Feeling Bored? Feeling Dumb?

Heres where you go for about 30mins of entertainment…
http://www.helpineedhelp.com/bored

ALSO…
Here is some knowledge to make you feel smarter straight from our friends at this wonderful site.

Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as 170 miles (274 km) per hour. The life expectancy of a modern toilet is 50 years. Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than for the US Treasury. The three smartest breeds of dog are: 1) border collie 2) poodle 3) golden retriever. Every year about 98% of the atoms in your body are replaced . More educated people are more likely to drink alcohol (university students then…..) Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people. More than 2500 left handed people are killed every year from using right handed products Canadian researchers have found that Einstein’s brain was 15% wider than normal. A chip of silicon a 6mm square has the capacity of the original 1949 ENIAC computer, which occupied a whole city block. There are actually registered organizations around the world called: “The institute of totally useless skills”, “The international association of sand castle builders”, “National society for prevention of cruelty to mushrooms”, “Cookie cutter collectors club” and the “International correspondence of corkscrew addicts.” Your stomach needs to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks or it would digest itself. If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee. A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death. Shakespeare invented the word “assassination” and “bump.” The longest word in any normal dictionary is floccinaucinihilipilification…the measure of something as being worthless. Did you know it would take 2700 times the age of the universe to drive to the next galaxy in a bus traveling at 50KPH! A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds. Celery has negative calories. It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with. One year is exactly 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 54.5 seconds. Did you know that it would take 44,000 years to write out a googolplex? That is: 1 x 10 ^ (‘to the power of’)10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000! Months that begin with Sunday will always have a Friday the 13th. Butterflies taste with their feet 25% of women think money makes a man sexier. The numbers ‘172’ can be found on the back of the U.S. $5 dollar bill in the bushes at the base of the Lincoln Memorial. President Kennedy was the fastest random speaker in the world with upwards of 350 words per minute. In the average lifetime, a person will walk the equivalent of 5 times around the equator. Odontophobia is the fear of teeth. The 57 on Heinz ketchup bottles represents the number of varieties of pickles the company once had. In the early days of the telephone, operators would pick up a call and use the phrase, “Well, are you there?”. It wasn’t until 1895 that someone suggested answering the phone with the phrase “number please?” The surface area of an average-sized brick is 79 cm squared. According to suicide statistics, Monday is the favored day for self-destruction. Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours per day. The most common name in the world is Mohammad. It is believed that Shakespeare was 46 around the time that the King James Version of the Bible was written. In Psalms 46, the 46th word from the first word is shake and the 46th word from the last word is spear. Karaoke means, “empty orchestra” in Japanese. There are two credit cards for every person in the United States.

Pop Music’s Perpetuation of the Degraded Female Stereotype or The Problem with Katy Perry

Ever since I started going to college parties, I’ve been bombarded with the same old popular songs again and again. Whether it’s Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus or Beyoncé, they all have catchy empty songs that blatantly perpetuate the stereotype that women should all try and be sexy, alluring, perfect objects so that they can find a man and either sell themselves for money or get married, preferably both. Beyoncé’s “Single ladies” is about getting an engagement ring, Katy Perry uses stereotypes throughout all of her songs, from “One of the Boys”, which gives the picture of the ideal woman and the desire to be a sexual object, to “If You Can Afford Me” which screams at girls that they are possessions, or that at least they should marry rich. Even the music videos sell the idea that these women are sex objects (see any Lady Gaga or Beyoncé), or brides to be (Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies, Katy Perry’s “Hot n’ Cold”).

Now I’m not saying that I don’t relate to what these women sing about. I want someone who I can care about and someone who will love me. I have developed the desire to be desired, even perceived as a sex goddess. I only doubt that this is something I’ve always wanted, or that such a desire and parallels to these songs in my own life is in any way healthy. It is possible that the only reason I realize the full aspect of this is because I moved to this country so late in life. Every girl wants to be liked and accepted by her peers and I lacked something in that degree. I only found out what it was when I came to America and they taught me that I was too fat, or too tall, or too weird or too confident. They cut me down to size and began to mold my mind into one that was filled with doubts and confusion and eventually acceptance. See, there is no way to escape such a fully immersive experience as living in America. Even without cable television, or much access to the Internet, the message bleeds through.

It’s not that I think anything will change. Most people are fully accepting and aware of the issue. I just hope people will understand a little better when I tell them that if I have children, I’d rather raise them in a different country. America may be the front runners of reality TV… but all I can see are the fake noses, doctored billboards, teen magazines and naked pop stars.

A Very Indian Christmas (recipes)

Well the family said yes! So I shall be helping my mother cook aloo gobi, and chicken curry and chapatis or naan in between opening the presents and having a kick ass day. Here are some recipes I found online for what we will probably be making.

Aloo Gobi

Ingredients:
* 3 potatoes, chopped
* water for boiling
* 1 cauliflower, chopped
* 1/2 onion, sliced
* 1 tsp coriander
* 1 tsp cumin
* 1/2 tsp turmeric
* 1/4 tsp ground cloves
* 1/4 tsp ginger
* 2 bay leaves
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* 1 tbsp lemon juice
* 1/3 cup water

Preparation:
1. Boil the potatoes in water for about 15 minutes, or until just barely tender. Remove from heat and drain.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the spices and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the onion, cauliflower and potatoes.
3. Allow the veggies to cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, then add the lemon juice and water.
4. Cover and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes, or until cauliflower is done cooking.
5. Serve your vegetarian aloo gobi alone or with rice if desired.

Chicken Marsala

Ingredients:
• 4 Halved chicken breasts
• 3 tbsp. Olive or vegetable oil
• 1 Egg with 1/4 cup water
• 1 Cup crushed stuffing mix
• 2 Cloves crushed garlic
• 1/2 tsp. Oregano and basil
• 1 tbsp. Oyster sauce
• 1/2 Cup Marsala wine
• 1/2 tsp. Pepper
• 1 Cup sliced mushrooms
• 1/4 Cup chopped green onions
• 1 tbsp. Cornstarch
• 1/2 Cup water

Preparation
• Mix water and egg put chicken in it, crush them into crumbs and cover completely.
• Fry the above mixture in olive oil until browned and done throughout. Set aside.
• In the same pan add more oil if needed and fry onions and mushrooms until tender.
• Add wine to pan and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
• Add spices, water and cornstarch, simmer for 10 minutes to mix flavors.
• Pour the mixture of spices, water and cornstarch over chicken and serve with noodles.
• Chicken Marsala is ready.

Naan

Ingredients
* 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
* 1 cup warm water
* 1/4 cup white sugar
* 3 tablespoons milk
* 1 egg, beaten
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 4 1/2 cups bread flour
* 2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
* 1/4 cup butter, melted

Preparation
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

Samosas

Ingredients:
For Cover:
1 cup all purpose flour (Maida)
Water to Knead dough
2tbsp oil
Little salt
1/4th tsp. Ajwain (optional)
For Stuffing:
3-4 Potatoes (boiled, peeled & mashed)
1/2 cup Green Peas (boiled)
1-2 Green Chilies (finely chopped)
1/2tsp Ginger (crushed)
1tbsp coriander finely chopped
Few chopped Cashews (optional)
Few Raisins (optional)
1/2tsp Garam masala
Salt to taste
Red chili powder to taste
1/2 tsp. Dry Mango powder( Amchur) (optional)

Preparation:
For Cover:
* Mix all the ingredients (salt, oil, ajwain) except water.
* Add a little water at a time.
* Pat and knead well for several times into a soft pliable dough.
* Cover it with moist Muslin cloth and keep aside for 15 minutes.

For Stuffing :
* In a bowl add mashed potatoes and all dry masalas (salt, chili powder, mango powder,
garam masala) and green chilles, ginger and Mix well.
* Add green peas, cashews and raisins and mix well.
* Add coriander and keep aside.

To Proceed :
* Make small rolls of dough and roll it into a 4″-5″ diameter circle.
* Cut it into two parts like semi-circle.
* Now take one semi circle and fold it like a cone. Use water while doing so.
* Place a spoon of filling in the cone and seal the third side using a drop of water.
* Heat oil in a kadhai and deep fry till golden brown (fry on a medium flame).
* Serve samosa hot with hari chutney, tamarind chutney.

A very Indian Christmas

So we spent most of the evening today decorating cookies with some charming African refugees who speak very little English, but make very colorful sugar Christmas trees and stars. That and making the marzipan for the British fruitcake made me realize that as fun as traditions can be, theres nothing like mixing it up a little and having some fun. So I’m going to see if our family can have Indian food for Christmas dinner. Not that we’re pulling out all the stops, or anything, but I thought it would be nice to have a home cooked Indian meal with the family for Christmas. Even though we’re not Indian, my family spent at least ten years eating dahl baht and saag, so why not commemorate it on the greatest day of the year? Still going to have to see if we have the resources, time and inclination to really pull this one off, but hopefully it will be naan, aloo gobi and lupsi achar this Christmas! Happy Holidays Folks.

Two Weddings and A Funeral

I’m not sure what it is about the weekend before Christmas that makes people wanna get hitched. Probably all the relatives in town, and the sales.

After waking up in the dark on Friday evening, and finally getting my brain to wake up before 2pm by Saturday, my parents invited me to two weddings on the same day. Earlier that day my mother had already attended a funeral for a leader of her bible study group, so the day already was packed with wearing your nice clothes and sitting through emotional official gatherings.

The first wedding was between two friends of my father who I had never met before. She wore this beautiful dress and crystals hanging over her face and she looked like a Nubian princess. The sound system may not have been great (switching CDs manually), and the pastor said “Praise Jesus” a lot, but the food smelled delicious, the bride and groom seemed happy and everyone was just having a good time. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay for the reception, because we had another wedding to go to, this one for Lisa, a friend of mine from my parents’ church.

The second ceremony was beautiful and understated, with an almost medieval custom made wedding dress and a beautiful sand ceremony involving Lisa’s son. There were also little jingle bells we got to ring when they walked down the isle together. The reception was great fun because I got to eat my weight in cake and dance with my friend Anja, who I haven’t seen in a couple years (since she has been in the Air Force in Texas and I have been in college in Illinois). We pretty much tore up the floor with our Macarena.

I’m glad I got to be part of so much celebration of life today, but I’m still kinda bummed that the only places it’s acceptable to dance well at are weddings and junior high dances. I don’t get a whole lot of those any more. Though I’m beginning to suspect that the older I get, the more of my friends will probably get married… So that gives me a solid 10 years or so of free cake, dancing and warm fuzzies, to help me feel better about how I will continue to live my life as a decreasingly sexy spinster.

Finals are OVER… new desktop…

So my performance finals are over… and yes, I rocked them all up and down the street. I did really well on my piano final, far better than I expected to, and then rocked out in my theory final. And now I am hanging out a home, figuring out when I need to be ready to go home. Should I wash my clothes or not?

On a completely separate note, I have recently updated my desktop so that it looks awesome and tells me the weather.

The program is called Mach Desktop, and it rocks my world. I also added some cool icons to it so that my pictures, documents and music files are represented by cute skeleton animals.
YAY! HOLIDAYS!

Performance Finals

I think that the universe, in it’s infinite kindness and wisdom has decided that since next semester’s workload will likely kill me, I deserve a ridiculously easy set of finals this semester. They are as follows:

An open note, open book Atronomy test
Juries (Singing final)
Songwriting (a not based on your performance singing final)
Commercial theory (another singing final – with a group)
Com Theory Lab (piano final)

I am fairly excited, since the song I wrote has progressed a lot from it’s original crappy-ness, and the arrangements we are doing for commercial theory include a Ukrainian polka version of carol of the bells.