Friday, November 4, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities

San Francisco is truly an anti-thesis of Los Angeles. Where Los Angeles's skyline is all concrete and covered with heavy smog, San Francisco's downtown core consists of an eclectic mix of old and new buildings, art museums, and beautiful gothic-styled churches. San Francisco is unique and it promotes uniqueness, but Los Angeles is all mass-produced. San Francisco also has very unique and creative cuisine to offer.

So on our annual Anniversary/Oracle Conference trip to San Fran we got to try some of the most creatively delish food.

Chile Pies (& ice cream) has both sweet and savory pies to offer. We had their Apple and Green Chile Pie. The crust was very light and flaky, and the pie tasted good but sadly it was nothing extra-ordinary. They served water in mason jars, which I thought was cool. We had heard about this place on Food Network, and now that we have tried their famous pie, I don't think we would be going back there again.

Restaurant LuLu is located in the SOMA district near Moscone Convention Centre. We had pizza there, which was cooked in the wood fired oven. The pizza was very tasty, the crust was very light, and the tomatoes were very fresh.

The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen is also located in the SOMA district near South Park. We went there for lunch. I ordered the Mushroom Gruyere Grilled Cheese which had roasted wild mushrooms, potatoes, melted leeks and caramelized onions. The grilled cheese was very delicious. However, the tomato soup that my husband ordered tasted like can soup. The place was really busy, and it was difficult to find a place to sit.

Scoma's located at the Fisherman's Wharf has the freshest seafood to offer. This was our second time to this restaurant. Unlike the previous time, I was disappointed with the service. The staff was extremely rude and we had to wait for almost an hour to be seated. The calamari and lobster bisque were the best I have ever had. The calamari was not chewey or rubbery. For entree I ordered Halibut, something I had tried here before. But, this time around I was not fully satisfied with the fish, and struggled to finish it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mark Twain: The Mysterious Stranger

I am not quite well-versed in American literature. So when the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof published his summer reading list, I figured it was as good of a time as any to read Mark Twain's The Mysterious Stranger. Mark Twain's short story The Mysterious Stranger is not as famous as his other full length novels. But, in spite of its short length the story deals with a very complicated dogmatic issue of Moral Sense. Moral sense is what separates us from other living beings, be it higher primates or angels.

This post-humously published Mark Twain's marvel has several versions. The one I read is set in Austria. The story is about three boys and their encounter with a devious angel called Satan, who is named after his uncle, the notorious Satan himself. This mysterious stranger appears in the village and shows the boys that how little control humans have over their own destiny. The Satan also shows that the Moral Sense does not make Homo sapiens better than the rest of the animals, it in fact makes us more barbaric and evil.
It is like your paltry race--always lying, always claiming virtues which it hasn't got, always denying tot he higher animals, which alone possess them. No brute ever does a cruel that is the monopoly of those with the Moral Sense. When a brute inflicts pain he does it innocently; it is wrong; for him there is no such thing as wrong. And he does not inflict pain for the pleasure of inflicting it -- only man does that. Inspire by the mongrel Moral Sense of his! A sense whose function is to distinguish between right and wrong, with liberty to choose which of them he will do. Now what advantage can he get out of that? He is always choosing and in nine cases out of ten he prefers the wrong. There shouldn't be any wrong and without the Moral Sense there couldn't be any wrong. And yet he is such an unreasoning creature that he is not able to perceive that the Moral Sense degrades him to the bottom layer of animated beings and is a shameful possession."
Satan points out that humans have the power of will and a conscious mind, and yet they knowingly commit barbaric crimes against other human beings. Their bad behavior, unlike that of a horse or any other animal, cannot be blamed on nature, but on their own devious mind. Satan also points out humans' cowardly nature. They listen and follow the beliefs of minorities, because the majority is too scared to stand up and speak their minds. For instance, majority of the world is in favor of Palestine's UN membership, and there are only a few countries like the US and Canada who in spite of being democratic countries are denying Palestine of this diplomatic opportunity of getting its voice heard.
I know your race. It is made up of sheep. It is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong; but no matter, the crowd follows it. The vast majority of the race whether savage or civilized are secretly kind-hearted and shrink from inflicting pains, but in the presence of the aggressive and pitiless minority they don't dare to assert themselves.
Humans also have their set views and preconceived notions which create divisions among them. Two humans can be presented with the same evidence and information and yet they will distort the facts to fit their own narrative and personal agenda. For instance, look at the Fox News and CNBC News. They are both American 24 hour cable news channels. They are presented with the same reality everyday but yet their narrative is completely different from each other. Fox promotes their Republican agenda, and NBC ignores real facts in their quest to promote the liberal ideology.
"You can find in a text whatever you bring, if you will stand between it and the mirror of your imagination. You may not see your ears, but they will be there."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Resistance is Futile

Someone should notify Pamela Geller, the Sharia Law has now made its way into the fashion world.

The new fall lines of Gucci and BCBG are full of uber halallified dresses like the following:

Who knew the designers would be this accepting, eh?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Peppy Poppy New Music

Something about Spring makes me want to listen to peppy poppy songs.

Sara Bareilles - King Of Anything: I loved her previous album, and I am really enjoying her new songs. This song sort of reminds of me Katy Perry's Firework, as it's all about taking control and what not. Girls can be so cheesy.

Coldplay - Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall: Girls can be cheesy, but nobody can write more melodramatic lyrics than Christ Martin. Seriously, who says things like, "I rather be a comma, than a fullstop." As much as I don't appreciate the sappiness Coldplay comes up with, I still love their music, and shamefully I am liking this song.

OneRepublic - Good Life: This song caught my attention because it starts off with a mention of London and Piccadilly. And, we all know how much I love London. *SIGH*.

Sara Bareilles - Uncharted: It's not as Girl-Power-Anthemish as the first Bareilles song on this list. It's a good song, with good beat and good lyrics.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts.

The following excerpt is taken from Jonathan Franzen's op-ed piece for the NY Times, in which he discusses the difference between liking and loving. One is more narcissistic and impersonal, whereas the other is more vulnerable and sincere.

There is no such thing as a person whose real self you like every particle of. This is why a world of liking is ultimately a lie. But there is such a thing as a person whose real self you love every particle of. And this is why love is such an existential threat to the techno-consumerist order: it exposes the lie.

This is not to say that love is only about fighting. Love is about bottomless empathy, born out of the heart’s revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are. And this is why love, as I understand it, is always specific. Trying to love all of humanity may be a worthy endeavor, but, in a funny way, it keeps the focus on the self, on the self’s own moral or spiritual well-being. Whereas, to love a specific person, and to identify with his or her struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self.

In addition to what Franzen mentioned in the article, I believe that our smartphones are altering our thought process. Our brains are constantly bombarded with so much information that now our conversations are determined by our cellphone's news feeds. Our phones are depriving us from observing the world around us. They are also depriving us from formulating our own original well-thought and processed opinion about what is going on. If we find a news article that we like, instead of using words to describe what we like about it, all we have to do is hit the oh-so-convenient "like" button, and "share" it with the rest of the world.

Are our smartphones making us dumb?

Friday, March 4, 2011

My Loves

In my South Asian culture children live at home until they are married. So after marriage when I moved to California my love for my family evolved into a deep feeling of appreciation. In the past one year I have become more appreciative of what my family means to me.

My mom made me the woman I am. If it were not for her I would not have the happy marriage I have. She taught me the value of a good marriage. She showed me how to balance the dichotomies that lie within me. If it were not for her I would still be struggling with the East vs. West conflict. I would still be struggling to keep a balance between my beautiful relationship with my husband and my own academic goals. She really created an environment for me and my sister where she showed us that we can achieve anything we want. But a successful life does not mean you have to compromise your family life. Because true sustainable happiness comes from your family life.

My father travelled a lot because of work. He was never an active parent, where he was involved in our day to day life. But, whenever he came back to visit us he brought us books. He took us to museums and encouraged us to think and reflect about the great people who have lived before us. These "nerdy" exercises which we were made to do, did not seem very significant when I was growing up. But, now that I am in the graduate program I have a new found appreciation for the academic foundation my father laid for me when I was just an ignorant kid.

My brother lived away from home because of school and then later for work. I am ever so grateful for all the childhood memories we made together. He has a son now. My nephew, who my sister and I helped in naming, coincidentally has the same name as the first Muslim superhero, Batman's new sidekick the Nightrunner. How cool is that! My nephew can dress up as "himself" on Halloween.

My sister is my life and soul. She is the most intelligent person I know. She is my intellectual compass. She is my other half. I had the hardest time getting used to my new life in California because my sister was not here with me. I do not ever have to explain myself to her. She gets me just the way I am. She is truly a beautiful gift that God blessed me with.

My husband is the most understanding man I know. We have been married for over a year now, and he  has made me happy above and beyond my expectations. He has already fulfilled all of my dreams. He is extremely sensitive to my needs. All I have to do is ask for something and he will make it happen. I am so blessed to have a husband who understands me, loves me, appreciates me, and provides me security and confidence. I am so lucky and blessed to be with him each and every day for the rest of our lives.

I would also like to mention my best friend. Even with all the distance we still make time to talk to each other once a week. My undergrad years would have been a total waste if it weren't for her. She is an epitome of eternal understanding.

These are the people who define me. I hope I am able to show them how much I love and appreciate them.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Found here.