Thursday, November 28, 2013

Deli-cious Hanukkah Treat

Happy Thanksgivukkah, everybody! At least, that's what Boston mayor Thomas Menino is officially proclaiming the holiday. It's the coinciding of the beginnings of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, which, according to the proclamation, "will not happen again for more than 79,000 years" (notably, this is a disputed calculation, since it seems likely that the Jewish calendar will be adjusted sometime between now and then to keep the holidays aligned to the seasons). Regardless of whether or not this Thanksgivukkah is unique, Tufts is celebrating with the unofficial opening of a brand new kosher deli on campus, located just inside Jumbo Express.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Melt

Last month, I solicited the help of friends on Facebook in order to compile a list of campus "secrets" for use on a bulletin board on my hall. You know, things like "Carmichael has a hidden stash of popsicles across from the pizza station," or "You can ride the elevator from the bottom of Downling Hall to the top of the hill, even after the building is closed." But the real value of having lived on this campus for so many years comes from learning the ins and outs of our dining halls. In a rush during Stir-Fry night at Carm? Microwave your own "stir-fry" with the help of the sauces they keep over there. Not gonna wait in line for a Dewick Sundae Sunday? Fill a bowl with whipped cream, add fruit from the salad bar, and go crazy at the toppings station. But here's the gem of dining hall cooking: the chocolate peanut butter cookie sandwich melt.

Oh yes. This.

Friday, November 8, 2013

How (Not) to be Open-Minded

This week, I invited one of my friends to come see the new "Ender's Game" movie, the recent film adaptation of one of my all-time favorite books. Her reply: "I'm conflicted. I want to see it, but there is that boycott." As it turns out, Orson Scott Card (the author of the Ender's Game series and one of the best writers of our time) is conservative when it comes to social issues. Specifically, he's anti-gay. And for that reason, LGBT activists and allies are calling for a boycott of the movie. In the name of tolerance, we should not watch a movie which profits an intolerant person. In the name of openness, we should close ourselves to anything produced by people with bad views. I humbly submit: Poppycock.

Ender's Game is about kids in space. Sort of.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fall Photos and Painted Pumpkins

Now that November is here and the colder weather is coming, let's take a quick look at what fall looked like at Tufts... mostly through macro-shots of leaves and pumpkins.

Notably, not a close-up of a leaf. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fonts from Your Dorm Room

     "It looks like the kind of font they'd have on a top-secret envelope, marked CONFIDENTIAL," Andrew said. I nodded in agreement.
     "But does it say, 'I'm going to kill you?'"
     "I think so. It's good."

Wacom Bamboo writing tablet

As a web designer, I'm often hunting down fonts on the web to use in my projects. I'm no typography expert, but I've always been attracted to the perfect handwriting of the occasional classmate or the bizarre typeface on a new poster. So when I was starting to edit the look and feel of a website Andrew and I are building for an upcoming game of Assassins, I had to find the fonts to convey the perfect mixture of casual, spooky, and murder-mystery. But where do fonts come from? But if I had a little more artistic skill, could I make my own fonts? And what in the world is sans-serif? That, dear reader, is contained below.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

One Outta Nine

Antonin Scalia takes the podium wearing a grey suit, a funny look for a man expected to be seen in black robes. The suit gives him an unfamiliar appearance of normality, as though he is a journalist, or a sports coach, or perhaps a visiting professor. He smiles on the stage set up for him in Tufts' gymnasium complex, and begins by complementing Tufts on its campus; he had never been here before, he admits. His pleasant tone and comfortable disposition begin to dissolve the tension in the room. Yes, this man is a conservative Supreme Court justice coming to speak to a largely liberal, activist student population. But he isn't here to fight; he's here to lecture. And his lecture comes in stories and jokes, asides and imitations, the type of performance one expects of a grandfather in a living room. And, like a grandfather, this man has some orthodox ideas, but, even if you didn't agree with him, you can't help but like him.

Photo shamelessly stolen from Josh Reynolds

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Prefect Welcome

I'm back on campus and back in the business of RAing, this time in a freshman-and-sophomore dorm. Typing at my laptop by an open window, I can hear the matriculation ceremony already underway. The class of 2017 has arrived, and those living on my floor in Miller Hall are in for a magical surprise.

Credit to Alina for some of the fancier art

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tufts in 17

Welcome baby Jumbos! Today, emails go out to the brand new Class of 2017, and those emails come with two crucial implications for someone like me. First, it means new students will be swarming campus with their parents (as though they haven't been already!) - which means I'll get to listen in on all sorts of hilarious tour-guide stories, drop subtle hints that the 2017'ers should join Tufts Mock Trial, and take in my first impressions of the (potential) new classmates. But perhaps more importantly, 2017 decisions mean I'm getting old. This is my third year, 6th semester, and 231st blog post. So the environment seems ripe for a brief retrospective. Presenting: Tufts University, in 17 photographs.

Need more photos? See everything at Peacelight Mosaic.

Monday, February 25, 2013

#4bids: TMT Monopolizes Tournaments

Each year, over 600 teams compete in the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA)'s nation-wide tournament. The season opens with regional competitions in February, where teams strive to come out in the top 7 of 24, earning their way to the next round. Many schools are quickly eliminated. Some send two teams, or three, or even four into the fray, hoping that some combination of members can form a strong enough force to break into the top seven. Each year, Tufts sends four teams into battle, and for the past few years, the Jumbos have stolen a bid, or even two, from New England neighbors. But for the first time in the school's history, Tufts Mock Trial won an unprecedented four bids this month. Every team to compete qualified. Every member of the organization won.

Tufts B and C' celebrate #4bids at the Boston awards ceremony

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tufts Mock Trial Dominates in Season Opening

"All arise!" The sound of pretrial chatter is replaced with sudden silence. The quiet is short-lived, as fourteen seats squeak across the tiled floor and the competitors scramble to their feet. The judges have arrived; court is in session. As the judges unbutton their coats and begin to examine their ballots, attorneys at defense and plaintiff counsel-tables begin to eye one another. If they hadn't done so already, they are sizing up the competition. Behind each team's three attorneys stands a witness, dressed in anything from formal court-wear to an elaborate costume, offering perhaps a hint of the character each will play on the stand. Two time-keepers sit in a box by the judges, clearing their stopwatches and double-checking their time cards. "You may be seated," begins the judge. "Does the plaintiff have any preliminary matters?"

Friday, January 11, 2013

Isn't There Some Jewish Holiday This Week?

In discussing Hanukkah, a friend recently noted (with approval) that Judaism seems to have quite a lot of holidays. "We only really have Christmas and Easter," she said, almost longingly. I smiled. "Well, ours are pretty much all crammed into September." I was thinking back on my first month in Edinburgh, with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and several Shabbat dinners undoubtedly leading my flatmates to believe I was some kind of religious zealot. (When Simchat Torah rolled around a few days later, I munched my candied apple discreetly.) But on my way home from that conversation, I thought about what I had said. Were our holidays really all in September? Because Hanukkah obviously isn't. Neither is Passover. Nor Purim. I began to make a list.

(From right to left:) Rosh Hashanah, Simchat Torah, Sukkot (x2)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Europe, in Maps and Photographs

If your geography is anything like mine, the most you know about Europe is that it's across the ocean to the right. Prior to this semester, I would not have been able to locate the Netherlands, place Scotland in the United Kingdom, or determine whether Paris or Madrid was closer to London. Thanks to a bit of European travel, some of these deficiencies have been remedied. I will take this opportunity both to show off my favorite photos from my semester abroad, and to improve American terrestrial literacy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Latke, Two Latke; Green Latke, Blue Latke

For those unfamiliar with the Hanukkah treat, a latke is a "potato pancake", a food fried in oil to celebrate the burning of oil in the holiday story. It's made of potatoes and onions, primarily. Since I was away for Hanukkah, it only made sense to have a belated latke-making event once I got back home. My dad left us the recipe, and we got cooking. And then, we found the food dye...