Saturday, May 31, 2008

All hail Indy

Last weekend, Ann and I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. First, let me say that Indiana Jones is one of my most cherished childhood memories, equivalent to Star Wars. I still remember my dad taking me to see Temple of Doom when I was 8ish years old and being completely freaked out when the head priest RIPPED OUT THE GUY'S STILL BEATING HEART! I also remember my dad taking me to see The Last Crusade on our first furlough back to the US.

So, yeah, they could've very easily messed with my nostalgia. But it was okay. It was acceptable. It wasn't a religious experience, but they didn't completely screw it up. Here are some of the cons:
  • Indy's buddy McHale? A completely unnecssary and overdone plot concept.
  • Karen Allen has not aged well.
  • Harrison Ford HAS aged well, but he's certainly aged.
  • I can't believe I'm actually going to say this, but there were too many special effects. Lucas had said they would tone down the CGI for this movie, but that was NOT the case.
  • The vine-swinging monkeys were totally dumb.
  • The end death scene was a complete let-down. It was not worty of Raiders face-melting scene.

Now for the good stuff:

  • Shia LaBeouf was really good. He could've completely overdone the role, but I thought it was well-played.
  • The special effects, while overdone, were really good.
  • I am now completely creeped out by ants.
  • All the chase sequences were awesome. Spielberg's still got it.

Bottom line: go see it. It's easily as good or better than any other movie out right now (although Prince Caspian and Iron Man are both awesome too).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Preach on

I don't necessarily agree with everything Roland Martin has to say, but this is dead-on.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Jared Diamond is quickly becoming my favorite author on geo-sociological issues (you know, because I've read SO many other authors on geo-sociological issues). With Collapse, Diamond has managed to write a pro-environmentalism book without seeming whiney or preachy about it. His conclusions that all societal collapses can be traced to environmental issues seem a little far-reaching, but presented with the evidence, it's hard to disagree. Most importantly, he discusses how the reader is responsible for their own contributions, and solutions, to the environmental problems the world currently faces. I was most intrigued by the stories of how Pacific islanders lived their lives thousands of years ago. I cannot imagine a life more different from mine than that of a fisherman on an island, eking out an existence with stone tools and skin canoes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My journey in tea

For the last year and a half or so, I’ve been drinking a lot of hot tea. Becoming interested in tea was a very conscious decision on my part. I love learning more about certain types of food, learning their histories and how they’re prepared and consumed. About two years ago I spent some time “learning” sushi; I’ve also done some studying of chocolate and wine. Tea seemed like the perfect option: it’s inexpensive, it’s consumed all over the world, I can drink it at work, there are hundreds of different varieties, and it’s healthy. And you know what a health nut I am.

To prove my commitment to the study of tea, consider this fact: I’m probably the only person you know who’s read not one, not two, but three different books about tea (with a fourth on the “to read” stack).

My preferred online tea retailer is Adagio. I began my journey by ordering a bunch of loose-leaf tea from their site. Loose-leaf is widely considered to be of higher quality than bagged tea since the entire (or most of the) tea leaf is used, and the brewing of the tea allows the leaf to fully expand and release its full range of flavors. My first step was to really understand the differences between the four types of tea: black, oolong, green, and white. I’d hoped I would get more into green and white teas since they are classic Asian types and let’s face it, Asian stuff is cool. Ann bought me a one-cup teapot to make desk-side preparation easier.

Much to my surprise, I really enjoy straight-up Western-style black tea, although I usually don’t use creamer like the English do. I have a great one from Adagio called Golden Monkey, although I’ve found a few bagged teas that are really good as well. At home, where I use bagged tea only, I have a wonderful Earl Grey that I do occasionally put flavored creams in.

Oolongs are nice every now and then for something different. You’ve probably had an oolong at nicer Chinese restaurants. I keep a pretty standard one in my cabinet that’s nice to have when I’m looking for a change of pace.

Greens, while being extremely good for you, take a little getting used to. The grassy flavor can be a bit overwhelming, and greens can be very easily oversteeped, resulting in a bitter, harsh flavor. I’ve got a green that a friend of mine brought me back from the Tokyo airport that’s phenomenal, and a spiced green from Adagio that’s very tasty as well.

White teas are a complete enigma to me. They’re supposed to be light and delicate. I’ve tried three different kinds, and they all taste like hot water to me. I’ve pretty much given up on these for now.

I do drink a couple of herbal blends at home. While technically not “tea,” their complete lack of caffeine make them nice for evening sipping after the kids are in bed (but when it’s too late for wine). I’ve got a delicious orange spice that I’ve had for a while, and I just picked up a Lipton apple-cinammon that’s awesome.

In the future, I’ll probably try to expand my experiences with black tea a little more. I’ve never tried a full-leaf Earl Grey, and there are more spiced variations than I could ever drink.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My new life philosophy

With special thanks to

Monday, May 5, 2008

Why the Internet was created.

If there were no Internet, there wouldn't be YouTube videos this awesome: