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Class president burns off tongue in Curry Village

by Liping Huang

 

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    Spicy, greasy, and vegetarian. Those are three words that negatively described my past experience with Indian food. Do I have a bias against spicy foods? No, I love the Taco Bell chalupa. Do I hate greasy food? I don’t think so. I would sell my first born for a deep fried turkey leg. Do I dislike vegetarians? No, I love vegetables; my best friend is a carrot. Indian cuisine for me has been a spicy yet bland blend of curry and potatoes.

    My family doesn’t like to diverge from our savory Chinese palate. Go big or go home. And by “big” they mean “Chinese.” Either we go out to Dumpling Kitchen or we cook at home. So when I went in to Curry Village holding nothing but a debit card and a taste for adventure, I was pretty pumped.

    Located at 1386 9th Ave and one 66 Muni bus trip away from Lincoln High School, Curry Village lies between a gelato store and a deli cafe. It was reassuring knowing that if I’m not satisfied with the health score of 56 out of 100 or I’m in the extreme situation of my tongue burning from excess spice on the curry, I could just go next door and relieve my problems.

    But I wasn’t worried about the health score. I spent three weeks in Nicaragua. I was the only person out of 17 that didn’t get food poisoning. So I think I’m going to be okay. But I’m not sure about my friends. Ceramist Rachel Yee, actress Gloria Jeung  and Lincoln Log correspondent Alan Lew accompanied me during this journey. Although I couldn’t promise an explosive diarrhea-free night, I did promise I would pay for their meal. So they took up the offer (and risk).

    As I walked into Curry Village, I was met with an almost empty room and the courteous  mannerisms from the hostess. The hostess was actually our server, and apparently the owner too. But we were basically the only ones there, so it wasn’t like it was hectic. The area was very well lit and clean; I saw nothing to explain the insanely low health score. But of course, I didn’t try the food yet.

    The decor is strange. We were seated in front of this giant tuna-spearfish hybrid. I didn’t really get the purpose of that, since they weren’t serving any fish. It was definitely not helping its feng shui. Across from us there were giant paintings of San Francisco and other country monuments like the Eiffel Tower. The TV was playing Bollywood movies that had upbeat music and videos. And sometimes the videos got a little sexy.

    Alright, it’s time for the food; this isn’t AP Art History! Curry Village serves its food buffet style, so there is a flat $12 or $15 you pay for each person depending on when you go eat. We went during dinner, so in total I paid $60. The price is very reasonable, considering the variety and options that are available.

    First up, I tried the chicken tikka masala. I spoon over the creamy orange sauce with roast chicken into the rice, which is also served. It was spicy but the kind of spicy that doesn’t make you regret all your life decisions. It has a mellow burn that is cooled off with the rice. It was a bit greasy, and the chicken was dry. The sauce itself tasted like dates, because it has this different kind of sweetness. Overall, the dish wasn’t a good starter.

    After the disappointing chicken masala, I went over to the samosa section. I promptly ignored my dreams of becoming an underwear model. A samosa, which is a fried or baked pastry with a savory filling, is one of those foods that I have never eaten before. All my life I built up this moment to try a samosa. It was alright. Honestly, it was just filled with a mixture of spicy curried potatoes, peas and onions. It wasn’t like a food that would have changed my perception of Indian cuisine.

    A couple minutes later, our server/hostess/owner served us a plate of freshly made garlic naan, an airy, oven-baked flatbread. If you take a bite of one of the naans, you would never say “I’m on a no carb diet” for the rest of your life. This was my favorite dish, which is kind of ironic since you are always told not to fill up on bread. But oh yes I did. The naan is crispy in the beginning, crackling in your mouth like a chip, but then it turns into a stream of garlic and lightness.

    Next, I tried the chicken kofta. It was a curry stew with mixed spices like coriander, ginger and of course curry. The kofta was supposed to have meatballs in it, but I didn’t see any. In its place, large hard boiled eggs marinated in the stew, which was pretty smart. The dish was mildly spicy, especially if mixed with rice. The dish was pretty hearty, but it was a bit greasy. In the end, the taste was favorable.

    I got some lamb vindaloo after the kofta. It was unappealing; the consistency reminded me of something that was down the hall of the restaurant into the right door that said “Customers Only.” Tomato slices were sprinkled throughout the platter, but it wasn’t appealing. The taste wasn’t as bad as the sight, but it had drawbacks. The lamb was dry, which was unpleasant to eat since there was little flavor. In addition to that, half of the lamb I put in my mouth got stuck in my braces.

    After all the meaty dishes, I decided to get vegetarian. I tried the vegetarian dal, which was lentils cooked with tomatoes along with curry. In addition to the dal, I also tasted the saag, which is spinach, garam masala, cumin and coriander cooked into a dip-like consistency, topped with the paneer, a fresh milk cheese common in South Asian cuisine. The dal wasn’t good for me. For me it seemed like mashed potatoes with tomato and curry sauce. It wasn’t exciting. The saag paneer though, had a pleasant savory taste when eaten with the heavenly naan. Sorry Curry Village, but that dal was not dal-icious!

    To end my crusade for a taste of India, I poured into my glass cup some mango lassi. I had no idea what lassi was. If you asked me I would have wondered if you mispelled “lasso.” But when I took the first sip of the mango lassi, I knew that my life was going to be okay. I knew that my dream colleges were going to accept me. I knew that I was going to be an underwear model after all. The mango lassi was actually a pretty popular, yogurt-based drink in India. And there was no question why. The mango flavoring cascaded on my taste buds without the spear of over sweetness.  It was a delicious, luxurious drink.

    Curry Village isn’t for everyone. It definitely has its flaws. Most of the meat is dry, and if you’re not a spicy food lover, then you’re going to have a difficult time here (unless you’re chugging down mango lassi left and right). At the end of the meal, you’re going to feel heavy and not very sexy. That is what I like to call the “buffet effect,” or maybe just “full.” My crew looked like they had food babies--food triplets actually.

    But its flaws are matched with a reasonable bang for your buck, attentive and friendly service and a comfortable dinner with friends.  And in contrast to the 56/100 health score on Yelp, my friends and I felt fine days after eating there. So don’t worry about it. Try something new. Don’t just go to some dumpling restaurant. Nothing is greater than sipping mango lassi while listening to the beats of a Bollywood musical as night falls. If you want to try something new but don’t want to kill your wallet or your stomach, go to Curry Village.

Curry Village gets 3 Pings out of 5.

 

 

 

 

 

Sony reveals the PlayStation 4

by Jaspirt Samra

 

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    After almost a decade the next PlayStation has finally launched. The next generation of gaming begins. The PlayStation 4 can do everything from watching movies, playing games, music, and more. 

    One look at the PS4 and you know you're seeing Sony’s hardware. It's slim, sleek and jet black, roughly the size of a second generation PS3. It has a sloped, asymmetrical design.                

    The PS4 was released on November 15, 2013. It competes with Nintendo's Wii U and Microsoft's Xbox One as one of the eighth generation versions of video game consoles.                                   

    It comes with 500 GB storage and starts at $399 compared to the Xbox one at $499 (also 500 GB). The main difference between the PS3 and the PS4 is the PS4’s improved hardware. It has a custom single-chip processor that combines an eight core x86-64 AMD "Jaguar" CPU with a 1.84 teraflop GPU based on AMD's Radeon technology. That's backed by 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. In other words PS4's overall performance is ten times that of the PS3.  The PlayStation 4 is indeed a graphical step up from the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The PlayStation 4 actually runs true 1080p unlike the Xbox One which upscales to 1080p. Overall the games look very good, and everything loads quite quickly.                                                                                      

    The PS4 controller, Dualshock 4 (PS4 controller), is very different from the Dualshock 3 controller (PS3 controller). For many people the Dualshock 3 was just too small and light to be very comfortable, and the lack of trigger-like shoulder buttons was an issue when it came to shooters and racing games. Also the Dualshock 4 finally has triggers.                                                     

    I like the 4’s analog sticks because they are much wider making the controller bigger and more comfortable. It also has a headset jack which means you can plug in your microphone to the controller instead of the console, and now the PS4 has cross game chat which means your friends can play other games while talking to them, this was a feature the PS3 did not have but the Xbox 360 had.                                                                                                                                      

    The touch pad is the most interesting part of the controller; it acts like a big button. In the future, game developers can take advantage of that.                                                                                           

    The start and select buttons have been replaced with share and options. Share is a new feature; when you click “share”, it records the game. You can live stream the gameplay directly or upload it. I like the share button because now you don’t need to buy anything to stream; you can do it for free.                                                                                                                                             

    The controller has speakers built in, which I really like because some sounds come from the controller not from the television. This is a good feature because it gives you a better sound experience.

    The PS4 exclusives were “Knack” and “Killzone: Shadow Fall. “The exclusives were lacking with only two games. The other launch day games were from third parties like “Call of Duty Ghosts,” “Assassins creed IV,” “NBA 2k14,” and more. These games are also on the previous consoles. The games are now running at 1080p at 60 frames per second which was the PC standard for years. The games run much smoother now that I don’t ever want to be playing on previous consoles. The free to play games are “DC universe online,” “Warframe,” and “Blacklight retribution.”                                                                                                                            

    The PS4 comes with 30 days of PlayStation Plus, which is an online subscription to play multiplayer on games, get free games and discounts on some games. PlayStation Plus is $50 a year. The two games this month that are free are “Resogun” and “Contrast.”                                            

    Games can even be played before a download completes. When purchasing a game like “Killzone: Shadow Fall,” you'll be asked which portion of the game should be prioritized, single player or multiplayer, essentially letting you choose which part of the game you want to hop into first. This is good because it lets you play the game while downloading the game.                                             

    The PlayStation 4's interface, now known as the Dynamic Menu, is composed of two horizontal feeds. The primary menu serves up games and apps while the one above it hosts your trophies, friends list, and your PSN profile and system settings. This is interface is really good because it is much simpler and more organized. This home screen is never far away since just pressing the PlayStation button summons it and pauses your current game. Also, if you get lost in a lot of menus, the PS button also brings back to the primary feed, a simple alternative to spamming the back button.                                                                                                                                   

    The PS4 has no third-party music streaming apps on the PlayStation 4. Sony has Music Unlimited, subscription fee of $5 a month.  It lets you stream whole albums or create stations, or channels, from a massive library of artists. The best part of Music Unlimited is how it's been gloriously well integrated into the console's interface. Music can be streamed over gameplay, with playback controls just a long press of the PS button away. You can also access the Music Unlimited app without closing your current game. The PS4 also has apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus.

    Overall this console has improved a lot from the PS3. In my opinion it is worth the retail price. The only downfall is that there aren’t many games released for the PS4 yet and that it is kind of hard to find one in stock.

 

“Tomorrow is the Latter Day” for these Mormons

by Charlotte Woo

 

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            The lights dim as a mini statue of the Angel Moroni spins at the top of the set. Chatter dies down and behold: it’s the Angel Moroni himself, and he’s just been given the Book of Mormon. Upon receiving the book, a doorbell rings; let the show begin.

            “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone collaborated with composer Robert Lopez to bring to life “The Book of Mormon,” a satirical musical that follows two Mormon boys on their two-year mission to convert people to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

“The Book of Mormon” has been a very controversial show due to its basis in religion. Religion is one of those taboo topics that people tend to avoid in case they offend someone. The writers have stated in multiple interviews that the show embraces many aspects of the Mormon religion, such as the Mormon pageants that occur year-round and pieces of the scriptures themselves. The show is meant to entertain, and entertain it does.

If you are easily offended by swearing and inappropriate topics, this probably isn’t the show for you. But what else do you expect from the creators of “South Park”? I think the show hilarious and perfectly over the top. The music written by Lopez is extremely catchy, and I find myself humming the songs from the show at the most random of times.

            Lopez, Parker and Stone began talking about working together in 2003. In 2006, the first songs were written for “The Book of Mormon,” and in 2008, the first reading finally took place. Three years, three readings and two workshops later, they took an unusual route and went straight to Broadway. The typical pathway of a potential Broadway show after workshops is either an out-of-town tryout or an off-Broadway production or sometimes both.

The show went straight to Broadway and has since spawned two national tours and a London West End production. The Jumamosi Tour currently calls the Orpheum Theatre home. I feel like the show is slightly engulfed by the size of the theatre. The cast handles this by exaggerating motions and facial expressions, which is more noticeable when sitting up close.

            “The Book of Mormon” spotlights an unlikely pair of mission companions who are sent to the least expected country possible: Uganda. Elder Price, the perfect, all-American lad, and Elder Cunningham, the eccentric failure of the mission control center, are in for the most shocking experience of their lives. Elder Price’s life is turned upside down, while Elder Cunningham embraces Uganda. Upon arrival in Uganda, they meet Nabalungi and the people of her village.

            Having seen four other actors play Kevin Price before, I must say Nic Rouleau is the most well rounded of the five. His actions and reactions to what happens in each scene are completely spot on. He opens the show with a giant smile on his face, and his facial expressions only get better as the show goes on. The shock on his face when he finds out his mission companion and mission location is priceless--pun intended. His voice is smooth and graceful, and he is able to hit notes perfectly without having to reach his voice. His ability to emote while he sings is something incredible.

            If AJ Holmes sounds like a familiar name, it probably is, at least to this generation. Holmes is a member of the theatre company Team Starkid. Holmes plays a very hyper version of Arnold Cunningham, the most hyper of Cunninghams I have seen. He’s that excited kid that is probably too excited about everything happening. His comedic timing is hilariously appropriate, and his physicality as Elder Cunningham only adds to his performance.

            Syesha Mercado plays the only featured female, Nabalungi. She is a very smiley Nabalungi. She can also be very sassy. If she doesn’t have a bright smile on her face that spans her entire expression, she has a look of exasperation on her face, and she rolls her eyes, as though she’s fed up with Elder Cunningham’s actions.

            The only featured Mormon boy is Elder McKinley, who has no first name and is played by Pierce Cassedy. Cassedy is the most fabulous and sassy McKinley I’ve seen. Though Mormons are supposed to be pretty straight-edge and are supposed to be, in the words of Elder Price himself, “brainwashed zombies,” Cassedy takes the nice factor to a new level where he knows he’s being nicer than everyone else, and he tries to tone it down, but he just can’t. The sass cannot be held in, and I am so happy with the way he plays this role.

            The show ends with the song “Tomorrow is the Latter Day,” which is a very upbeat and catchy song. It’s the song I find myself humming all the time. The entire company joins together for the final song, and this is the only time this happens. Hearing all the harmonies sends a chill down my spine because I always love some good harmonies.

            For almost the entire show, the stage is really brightly lit. The few moments where the brightness is toned down are my favorite parts, such as during the Ugandans’ first song “Hasa Diga Eebowai” and during Nabalungi’s ballad, “Sal Tlay Ka Siti.” The usual brightness can sometimes be too much for my eyes, and they wash out the actors’ faces.

            The stage design for Uganda is very elaborate. The two mud huts look legitimate, and the carcasses are a fun sight to see. The scenes that don’t occur in Uganda are created using brightly colored and detailed backdrops, which is understandable because these locations are only used for a scene and are disregarded for the rest of the show.

            For more information about the show and how to get tickets for its run here, visit www.SHNSF.com/online/bookofmormon. “Maha Naibu” everyone! (That means thank you!)

Bastille’s “Bad Blood” can’t withstand a full scale assault

by Henry Monteiro

 

    Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, many new artists grew popular off the rock with piano sound. These bands primarily hailed from the United Kingdom with some exceptions, like Coldplay, Keane, Snow Patrol and the Fray. These bands were largely popular for about the first five years of the century, but with the exception of Coldplay and Keane, these bands have largely disintegrated, replaced with the new form of adult-oriented rock, Folksy Bluegrass groups in the vein of Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers.

    But now, a new band of the Emotional Piano type has sprung up, in the form of Bastille, who released their debut “Bad Blood” back in March. However, while the album is decent and shows promise, what it ultimately showcases is why this genre isn’t still the premier form of rock on the radio.

    While based in piano rock, the main changes to the genre’s base foundation is the addition of a more electronically based rhythm section, with thundering drums that give the impression of a more worldly atmosphere. In short, the album can be described as if the Coldplay from “Viva La Vida” and the Coldplay from “Mylo Xyloto” fused themselves together, with a style best described as “electro world”. And the mashup does work, for the most part. Bastille does well in keeping the sweeping instrumentation and earnesty of Coldplay’s material, while the drumming keeps the music from descending to ambient work music. Singer Dan Smith also fits well with the style with an emotional voice that’s immediately reminiscent of Chris Martin, the singer for Coldplay.

    Sadly, all these qualities I mentioned combine to form the album’s biggest problem, and that is the fact that this album just sounds like Coldplay. This is a Coldplay album with the serial numbers filed off, like calling your game show Jeopardy without the exclamation point to get past the trademark. And while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since Coldplay is rather good at what they do, an album that sounds like one big tribute act is not a good way to start off your new band.

    There’s also the problem that the album is too repetitive. The songs sound very similar to each other. They start off with piano or strings. This is followed by the drum beat kicking in, and the singer singing like every song is the closer at the concert show. The album really could have benefited from a small bit of variety, like a piano ballad with Smith singing along. The album could also benefit from being cut down, with fifteen songs, while I’m ready for it to end around the twelfth song.

    “Bad Blood” isn’t a bad album, it’s more of a bad debut album. The songs are well constructed, the band knows what they’re doing, and there’s a lot of potential to be taken out of it. Unfortunately, the repetitive nature, the length, and its unmistakable influences keep it from being a good debut for a potentially great band, and merely a good album to give as a gift for someone who needs their Coldplay fix before they release their next album.

3 out of 5 stars

Warm Winter Recipes

by Christine Ong

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When the weather is intolerable and keeps you house-ridden, warm winter treats can distract your misery. Liven up your day with some of these chocolaty treats! And if you don’t like chocolate, then you can experiment with these recipes and hope you don’t blow something up in your kitchen. There’s something for everyone! J

 

 

Fudgy Chocolate Mug Brownie

 

You can make this fudgy brownie to treat yourself to a warm, chocolaty dessert. The top will be soft and fudgy, and the bottom will be a rich brownie. A cold glass of milk is great with this brownie, especially if it is too hot at first bite.

 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 dash salt
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
 

Directions:
1. In a 12 oz coffee mug, add water, butter, vanilla and dash of salt. Whisk well.

2. Add cocoa powder, whisk well. Add sugar, whisk well. Add flour, whisk well.

3. Microwave for 60 to 90 seconds. The center should be slightly molten. Be careful not to overcook.

4. Enjoy with a spoon, but be careful, the brownie will be hot, especially the top layer.
 

 

 

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

 

Can’t go to Starbucks because stepping outside means feeling every bit of your warmth and happiness disappear from your body within seconds? Want to make some yourself? Now you can warm yourself up with this drink and share it with your friends and family!

 

INGREDIENTS

Whipped cream

  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Hot chocolate

  • 1/2 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces bittersweet (preferably 60% cocoa) chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

 

PREPARATION

(Serves 4)

  1. Whip 1/2 cup cream and 1 teaspoon sugar in bowl until soft peaks form. Cover; chill.

 

  1. Whisk 1/2 cup cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, and milk in medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth. Whisk in peppermint extract. Divide hot chocolate among mugs. Enjoy.

 

A timey-wibbly, wobbly wimey Doctor Who review

by Nathan Seidman

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    The TARDIS flies over London, not through a wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey vortex but hanging from a helicopter with a dangling, gangly Matt Smith flopping about while Clara keeps him from falling. His fantastic hair flips and flops around in the underdraft of the helicopter, and just like that “Doctor Who” is back and the Doctor Who 50th anniversary is off to an incredible start!

    For those of you who don’t know, Doctor Who is a British science-fiction show that focuses on The Doctor, an alien from the planet Gallifrey with two hearts, the ability to regenerate into a new body when close to death, terrible taste in hats and scarves, excellent taste in suits and ties and bow ties, and an inter-dimensional spaceship disguised as a blue 1950s police box that is bigger on the inside.

    The show began in 1963 with William Hartnell as The Doctor. He ran around fighting aliens in his TARDIS, which stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space, alongside his trusty companion. The Doctor’s companions are usually young, attractive women, but are occasionally unattractive, or robotic dogs from the future.

    BBC pulled out all the stops for the 50th anniversary. They brought back David Tennant, the previous reincarnation, or regeneration, of The Doctor, as well as the war doctor, John Hurt, who destroyed his own people to save the universe.

    My favorite part of the 50th Anniversary was the scene where Smith and Tennant aggressively aimed their sonic screwdrivers at a group of Zygons, an alien race that serves as one of many antagonists in the show. John Hurt questioned the Doctors’ actions saying “What are you going to do? Assemble a cabinet at them?” This scene brought to light the humorous and somewhat ridiculous aspects of the show.  

    Smith and Tennant worked well together, and their brilliant acting showed how similar they were through their mannerisms and how different the two really are through their thoughts and actions. Seeing Smith, Tennant, and Hurt side by side revealed how The Doctor isn’t just a new face when he regenerates, but is a completely new man as well.

    We got a brief glimpse of Peter Capaldi who will be replacing Matt Smith as The Doctor. What stood out to me were his intense, bloodshot eyes. I think Capaldi will be a much more serious, scary, and a little bit insane Doctor to contrast with Smith’s joviality.

    I think the coming season will focus on finding Gallifrey, but this begs the question:\

    What will happen to the Doctor if his people are restored? Will he be a king, a general, a soldier, a doctor? I suppose we’ll have to keep watching to find out.