Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Symphony Space

I attended this event with an open mind, with some knowledge about food and cooking that I have gained from friends, family, cookbooks, and the internet. Initially, I had no idea what Symphony Space was until I got there and saw the show.

I was unaware that a food magazine of this caliber existed, especially one so big with extraordinary accounts involving food published within it. I will buy a copy of the magazine to read when I have the opportunity.

My favorite story was the one about the snake covered in red spicy ingredients. I found it incredibly interesting because of the strange ingredients and because had I ingested that many spices, I would have had the same reaction that the author did.

I enjoyed listening to the stories where the readers made mistakes and then proceeded to make a joke out of it.

Furthermore, seeing Mario Batalli in orange crocs brought about a feeling of Deja-vu. My biology professor loves to wear the same orange crocs, as well as one of my friends. Whether there is a connection between the three or not remains to be an interesting thought.

Although this was not my favorite event that we have attended, I will pick up a copy of the Lucky Peach.

December 16, 2013   No Comments

Snapshot Exhibit Event

When we were told that we had to take a picture for our Snapshot assignment, I thought about what photo I could take that represented New York City without it being similar to others. I thought about taking a picture of the New York subway system, or a Starbucks related item, or even a picture of a tourist attraction somewhere in the city. I never thought to look around my neighborhood in Brooklyn for a picture that would represent New York City. So, when Snapshot day came, I was walking around the city, wondering which picture would do it justice. It was only when I was a few blocks away from my home that I realized that the old Weeping Willow tree represented New York City in the past, present, and future. Originally, it had been planted on the property of a man who’s mother passed away. He had planted the Weeping Willow many decades ago in honor of her memory. Upon selling his house and property in recent years, he asked the new owners not to cut down the weeping willow because of the spiritual and personal meaning that it had to him. The new owners obliged by these wishes and, upon demolishing the old home and building a new one, they hired an expensive company that spent a week trying to uproot the many-ton, two-meter in diameter tree trunk tree with the least damage and move it approximately ten feet, closer to the corner of the property. Although it was evident that the tree was ill the first few months after it was moved, it began to flourish once again. And then, Hurricane Sandy hit. It was flooded by nearly fifteen feet of salty, filthy water.

 

Despite all of these occurrences, the old weeping willow tree survived. I felt that this tree was an accurate symbol of New York City because it survived upheaval, uproot, sickness, and disaster and yet continues to flourish despite all odds. This characteristic is part of New York City’s identity. Approximately two months after I had posted my picture up onto the site, I visited the Macaulay Building for the exhibit of all the pictures taken on that day and had the pleasure of seeing my picture in several parts of the building. I really enjoyed viewing the pictures that my classmates from all parts of the city had taken in honor of this day and thought that the way the exhibit was organized was brilliant. My classmate from Staten Island and I did the project involving historical significance of different  aspects of New York City. We juxtaposed the images taken in the city on Snapshot day with the images of the same structures taken a hundred to two hundred years ago. We enjoyed catching up while doing the project and viewing and discussing all the various photos taken and displayed.

December 14, 2013   No Comments

NY Hall of Science

595,996,800,000,000,000,000,000,000

An unimaginable number. And yet, that’s the approximate amount of molecules that I currently have in my body.

I also know that broccoli is 4% carbohydrates, 5% fat, 3% protein, and 91% water, while an elephant is 2% carbohydrates, 7% fat, 21% protein, and 68% water. A bacteria is 5% carbohydrates, 3% fat, 16% protein, and 70% water. Comparatively, a human has 1% carbohydrates, 17% fat, 16% protein, and 61% water. Fascinating. The rockets in the Rocket Park made you feel as if you were right next to a NASA rocket launching.

I had seen some of the exhibits at the NY Hall of Science once before, but I decided to attend the museum again for a very different purpose this time: To view the Science Inspires Art: The Cosmos exhibit. The images, exhibits, and the colors simply took my breath away. I had always been fascinated by what lay beyond our world, and have previously competed in the Astronomy category of the National Science Olympiad on my high school team, so having that background knowledge really enhanced my experience, if I was able to recognize a certain astronomical object in an exhibit.

Furthermore, I viewed the photographs of the 2013 annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition winners and will include a few of them below. I had a few favorites in this exhibit. The first is a picture of Barbilophozia sp. (a leafy liverwort, byrophyte plant) and cyanobacteria under 50x magnification (the first picture), which received 8th place and was taken by Magdalena Turzanska of the Institute of Experimental Biology, Department of Plant Developmental Biology in the University of Wroclaw, Poland, using the epi-autofluorescence under UV light, z-stack reconstruction technique. The

The second picture is the Macrobrachium shrimp (ghost shrimp) eye under 140x magnification, and was taken by Vitoria Tobias Santos, of Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, using stereomicroscopy and received 11th place.

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The next one received 9th place and is by Mark A. Sanders, of the University of Minnesota, USA, and it pictures an insect wrapped in spider web at 85x magnification, using Confocal, Autofluorescence, and Image Stacking techniques. The last picture received 7th place, and is by Dr. Jan Michels, of the Institute of Zoology, Functional Morphology and Biomechanics, Germany, and pictures the adhesive pad on a foreleg of a ladybird beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) at 20x magnification using Confocal Autofluorescence.

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The photograph that placed first is a very impressive work of art, pictured below. It was taken by Wim van Egmond, of the Micropolitan Museum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Pictured is a marine diatom, the chaetoceros debilis, which is a colonial plankton organism, magnified to 250x using Differential Interference Contrast and Image Stacking. Diatoms are one of the vital oxygen producers on earth and are a fundamental link in our food chains. The photograph was definitely impressive, with its contrasting bright yellow and dark blue colors, as well as the shadows throughout. The stacking technique used allowed the audience to view the diatom in a 3-dimensional scope.

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December 10, 2013   1 Comment

The Phantom of the Opera

I read “The Phantom of the Opera,” by Gaston Leroux, prior to attending the Broadway show, simply because I have a habit of reading a play, novel, or script prior to attending a performance or a movie, in some cases. I watched the movie a few days after the show, and only because my friend asked me what I did that weekend, I replied that I had seen the Phantom of the Opera, and she questioned, “the movie or the Broadway show?”

However, neither the novel or nor the movie compared to the Broadway show in the Majestic Theatre. There’s a reason that the Phantom of the Opera is the longest-running show in Broadway history (besides that of the very long, around-the-block lines). 🙂 Usually, I enjoy the novel more than the corresponding production, and, although the novel was very enjoyable to read, I have a special place in my heart for music and musicals such as this show.

Admittedly, I did wonder how the infamous crashing of the chandelier would be staged, and I was very happy that I wasn’t sitting in the Orchestra section of the theatre…

Furthermore, I wondered how the boat scene would be staged, considering the fact that the stage was a dry surface without water, and I found the boat effects, as well as the effects that had been designed for the stairs, to be impressively realistic.

The scenery and costumes were impeccably produced. The singing was beautiful, the acting was amazing, and the instrumental accompaniment was graceful and phenomenal. While the Phantom of the Opera was the angel of music, the actress that played Christine had the voice of an angel. The music was so amazing that I had chills throughout the whole production. I was completely mesmerized and immersed in the show and the plot line, so much so that when the show was over and the curtain closed, I didn’t want to leave. I will definitely enjoy viewing the Phantom of the Opera a few more times in my lifetime because I think it is a timeless production of art.

December 10, 2013   No Comments

Zara

No, it’s not what you’re thinking: I didn’t visit one of the branches of the international company that retails Spanish clothing and accessories. 🙂

Zara is a “pop” singer of ethnic Kurdish background and is widely popular in countries in Europe and Asia. Usually, as with all pop singers, Zara’s songs are upbeat and lively, engaging people of the younger generations. However, on this tour, Zara focused primarily on songs of various time periods, cultures, and backgrounds. During the performance, Zara sang in English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, French, and Armenian and her repertoire included traditional songs, classical pieces, modern songs, and old-fashioned romances/ballads.

Zara sang many songs throughout the night, including Lara Fabian’s song, titled “Adagio,” as well as symbolic World War II songs and even “Une Histoire d’Amour.” The musicians accompanying her were incredible, as well as the dancers were during some of the waltzes.

And, while all of the songs were very enjoyable to listen to, one of the songs Zara sang that night was unlike any other. Dle Yaman, or “Դլե յաման”, (the first video below) is the song that caused the audience, regardless of nationality or origin, as a whole to be entirely unmoving and remain transfixed, whether on Zara or within the emotions that the song brought about. Originally, this Armenian song was a love song written a very long time ago, with the words accompanied by a duduk, which is a traditional woodwind instrument indigenous to Armenia. However, Dle Yaman has become one of the most common symbols and laments of the Armenian genocide.

Although I couldn’t find actual videos from her concert on November 3rd,2013, the following are a few examples of the arrangements that she sang during her performance:

Start the following video at 0:44 to view Zara sing.

Zara’s genuine emotions infused every song that she sang, her humble manner when accepting bouquets of flowers was definitely a rare encounter among celebrities of her caliber, and her happiness while singing encores definitely added to my enjoyment of the performance.

 

December 10, 2013   No Comments