Thanksgiving Photo Shoot

Photography

So I’ve mentioned before that Alyssa and I take photos – a lot of photos. And when I came back for four days over Thanksgiving break, of course one of our top priorities was to squeeze in a photo shoot. We were a little short on time and inspiration, so we weren’t exactly expecting any great shots, but I think some of them came out surprisingly beautiful. 🙂 So here you are, a few of the photos from our November photo shoot:

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Grizzly Man

Musicality

So I’ve officially survived my first semester of college. 🙂 Two finals-and-stress-filled weeks are over and my Christmas break has officially begun! And with all this new-found free time, I can start writing for The Zebu again!! Woot woot!

And I’d like to jump back in with another song for you! Beautiful, haunting, strange, magical; there’s no real way to categorize it, you just have to listen for yourself. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but the best way for me to describe the sound of this song is pure nature. It’s called Grizzlyman by Rockettothesky, the performing moniker of Norwegian artist Jenny Hval. Her music is breath-taking and more than a little crazy, but each piece holds a subtle power that grows on you overtime.

Journalism Multimedia Project #2: Banana Nut Pancakes

Yeah. For realz.

Who says you can’t cook in a dorm? And who says chivalry is dead? And who says guys can’t cook? Because it turns out two and a half of these things are totally untrue, and I’m here to offer you concrete proof.

Here’s an article dedicated to Renaissance man Steven Hartman who not only rows and does assorted charity stuff but makes a mean banana-nut pancake. 🙂

Steven makes a habit of weekly pancake breakfasts, a ritual practice all college students should have the opportunity to emulate.

Unfortunately, Steven is a little strange and doesn’t believe in sugar (I know, right?) so he has no maple syrup. This was quite a conundrum for me. How do you eat pancakes without maple syrup? So I had to improvise, by topping by banana nut pancakes with a spare package of M&M’s. Nutritious.

Anyways, Steven’s gourmet college-version of banana nut pancakes require Bisquik, a banana, and walnuts. And a pan and an oven and bowl, if you want to get technical. Which was super-impressive for college dorm cooking and I am eternally grateful, but if you’re at home and want to make some legit banana pancakes, I’d suggest this recipe instead:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/banana-nut-pancakes/

Below for your viewing pleasure is a scientific documentation of this morning’s pancake adventures:

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Journalism Multimedia Project #1: Erging

  Rowing is obviously a water sport, and therefore confined by certain seasonal restrictions. Once the water gets too cold, the crew team washes and de-rigs the shells (the boats used in crew), places the oars back in storage, and locks up the boathouse for winter. But just because they aren’t getting any time on the water doesn’t mean practice ends for Hofstra Crew. The onset of winter means the beginning of winter training; sprints, miles, weights, circuits, and of course, inevitably, erging.

       An ergometer, affectionately known as an ‘erg’, is an indoor rowing machine (pictured below).

Torture device.

Chances are you’ve seen (and avoided) these things at your local gym. There’s usually one or two, sitting lonely and deserted. This is because the ergometer is a little trickier (not difficult, but trickier) to pick up than your average piece of workout equipment. Unlike treadmills and elliptical, there’s a bit of a learning curve involved.

It’s funny how the whole team dynamic shifts once practice moves from outdoors to indoors. On the water team members work together in boats of two, four or eights. The goal is to move the boat along in the smoothest, most cohesive way possible, which means keeping strokes in sync and pressure even. It’s very much about staying on the same page as your fellow rowers.

Off the water, however, it’s the complete opposite. Workouts are done solo and the goal is no longer to row in harmony but to blow away your rival’s rowing time by as much as possible. Rowers are pitted against one another in timed 2k’s, 5k’s and 10k’s where they are inspired by the pure spirit of competition to row till they (sometimes literally) fall off their ergs.

Rowing ‘prowess’ is defined by three crucial elements; time or meters, stroke rating, and split time. Time and meters are interchangeable; for instance, if you want to row a 2k, you want to row as fast as possible. If you want to row for twenty minutes, you’ll try to row as far as possible. Stroke rating measures how fast you’re moving, and your split time shows you the amount of power with which you’re rowing. You have to keep an eye on all three pieces as you row to be truly successful.

As killer as winter training can be, there’s no denying it gets results, and the extra-competitive edge can serve as a major motivator. Below is a slideshow showing some of the members of the crew team in action, and since my video won’t upload here’s a borrowed clip from Youtube of the ever-exciting erging process:

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Film Saturation

So I’m so sorry I haven’t gotten anything up since, oh dear, Sunday? Anyways, I’ve got a good excuse. My laptop is totally fried; I have no idea when I’ll be getting it back, and I’ve been too busy till now crying in a corner to get to a computer lab and write something up. 

Buuuut, I happened to be almost finished with the article below at my laptop’s ETD, so hopefully this can act as a sort of apology:

You probably don’t know this about me, but I’m a bit of a closet movie buff. When you hear people say something like, ‘Ah, what was that movie where the guy did this thing and who was that lady with the face?’ I’m the one who jumps in and yells, ‘United States of Leland, Jena Malone, Bam!’. Sometimes I get embarrassed and just pretend I don’t know the answer either, but it always absolutely kills me inside.

Anyways, I like movies, a lot, so I thought I’d give you my list of Movies-Most-Highly-Anticipated-By-Amy-For-2012.

11. Hunger Games

I’ve been fighting this movie with everything I have for pretty much the past  year. I mean, first Jennifer Lawrence had to step in and snag the part that   was, as we all know, rightfully mine. But then there’s the run-of-the-mill  concern that the book (just the first one; I happen to think the second was  ‘meh’ and the third was absolutely godawful, but that’s a tangent for another  time) was so original and fast-paced and just so good, how can the movie live  up to it? However, since that trailer came out last week, I think I might’ve just  been converted to the dark side. It looks like they decided to treat the material  seriously (maybe a little more seriously than a young adult best-seller like Hunger Games can really get credit for) instead of slapping it together as the next summer blockbuster, like so many other failed book-to-movie trilogies. I guess time will tell if Hunger Games can live up to its current hype.

10. The Bourne Legacy

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking, I was thinking it to. Why mess up perfection? Why exactly do we need a fourth Bourne movie that doesn’t even include Jason Bourne? But just do me a favor and check out this lineup: Joan Allen returning as CIA director Pam Landy, Jeremy Renner (Hurt Locker, The Town), Rachel Weisz (The Fountain, The Brothers Bloom), and Edward Norton (A Good Portion of the Greatest Movies Known to Man). I not entirely sold on another Bourne installment quite yet, but I trust that these greats wouldn’t be signing on unless it had something to offer.

9. Untitled Terrence Malick Project

So, there’s really next to nothing known about this movie, except that it will be a epic romance and will showcase a love set to rival that of Moulin Rouge and The Notebook. It’s got a whole lot of impressive names attached though, which is the real motivating factor behind my anticipation: the always wonderful Rachel McAdams, rapidly-ascending star Jessica Chastain, Rachel Weisz (again), Ben Affleck (love him or hate him, he’s still a name!), Javier Bardem, Michael Sheen, Olga Kurylenko (of Bond Girl fame), Barry Pepper (love), Amanda Peet, and of course the inexplicably incredible Terrence Malick directing. I’m excited.

8. Perks of Being a Wallflower

I haven’t actually gotten around to reading this book yet, but I’ve heard from everyone that I absolutely have to because it’s apparently amazing. I’m a huge Logan Lerman fan (yes, he’s ridiculously attractive and my age, but I also happen to think he’s a good actor too, thank you very much. 🙂 ), plus Paul Rudd and Melanie Lynskey is a huge plus! I’m still not quite sure how I feel about Emma Watson though, and as her first non-Hermione acting venture I’ll be seeing, this movie will definitely carry a lot of weight in that respect. And even though I’m out of high school, I can definitely dig the parallels  between freshmen Logan and college-freshmen me having our eyes opened to the so-called ‘real world’.

7. Brave

Check out that cloud of red hair!

Aaah, what’s not to love about another Disney Pixar movie??? Especially one that happens to be set in Scotland!!! Featuring Disney Pixar’s first female protagonist, Princess Merida, and a collection of beautiful Scottish brogues, there’s no way it won’t be good. 🙂 Actors lending their voices include Kelly McDonald as the feisty princess and Emma Thompson as the queen, as well as Julie Walters, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane.

6. Mirror, Mirror

One of the two competing Snow White films being released next year, my anticipation for ‘Mirror, Mirror’ has actually died down a little bit after watching the trailer. Tarsem Singh being one of my fave directors (I was absolutely blown away by The Fall) I was totally banking on this being the Snow White to watch, expecting breath-taking visuals, a fairy-tale elegance and a faithful yet edgy re-telling of this classic story. Instead, the trailer has it coming across as a slightly more artistic repeat of ‘Ella Enchanted’. The Evil Queen (played by Julia Roberts) is a carbon copy of the recent ‘Alice in Wonderland”s Queen of Hearts, which doesn’t seem to suit the poised, icy ruler I’ve always envisioned. They’ve also taken a cue from most fairy-tale updates and turned Snow into a warrior, which can work when executed correctly, but what was supposed to set Mirror, Mirror apart from Hunstman was a classic quality and faithfulness to the original tale. You may wonder why I still have this in my most-anticipated list after ragging on it so much, but I just can’t let go of all those high hopes I was carrying for it yet! Especially since Tarsem Singh is involved! Oh yeah, and having Nathan Lane in the cast gives it an edge too. 🙂

5. Snow White and the Hunstman

I feel like a traitor for saying it, but let’s face it, Snow White and the Hunstman looks awesome. Every second of that trailer was pretty much perfection. I mean, the reason I love Mirror, Mirror director Tarsem Singh is for his unparalleled visuals, but for some reason the images in Hunstman were able to blow his out of the water! What is happening here? And while I’m not a huge fan of Kristen Stewart (not a hater, either!), this movie is probably worth it for Charlize Theron alone. It looks like Snow White might be getting pushed to the sidelines in her own movie, but Theron absolutely kills it as The Queen. It doesn’t feel right to admit, but Snow White and the Hunstman emits darkness, presence, poetry; everything I hoped Mirror, Mirror would be; and I think it just became my bet for winner in the battle of the Snow Whites.

4. Cabin in the Woods

Fran Kranz, Amy Acker, Tom Lenk, Joss Whedon, and a slasher-movie satire? ‘Nuff said. Now if it will only ever come out….

3. The Avengers

Again, Joss Whedon. That’s all I really have to say. But I’ll also add that it combines Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans at Captain America, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner (I love Ruffalo, but if only it were Edward Norton again! 😩 )  in the most extreme clash of franchises I’ve ever seen. It’s gonna be awesome. !!!

2. Ender’s Game

So this is a movie I’d been worrying about for a while. Ender’s Game is my favorite book of all time, and there was a long period where I really couldn’t picture anyone pulling it off as a film; the simulated battles, The Giant’s Drink, and especially the fights that take place in The Battle Room in zero-gravity. But we all know that Avatar coming out changed a lot of things, and I honestly think I could see this movie taking place now. Asa Butterfield has officially been cast as Ender, who absolutely blew me away in The Boy With the Striped Pajamas and, I’ve heard, is equally impressive in Hugo. This movie has some incredible potential, if they can get it right.

1. The Hobbit

I’m definitely not alone in listing The Lord of the Rings trilogy as some of my favorite films in the history of cinema. Director Peter Jackson took some of the most beloved and celebrated novels of all time and transposed them onto the screen as elegantly as could’ve been hoped for (we’ll overlook the whole Faramir debacle just this once). The films were incredibly faithful for a movie adaptation, and, for a geek like me, even at age nine, it was pretty incredible to watch the classic universe of Middle Earth come to life. So I am definitely pumped to see Peter Jackson do it again. We know that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be a faithful rendering of the original tale, while part 2, There and Back Again, will be a more original work filling in the blanks between The Hobbit and Fellowship. Anyways, I’ve got some really high hopes! I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they rise to expectations. 🙂

On the flip side, there are a few movies I am actively dreading coming out next year. Bad movies will happen, but sometimes they cross that point where they trash something previously so beautiful that it just becomes painful. There are a whole slew of unnecessary sequels on the slate for next year, including The Expendables 2 and The Wolverine (as vastly opposed to the previous X-Men Origins: Wolverine). None of them are exactly worthy of Oscar buzz, but no one’s expecting them to be. They’ll have no problem finding their audience and delivering pure entertainment, as promised. There are three movies, however, that the more I hear about the more legitimately upset I become.

The Great Gatsby

I mean, first off, check out that cast. Except for Leo as Gatsby, who I happen to see as pretty much perfect, I’m not impressed (Tobey Maguire for Nick Carraway? Really?). Plus, guys, we’ve tried this before. Twice. Neither exactly left audiences riveted. And while I’m a huge fan of director Baz Luhrmann, I really don’t think a novel like The Great Gatsby is ready for the Moulin Rouge treatment. Can’t we just agree that some classics are best left untouched?

Les Misérables

Okay, Les MisĂ©rables is my favorite musical of all time, and  you know how much I love musicals. To even think about them converting the magic of the staged Les MisĂ©rables to the big screen, without any Broadway actors in the main cast, no less, is hysteria-inducing. Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean? Anne Hathaway as Fantine? What is this, Music Man? Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thenadier? I love her as an actress, but did you see her butcher Mrs. Lovett? Girl can’t carry a tune in a bucket. But definitely the last straw is that Taylor Swift is apparently the front-runner for Eponine. Talk about a stab in the heart. I’m honestly too upset to even form a coherent sentence. I hope this inevitable mess lasts in theaters two days tops.

A Good Day to Die Hard

Really? That’s all I have to say about that.