Thursday, March 26, 2009

Shopping Can Be Fun, Honest

So okay guys, shopping is lame. Someone else should just know your size and buy your clothes for you. It is tedious waiting in lines and having to change in the fitting rooms and have people look at you to approve what you have tried.


Shopping is a good time. If you listen to what the people shopping with you are saying. Also, if the people shopping with you are cool. Which has as of late been the case.
My friends, the ladies are on your side. At least, they have your best interests at heart. And with them at your side, you can have a wonderful time shopping. I went shopping with my friend Michelle over break, and I came out with a very affordable selection of new clothes that, if I may say so, made me look awesome. What's more, I didn't change my style too much, just made some adjustments.
Last week, I went shopping (clothes-trying-on?) with my friends Amanda and Zoe. Verdict: success!
The best part of clothes shopping with peer ladies: the reaction. A combination of their good taste and your willingness to comply results in you looking good. When I came out in some outfit, I don't remember which but it was one I would not have picked out myself, the reaction was resoundingly positive. Which is really cool!
Anyway, if you need help with style, talk to your friends. Or my friends, they might be helpful.

Please, Consider the Following:
This here is a webseries based on Floor 5 South at UCLA, and chronicles the adventures of this dorm of freshmen. Basically, it is the college-version of The Office, yet it is entirely original. While most college shows focus on the Greek life, Greek for example (which I am also a fan of), this webseries focuses on the dorms. And it is hilarious.
Every character has their quirks, yet they all could be people we've encountered in our college experiences. I've come to love or love to hate all of them, from the insanely abusive RA Marshall Adams I to the unassuming Danny B.
The show is worth checking out, each episode is only 5-10 minutes long. It's so absurd, you'll be laughing whether or not you've seen things like this in your college experience.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Shield of Aeneas: Rome's Greatest Hits

Hi there, Billy Mays here with an exciting new product!
Don't you just love the soothing sounds of the Roman Republic? Remember how the catchy tunes of the old kings made you get up and dance? Well now you can get all the greatest hits of Rome on one record! Call now, and you can get The Shield of Aeneas, a collection of all of Rome's chart-topping moments!
For only three payments of 65.99 denarii, you can own the greatest moments of Roman history on one piece of bronze! It includes these memorable hits:
-"Mother's Like the Wolf" (Romulus and Remus)
-"Fat Bottomed Sabine Women" (Rape of the Sabine Women)
-"Walk This Way...and That Way" (Execution of Mettus)
-"Bright Side of the River" (Cocles destroying the bridge)
-"Cloelia (You're a Fine Girl)" (Cloelia's escape)
-"Three Little Birds" (Manlius and the sacred geese)

And even the recent hit, "Smoke on the Water" (Battle of Actium)

Order now and get a free set of god-forged war gear, including a sword, helmet, corselet, greaves, and spear!

*Also protects you against weaponry. Not for use on household turntables.


So I hate to bring you guys back to Rome, but I'm in class at the moment and we're looking at the shield of Aeneas and i got chills about how cool this it. As described in Virgil's Aeneid, Aeneas' mother Venus brings him this war equipment forged by her husband (but not his father, come on), the focus of which is the shield. I translated this passage before in high school and of course it made no sense. Now, though, I can see this is really cool. The shield has been sculpted to show what are quite literally the greatest moments in Roman history.
Now, this is all happening before Rome is even founded, how can these things be on a shield, you may ask. Well, it was sculpted by Vulcan, and he too has powers of prophecy, so he put all the greatness that would be Rome onto this shield. (If this seems confusing, try translating from Latin. The tenses...this happened in the past but it's written like we're there but these scenes take place in the future that is also to us past...WHAT?!! Thanks, Mr. Early.)
There's even more to this shield. Virgil was writing the Aeneid for a few reasons, and one of them was to praise Augustus. He achieves this very well by putting the Battle of Actium at the very center of the shield. This suggests to the reader that the Battle, which defeated Antony and Cleopatra and ended over a century of civil war, is the culmination of Roman culture. This event is the ultimate point of Roman history. Now, this is part propaganda in Augustus' favor, but it's still pretty cool.
So, if you want the greatest moments of the Roman Republic, the Shield of Aeneas is the way to go. If you want to know more about any of those "songs" I mentioned, leave it in the comments and I'll get back to you.

And now, Please Consider The Following:

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.

This collection of books, written for about the sixth-grade reading level, are a really great way to introduce kids to the world of mythology. The story focuses on Percy Jackson, a half-blood (that is, half mortal and half god) who is in danger from the monsters of mythology as he starts to find out who he is. As it turns out, mythological figures appear wherever the center of Western Civilization is, so America becomes the setting of the story. For example, Olympus is at the top of the Empire State Building, and the entrance to Hades is in Los Angeles.
He enrolls at a summer camp for others like him, from daughters of Athena to sons of Ares. Here, he meets a satyr, learns from Chiron, and comes to dislike Dionysis. Soon he is given a quest and is soon caught up in prophecies that put the weight of the world on his shoulders (yep, he appears too).
The series is fast paced, an easy read, and funny. If you are familiar with Greek mythology, you'll appreciate how the gods and other figures are depicted. Riordan does an amazing job taking the often conflicting myths and puting them in modern terms.
Four of the five books are released, the final one will be published May 5, 2009.

Bringing this back around, in the novel Percy is given a watch by his half-brother, a cyclops. Pushing a button turns it into a full-size shield, on which is depicted the adventures which Percy and his friends go through in the course of the story. Pretty sweet, huh?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bonus Update: Castle

So, Nathan Fillion's new show Castle premiered tonight on ABC. And I have to say it surpassed my expectations, mainly because I didn't really have any expectations to begin with. I was very pleasantly surprised, and very happy to see Fillion in a new role.

The premise of the show, if you haven't heard, is that there has been a series of murders straight out of the crime novels of Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion). Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) calls him in to gain some insight on the murders, but Castle finds it hard to take anything seriously, and so he tags along, as Beckett describes, "like a nine year old on a sugar rush." In the end, Castle returns to do research on his new heroine for the next series of novels.

Nathan Fillion is charming as ever, and really works the role of the fun, cocky, wisecracking novelist, and Katic keeps on par with Fillion in wit and strength. They work really well as a team; the dynamic is very interesting. As another detective put it, "A control freak like you [Beckett] with something you can't control? This is gonna be better than Shark Week." Castle knows people and can read them quite well, something that comes from his attention to detail in his novels. However, his total disregard for the rules could get him in trouble.

The show seems to be very character-driven, which I enjoy. Castle, though divorced, seems be close to his family, his daughter being as witty as he is. Even Castle's mother is hilarious.

Here is a preview of the first episode, if you missed it. And here is an interview with Fillion on the show. I am definitely looking forward to more of this show.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Weather = Mood

So, New England, you fickle mistress you. This weekend, plain and simple, has been amazing. It is so amazing to see people in the bowl outside my window, or doing homework out on the balcony. Spring really does bring life back into the world. It's only fitting that we had a snow day Monday and are getting more cold weather tonight/tomorrow. Oh, New England.

So Friday, we went out to throw the frisbee around for a bit. Then there was some snowball chuckage, ending in a window getting smashed. My friend who did it was in complete disbelief, because it was just a snowball. No worries though, the girl (on my floor) whose window it wasn't too mad about it, we're all friends here. Then, my friend Tim and I watched Star Wars IV, such a wise decision. I haven't watched the movies in a while, and I can't get over how gritty the movie is, how real it is as compared to the prequels or to any movie really. And I love the droids.

Saturday was another great day, so we played some capture the flag. The melting snow provided some excellent mud, and there were a good number of slips and spills. Then, some tour groups came by the dorm, so I donned my toga and when I went to the window there were 60ish people outside. Then I got Tim's lightsaber, and just stood by the lounge while the people toured the hall. I got a great number of looks, I hope they got a good idea of college life.

Of course, we finished off the day with Star Wars V.

Today was quidditch practice, so I got all dressed up in my underarmor and cleats. The field? Muddy as all hell. My team won both games, but not before getting complete head-to-toe mudbaths. There is no way of getting the mud out of my shirt now, but it was very much worth it. Tonight? Obviously Return of the Jedi.

Please, Consider the Following:
If you enjoy a badass classic rock soundtrack, a Mustang car, shotguns, witty dialogue, demons vampires and all kinds of hell, you'll enjoy the show Supernatural, starring Jared Padelacki and Jensen Ackles. These two brothers go around the country killing ghosts, vampires, werewolves, all kinds of killer creatures. My friend describes it by saying that every episode is like its own horror movie. Someone dies in every episode. It's quite a fun show.
This here is my personal favorite clip from the show thus far. At this point, the brothers Sam and Dean Winchester have saved a ton of lives, but they've killed a lot of the people demons were possessing, so they're fugitives. While on a job, they get trapped because it appears that they are robbing a bank. Season 3, Episode 12 ends thus:

The musical cues in the show are fantastic. Also, here's a selection from one of my favorite episodes, Season 3 Episode 12:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Everybody Strap In! I'm About to Open some F*&^ing Windows

Does titling the first post as a quote from a flop movie doom this blog? It probably would if the line was not uttered by Sammy Jackson. But I digress.

Mission Statement: I was going to base this off TMHS's, but I don't remember it. So much for hearing it every single morning for 4 years, huh? My intentions with this blog is simply to share interesting things I encounter in between getting my college education. I might tell you about the chance encounter I had with the burger bar last night at the DC and how I had the best burger I've had in a while, or that some snowboarders built a jump crossing over one of the paths out of the snow we got Monday. Whatever strikes my fancy.
As a bonus, I'll direct your attention to some thing or other that I find cool, which you might/might not already know about, and that you might/might not find cool too. Might be music, television, YouTube, story, whatever.

I'll start with this funny story from Livy's account of early Rome. The background is that Tullius Hostilius, third king of Rome, had defeated and annexed the territory of Alba Longa. He was now in a campaign against another territory, and he counted on the army of Alba Longa to help him in the war. During the battle, however, their king Mettius Fufetius (funny name, huh?) took his troops back until it was over. He then returned and congratulated Tullius on his success. The next day, during the celebration, Tullius called out Mettius Fufetius thus:
"Mettius Fufetius...were you capable of learning loyally to abide by your word, I should have let you live, I should have taught you myself. But you are not capable; no medicine can cure your mind's disease. So be it: your punishment may teach mankind to hold sacred the honour you have besmirched. Yesterday you could not decide between Fidenae and Rome: dountless it was a painful division of mind-but today the division of you body will be more painful still."
-Translation Aubrey de Selincourt, Penguin Books
And so he was torn apart by two chariots.
Oh, you Romans and your poetic punishments.

That'll be it for me for now, I have not much idea when I'll post again.
PS. When Humans vs Zombies rolls around again, this'll be the spot for the journal. Stay tuned!