The Word: Missing Out

Tonight is Stephen Colbert’s debut at Cornell. His two shows are both sold out and I, the person who should be his campaign manager, am missing out. Because I am in DC, which I am enjoying very much (since from this post you can’t tell), Jen Lin has agreed to take my ticket, which means, though I haven’t told her this, that she must tell me Colbert’s entire skit. This way I won’t be missing out…as much.

A Weekend Without Homework (The First and the Last)

This past weekend was an exception from the ordinary. For two-and-a-half days I enjoyed a weekend without any homework (finished the relatively little I had on Thursday night).

I took this opportunity to relax by going out for brunch on Saturday morning at a Korean restaurant called Mandu with a couple of friends and a Chinese teacher who lives at the Cornell Center. The food was delicious and, according to the two Korean friends who came, pretty authentic. Myself, being only half-Korean, can’t discern between authentic and in-authentic Korean food. Nonetheless, I ordered their brunch special, which consisted of a bowl of fruit, scallion potato pancakes, sweet potato pancakes, a Korean omelet, slices of sirloin steak (similar to bul-go-gi), and vegetable sushi rolls, which had a more authentic name that is escaping me at this moment. This delicious platter lent itself well to an entertaining hour plus-long discussion, after which we went grocery shopping, and then to see a movie, Michael Clayton.

The rest of the day was dedicated to college football and witnessing Michigan stay in the hunt for the Big Ten title. Sunday, I need only mention one word – Giants.

A Different Kind of Ranking

Before I begin, I would like to apologize to Joe Torre on behalf of many Yankee fans for the complete disrespect the organization has shown him for the past couple of years.

Now that this is off my chest…

In their most recent issue, the Washington Monthly magazine published a ranking of the top colleges in America. This list, however, was constructed differently than US News and World Report’s rankings (Cornell 12, tied with Washington University). Instead of the typical SAT scores, alumni giving, endowment, etc. that US News measures, Washington Monthly took 3 main factors into consideration. They ranked colleges based on how easily does the college facilitate social mobility and socioeconomic gain amongst students (aka in politically incorrect terms, accepting lower class students and being a gateway to prosperity for those students), the amount and quality of research a college performs that will improve the American economy and society, and how well the college instills a sense of community service amongst its student body.

These are drastically different categories compared to those measured by US News, so you can imagine that colleges would be ranked quite differently, which is true. Texas A&M was number one, UCLA number two, and the only Ivy League University ranked in the top 10 was Cornell at seven. The next closest was Harvard at 27. While only so much can be taken from rankings whether these, the Wall Street Journal, or US News, it’s still interesting and nice to see that the University I go to accomplishes what an institution of higher learning is supposed to.

A Rundown of the Weekend

In homage to Cornell alum, Keith Olbermann and his show Countdown (MSNBC 8pm) here is the rundown of my weekend news.

3. To start it off lightly and with no relation to Cornell (except that alum Calvin Boothe is on the Giants practice squad), the Giants, with their 31-10 trouncing of the Falcons became only the 3rd team in the NFL (Packers and Bears) to reach 600 wins. Amani Toomer broke one Giants record (all-time Giants receptions leader) and tied another (all-time Giants TD leader).

2. I enjoyed another privileged weekend (major exception being an assignment for our semester long paper) wandering the floors of the National Gallery of Art listening to Eric Denker explain the paintings from the Italian Renaissance, which included the only DaVinci in North America…pretty cool and very informative.

1. Most importantly, a group of us Cornellians in Washington went to give moral support to some of our classmates who are participating in the Solar Decathlon, a competition held once every year requiring colleges to create a house that can be run completely by solar power. Cornell placed 3rd two years ago, and is gunning for first this year. According to those that built the house, the characteristic that sets their’s apart from the competition is the removable scaffolding they placed over the front porch. The scaffolding makes the house more versatile. For instance, if more solar pannels are needed, they can be placed on top of the scaffolding. The scaffolding elevates the already existing solar panels, so if some of them need cleaning, water won’t seep through the roof. Green screens (plants that hang from walls and absorb sunlightto regulate the temperature inside the house as well as filter air) can be attached to the scaffolding. And finally, these really cool pipes that efficiently heat water can be hung from the scaffolding to free up room around other parts of the house. In this case, the freed up space was used to plant genuine Ithaca hops (quite the hit with the DC crowd…and Cornell alums). The Cornell house didn’t look sleek and modern like some of the other colleges competing, but it did look functional and simple. Hail all hail Cornell!!

It’s been [I’ve lost count of how many] days since the declaration of mission accomplished. Good night and good luck.

There’s a Top Chef in DC

At Cornell I had the luxury of eating lunch and dinner at any one of 20+ dining halls and food courts. I could go when I’d want and where I’d want. I could ask for food ranging from sushi to spaghetti to French dip and once in a blue moon some sirloin steak would be thrown in. The food would be prepared for me, I’d eat it, and then I’d bring my tray, plates, silverware, etc. to the conveyor belt that goes to the kitchen where everything is cleaned for me. Forget all of that here in DC unless I want to go out and eat every day and night. Instead I’ve become quite the cook (and dish washer) using the knowledge I’ve learned from the 20 years of living at home, the two seasons of Top Chef I’ve watched, and the countless Alton Brown “Good Eats” shows I’ve watched on the Food Network.

Tonight, all of that knowledge culminated into the best dish I’ve cooked since I came to DC. It was so good I had to talk about it on this blog. I’ll warn you right now, the description won’t be anything you’ll find at a 3 star restaurant, but it was nonetheless amazingly delicious to eat – some carefully cut tenderized beef round sauteed on olive oil and garlic and braised with a combination of lemon juice, Chicago steak spice, soy sauce, and sugar, placed on top of jasmine rice, and served with a side of romaine lettuce salad with carrots, croutons, and balsamic vinaigrette. Man was it good. I don’t even know if I used the cooking terms correctly, but I do know that I am Top Chef Season 4 material. Jenna, you should tell the Hotel School that there’s a cooking prodigy at Cornell.

Missing the Line

Matt’s blog enlightened me to the fact that I missed doing my time in the line for season hockey tickets. At least now I won’t have an opportunity to have them revoked for cursing like last year. I guess that’s one of the downsides of studying “abroad” during the fall semester, that and not seeing Stephen Colbert. Forget that the Dalai Lama is coming, I’m missing Stephen Colbert!

Though you can sense my extreme disappointment about this Colbert mishap seeing that I’ve mentioned this twice in previous blogs, don’t get the impression that studying away from Cornell isn’t fun or an enlightening experience; I’m in DC and I enjoy the experience that I am obtaining from my internship as well as the infinite activities around the city. Now imagine, for those that want to venture further from Ithaca, what places like Tibet, Australia, sub-Saharan Africa, Italy, Greece, (as an ode to my sophomore year roommate) Barbados, etc. will have in store. Traveling abroad is something to think about once in college, or even beforehand, and what makes Cornell great is that the programs they offer span the spectrum of studying abroad but not leaving the state (Capital semester- aka Albany and Urban semester- aka NY City) to leaving the state but not the country (Cornell in Washington) to traversing the globe (pretty much pick a place and you can go there…seriously, as long as there is some sort of educational opportunity: classes, research, peace corps style community service, etc.). Or if studying abroad isn’t for you, you can enjoy Cornell in Ithaca and the experience that comes with it: sacrificing a weekend to prove yourself worthy of hockey tickets, listening to the Dalai Lama, or laughing at Stephen Colbert.

Republican PBS Debate

I was going to explain the trouncing Cornell put on Georgetown at Georgetown’s own homecoming football game and all the plays that resulted in a 45-7 Cornell win this past Saturday, but saw that I had talked about the Giants’ spectacular performance against Washington (don’t get that confused with the even more stellar performance last night against the Eagles) in my last post and therefore decided to refrain from meandering into football once again. Rather, something more important needs to be mentioned.

This past Saturday PBS viewers would have witnessed a rather empty auditorium at Morgan State University thanks to “scheduling conflicts” that prevented the four top Republican candidates from attending a nationally televised debate. I’m sure Morgan State University being a historically black college and the audience being mostly black-American and the debate coming during the Jenna 6 protests had nothing to do whatsoever with the absence of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson. Could there be a bigger slap in the face than having the four front runners for a presidential primary say I have something more important to attend to.