrastinate My Own Death

So. I need motivation to study. I lack that motivation. I will study eventually I’m sure, like in a panicked frenzy tomorrow after wasting the entirety of today (I’m writing this on a Saturday, just so you know. I could evenly split my work. That’s not how I roll). Because I am currently lacking in necessary motivation, I am watching a lot of YouTube. I would read, but even that’s too much work and I’m procrastinating reading for entertainment; I seriously have a problem, I have at least 12 books I want to read, 10 of them lent to me by a friend, haven’t touched them once. So, I’m going to talk to you about YouTube channels I think are worth watching, and maybe aid you guys in your procrastinating endeavors.

I feel like I’m going to get yelled at by some people for admitting I watch gaming channels, but meh. Let’s be clear, I don’t think I’ll get hate for being a girl and liking video games, like no one actually cares or thinks that’s weird behavior (truth be told I don’t even play them all that much, all my consoles died, and again the lazy factor be real. I liked Dante’s Inferno, but that was the last proper video game I played and I don’t even remember how it ended or if I actually finished it). But I know people who don’t like the big gaming channels because they’re very formulaic and have a lot of subscribers for not doing all that much. I personally can’t say because I’m not them, I don’t know how much work they do in a day, but my opinion is people watch those channels for a reason, and the people in charge of those channels make a lot of money because of that, so good for them. I’d make a lot of money doing YouTube if I thought I could, you kidding me? I’m all about that money.

Anyway, I enjoy the popular gaming channels: Markiplier and Jacksepticeye are both relatively entertaining and seem like nice people. I never got into PewdiePie, but he seems nice enough and a lot of people like him, so watch him if you want. The channel that makes me laugh the most though is the GameGrumps, so if you want to laugh watch any of Arin and Danny’s videos. My favorites are the stupid games they played like “Imagine Party Babyz” and “Amazing Frog”, like I actually laughed really hard just because of their reactions to whatever complete nonsense was happening in the game.

For vlogging YouTubers (that don’t just plain vlog, but do skits sometimes), I enjoy watching Danisnotonfire, AmazingPhil, Onision, and Shane Dawson. Yeah a lot of what they talk about is stupid, but I have my reasons for enjoying them. Dan and Phil are precious and act very natural with each other, which makes for amusing and calming entertainment. If you want suggestions, any of their baking videos are perfect. Onision can get offensive and whinny, but again he’s amusing. His “10 Things I…” videos are always pretty funny. Then Shane Dawson is just an old time favorite, as I watched him when I was younger. In my opinion all his old skit videos are funniest, so I recommend those if you are interested.

Then there’s Buzzfeed and Facts. I was up until 7am watching a disgusting amount of Facts. videos last night. When I say I have a problem, I mean it. You just get sucked into a hole when you watch those videos, man; it starts when you’re watching Buzzfeed’s ridiculous video where people are eating a $169 hot dog, and then five hour’s later you’re on Facts.’ “Irish People Watch 16 and Pregnant For The First Time”. The reactions are just so entertaining, for seemingly no reason. Whatever though, I’m not gonna judge how my mind decides to spend it’s time, it’s not like I’m in control of it anyway. Oh, wait. Uh, let’s just say I’m not in control of it, yeah that’s why I’m not studying, hahah….ha…

Now, for my favorite channel as of late: Maangchi. This is an adorable women who cooks Korean food, and she has about 1.4 million subscribers, and she’s precious and the love of my life so watch her if you want. Serious, look at her, she’s so cute:

0521_maangchi-kitchen-1000x697

Really all she does is cook Korean food, posts about once a week, but she’s so sweet and actually seems excited that people want to learn to cook her recipes. She has a cookbook and a blog too, if you want to learn to make her stuff but are too lazy to watch a 10 minute video (which believe me, I understand). I’ve cooked some of her stuff and it’s actually really easy to follow and usually pretty tasty (so long as I use the right ingredients instead of replacing stuff because I don’t have Korean hot pepper flakes). So, if you’re interested in cooking, watch her. There are also fun channels like How To Cake It, but you don’t really make anything she bakes, so much as stare in awe at her amazing decorating skill and aspire to one day make a decent looking regular cake because at least that’s a doable goal, unlike her masterpieces.

So, that’s what I’m doing. How are you guys procrastinating? Or are you actually studying, cause if so tell me your secrets please.

I also feel like I wasn’t as funny as I usually am in this blog because I didn’t really have opportunity for jokes, so I’m just gonna tell a joke. (Found on short-funny.com)

Me: “Do you think it’s strange that you talk to yourself?”

Me: “Nah.”

IT’S THANKSGIVING WE GET A FOUR DAY WEEKEND HAHAHAH

GUYS WE GET A FEW DAYS OFF THANK THE LORD HALLELUJAH.

Yeah sure I might sound excitable, or sound like I snapped or something (I might have, physics majors are drastically close to snapping 24/7, it’s what binds us together), but I had two exams last week, one at 11 PM and the other at 8:40 AM the next day so I’m so excited for this time off you don’t understand. How am I going to spend my four day weekend? I should study. Hopefully I will. I do know for a fact that I’m going to be cooking for Thanksgiving, as cooking is super relaxing. One day I’m celebrating with my mom and then another with my dad and grandma, so I get to cook a decent amount, which should be really fun.

The one with my grandma should be rather ordinary. I want to talk about the one with my mom, because the food should be kind of interesting, and maybe I can give some of you ideas because this is a first for us and may go horribly wrong, so lets see if people can either learn from our mistakes or utilize our success.

Guess who went vegan in my family last year? My kindhearted little sister. She saw a video around this time last year with a calf separated from its mother and all I heard for a month was “BUT THE BABY COWS, BECKY!!!” While she couldn’t persuade me to be vegan, I understand her viewpoint, and to be fair I don’t necessarily need to eat meat, so our household is much more vegetarian at this point. (Fun side note, only meat we have in our house right now is some ground beef for our dog because he hurt his spine and needs to take pills with ground meet, but he’s so prissy he won’t eat it. Our dog doesn’t even like meat; it’s complete nonsense at this point, his favorite food is apples —  I’m so disappointed in him).

bless-the-tofu

So, her new found veganism poses a challenge: what happens during Thanksgiving? We tried a tofurkey at one point, but they’re not good. It’s bitter and weirdly firm, just overall rather unpleasant. What my sister decided she’s going to try to do is make a seitan loaf. If you know what that is props for you because I had no clue until this vegan thing happened. It’s essentially fake meat made out of vital wheat gluten, and it’s high in protein and supposed to taste and feel like meat. However it’s so fickle that it’s ridiculous. Don’t just buy a block of seitan unless you know how to properly prepare it, which I do not, because then it just feels like a sponge when you chew it. It doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own, so really all you have to go by is texture and either the brand I used or the way I made it was truly and wholly awful.

That doesn’t mean it’s bad though, honest. My sister actually made a delicious sandwich out of it, but she made her own seitan from scratch. It was a process, but I’m going to describe the gist of what she did so that if you ever want to try it you know how you should go about it.

The recipe was from “The Edgy Veg” (I mean I’d rethink that name personally but it’s kind of cute so meh), and it was for a Chick-Fil-A sandwich. Which was nice of The Edgy Veg because she made it so you could have a vegetarian Chick-Fil-A style sandwich without the homophobia, so good on her. Anyway, the basics of her recipe was mixing vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, seasonings, water, and tahini until it was an elastic dough. My sister said when she made it the dough looked and felt like a sponge so don’t be deterred. Then she covers small patties of the dough in vegetable broth and cooks that in the oven for an hour. I think that’s the necessary part, because when I used the packaged seitan I didn’t cook it for that long and, boy howdy, was it spongetastic. It was like I was chewing on a childhood memory, it was unfortunate.

The Edgy Veg goes on to bread and fry her patties so they would be like a sandwich. For Thanksgiving my sister is adding tofu into the mix and baking it without the additive of broth to resemble like, turkey maybe, I don’t know. Should be interesting. You can try it if you want, go for it, live the vegan life. It’s not the gluten free life, but it’s vegan, so… It should be interesting if nothing else, the chick-fil-A seitan cooked in broth was actually delicious, so if you want the recipe here’s the link to her blog.

Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich | Vegan recipe

What are y’all doing for the holidays? Have a happy and safe break, try a vegan recipe or try an old time family favorite, idk do you. Have fun though!

Halloween: Then vs. Now

HALLOWEEN IS COMING UP, TIME TO GET SPOOPY!!!

skeleton-war

Really, the only thing I get excited about is the candy and the fact that it happens to be my friend’s birthday, but she doesn’t go to Rutgers so she probably wouldn’t see this blog (but if she does happen to see it HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FRIEND! Likewise, happy birthday to any other lucky soul who’s birthday happens to be on Halloween (sorry it’s on a Monday, my friend was very upset about this)).

I thought it would be interesting to talk about what Halloween was like when we were all little tykes and compare that to what it’s like in college.

I remember Halloween used to be a big deal in elementary school, and I don’t know why it was. You would think the school systems would want to prevent their kids from coming to school the following day high on sugar, hoping to trade their candy like they were practicing drug deals. (Side note: did your schools have a thing where kids were selling candy, and it became a big deal and it was banned and kids would get suspended for it? Why did that happen? If anyone knows tell me ’cause it was just like Russian candy for a quarter I don’t see the issue because that’s like entrepreneurship and should’ve been praised). They had parades in my school, where you would dress up and walk around for an hour and that was what you did the whole day. Then in high school there would always be one kid who would dress up in class even though it wasn’t technically allowed. I don’t know when kids stopped trick or treating, because I would usually go out anyway since it was my friend’s birthday and she wanted free chocolate. But enough people still went because I distinctly remember being disappointed in teenagers’ lack of costumes when they showed up to my house asking for candy. I should’ve said no to them to teach them a lesson.

Halloween at college seems a bit different from what I heard. I’m a physics/astrophysics major, so I don’t have time to have a life and do anything, therefore I have no first-hand experience. BUT when I hear about Halloween, it’s a weekend event, where people go from party to party. Once when I was walking on campus I saw some students in costume and I was surprised that people still dressed up for Halloween in college. That just seems like effort to me now, like I can’t spend an entire weekend partying. I don’t even like socializing that much — how do people do it? I’m tired of my friends after two hours; I couldn’t handle a bunch of strangers for two whole days. Also, I have lab on Monday, and I have to read an average of three-four chapters of my physics textbooks over the weekend, like how is this possible? My friend, whose birthday is on Halloween, also complained to me that she has her hardest exam the next day, so she can’t do anything over the weekend and maybe not even on her actual birthday.

So based on these observations, the enjoyment of Halloween changed to two options: extra fun now that we’re older and can do things by ourselves, or bitter acknowledgement that we’re older and have responsibilities that we’re too anxious to neglect. In both cases the aging process was the trigger to cause these changes. I just thought it was kind of interesting to see these new perspectives, because these are our years where we’re supposed to be “free and wild and crazy” and stuff.

If you’ve sat through and read the entirety of my nonsense rambling, you deserve a reward. I don’t think I’m legally allowed to give you money (nor would I want to, I’m quite attached to my money) so you’re getting some HALLOWEEN FUN FACTS! Make your friends jealous with your copious amounts of not-so-necessary knowledge that I will provide to you.

  1. The earliest evidence of Halloween celebrations dates back to Celtic New Year celebrations. It was considered “day of the dead.” They marked it as the start of winter, thus it was associated with death, so they believed that souls would come to Earth during the last day of October.
  2. In medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl call meant someone was about to die. So if you see an owl on Halloween look out, a clown might be behind you.
  3. The reason black and orange are popular Halloween colors is because orange (which can loosely be seen as gold and brown) represent the harvest, and black represents the death that used to be associated with the end of October. Pretty darned cheery if you ask me: “look we have corn now but don’t forget you’re all gonna die soon.” Good stuff.
  4. Harry Houdini died on Halloween night in 1926. Maybe he’ll come back on Halloween one year. His greatest trick ever??? Only time will tell.
  5. There have been instances where people thought they were driving by an amazing Halloween decoration when it was actually a dead body. So uh, if your neighbors have a really REALLY realistic looking body hanging out their window, maybe call somebody. They’re either master decorators or serial killers.

Happy Halloween everybody: stay safe! Ignore the diddly darned Christmas aisles in stores: that holiday can wait its turn.