The Muse: Your guide to summer 2014

By Hannah Landers, Muse Editor
@hannland

Summer is almost here, time to relax with good music, movies, and food./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Adam Baker

Summer is almost here, time to relax with good music, movies, and food./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Adam Baker

Sweet summer is almost here, which means it’s almost time for The Muse to take a vacation. But before we grab our flip-flops and short-shorts, we have a few final suggestions to make this summer the most Muse-tastic ever. Below is a list of movies to see, albums to listen to, food to nom on and lifestyle events to check out during the long, hot days. Enjoy your summer, Musies! And don’t forget the sunscreen!

Movies

Book adaptation: “The Fault in Our Stars” (June 6) — Sure, “The Giver” promises performances from the likes of Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges and, er, Taylor Swift. But “The Fault in Our Stars” has a beautifully tragic story and a fresh-faced cast. If the trailer alone doesn’t make you tear up, you are a monster.

Epic: “Godzilla” (May 16) — Walter White from “Breaking Bad” takes on one of film’s most infamous monsters. Need I say more?

Comedy: “22 Jump Street” (June 13) — If you liked Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as undercover cops in high school, you’re going to love them as undercover cops in college. Ja feel?

Superhero: “Guardians of the Galaxy” (August 1) — With a team of characters that includes a genetically engineering raccoon marksman and a “tree-like humanoid,” “Guardians” promises to be “The Avengers’” weird younger brother. The diverse cast is another draw, especially with a newly buff and mostly shirtless Chris Pratt leading the pack (am I right, ladies?).

Once in a lifetime: Boyhood” (July 11) — Director Richard Linklater tells the story of a young boy growing into adulthood, but because he shot the film over a period of 12 years, the audience is actually watching young actor Ellar Coltrane age from 7 years old to 18 years old in a span of three hours.

Music

Rock ‘n’ roll royalty: Jack White’s “Lazaretto” (June 10) — Jack White’s last solo venture was filled with a lot of good ol’ blues-tinged rock ‘n’ roll. Here’s hoping that this album is more of the same.

Girl power: Lykke Li’s “I Never Learn” (May 6) — The ethereal Swedish songstress is back after three years, promising more subtle brilliance with her one-of-a-kind voice.

Indie comeback kid: Conor Oberst’s “Upside Down Mountain” (May 20) — Bright Eyes front-man Oberst usually injects a little more of his country-tinged Nebraska roots into his solo releases and vocal assists from folk duo First Aid Kit only sweetens the deal.

James Blake 2.0: Sam Smith’s “In the Lonely Hour” (June 17) — If you caught Smith’s performance on “Saturday Night Live” in March, you know the power of this Brit’s haunting and soulful melodies. At only 21 years old, Smith is slated for a meteoric rise.

Movie mix-tape: American Laundromat Records’ “I Saved Latin! A Tribute to Wes Anderson” (May 13) — This 23-track album features a diverse array of artists covering songs from Wes Anderson’s iconic films. Muted color schemes and Jason Schwartzman not included.

Food

Chocolate chip cookie milk shot: From the genius who brought you the “cronut,” the chocolate chip cookie milk shot is exactly what it sounds like: a chocolate chip cookie in the shape of a shot glass filled with milk. It’s a magical update on a childhood favorite.

Infused ice: Ice cubes no longer have to be the boring frozen treat of your summer. Restaurants are starting to see the potential of infusing them with herbs, fruit and other goodies in order to spice up cocktails and other drinks. Cheers!

A spot of tea: From tea leaves in entrees to tea-based cocktails, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy tea without having to sip a steaming hot cup in the middle of July.

Ice cream sandwich smorgasbord: After enduring years of the cupcake’s reign as most popular dessert, it looks as though we’ll all be screaming for ice cream sandwiches from roaming food trucks soon enough.

Adult popsicles: Booze-infused popsicles aren’t a relatively new idea, but the fun flavor possibilities and their simple prep make them a no-brainer for summer.

Lifestyle

Music festivals: For many, summer is equated with hanging outdoors and listening to their favorite bands. Muse did a blog post earlier in April with a list of the best music festivals across the country. All you have to do is pick one (or two … or five).

Get your drink on: You don’t have to be in traditional “wine country” to take a tour of a winery. Or, if beer is more your thing, check out a brewery. Sites such as Groupon offer great rates that include tours, food pairings and of course, tastings.

Stuff your face: Food festivals happen nearly everywhere, and they’re a great place to expand your palette and maybe even find your new favorite restaurant. Some of them are even tailored to a state’s signature dish, such as the Maine Lobster Festival.

Pay homage to your favorite author: Okay, this one is kind of a stretch, but if you happen to be in Florida this summer, why not remember a famous author who used to live there? Hemingway Days is a five-day festival in July that includes book signings, readings, a fishing tournament in honor of the author’s favorite sport and a look-alike contest (Google some pictures and thank me later).

LA Manager undergoes plastic surgery to improve selfies

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

How far would you go to improve your selfies?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Rondo Estrello

How far would you go to improve your selfies?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Rondo Estrello

Just how far would you be willing to go to take better selfies?

Apparently, trying to take another one from a different angle or putting a filter on wasn’t good enough for Triana Lavey, 38, a talent manager from Los Angeles, who spent around $15,000 on cosmetic surgery solely to change how she looked in her selfies.

In an interview with ABC News, Lavey said she “didn’t like the face staring back at her in Skype chats or in Facebook pictures.”

Evidently, untagging unflattering pictures wasn’t enough to solve the problem. Lavey has been undergoing plastic surgery to change her self-image for the past two years, resorting to a nose job, chin implant and fat-grafting. She recently went under the knife for corrective surgery on her nose, along with regular Botox treatments.

Like the rest of the world, she loves taking selfies. Millions are taken every day, thanks to the rise of social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, and plenty are posted on other sites such as Facebook and Twitter as well. So are we as a society becoming more vain, or are selfies helping us create and maintain an online identity?

Lavey clearly thinks it’s more of the latter. In a video interview with ABC News last week, she said, “Your social media presence is just as important as your real-life presence.”

It sounds like she’s got a point there. After all, we can’t hear enough about employers deciding whether to hire an employee based on what they can find on their personal social media profiles, right?

“Today this business is moving at the speed of the internet [where] your selfie is your headshot,” Lavey  said. “You can reinvent yourself every single day with simply your iPhone.”

While these are all valid points, most people wouldn’t be willing to go to such great lengths to change how they look in their front-facing cameras — not to mention the price paid.

But hey, to each their own, am I right?

LOLThursday: Talk show host gets monkey-slapped

By Jacob Carter, Staff Writer
@jacobca1995

Recently, a local talk show host discovered the consequences of teasing a monkey.

On her show “Great Day Houston,” Deborah Duncan devoted a segment to a Capuchin monkey, which had a role in the film “Dr. Doolittle,” and its trainer. All goes well until the trainer decides to let the host try to feed the animal. She playfully withholds the food from it, and as a result, she is greeted with a firm monkey slap.

The way Duncan handles the situation must be singled out for praise. She does not lose her composure or become flustered with embarrassment. Rather, she laughs it off and says she’s sorry for teasing the monkey.

In reality, the Internet is rife with images and videos of monkeys physically abusing humans as well as other animals. There are monkeys slapping adults. There are monkeys slapping children. There are monkeys slapping cats and dogs. The movie “Night at the Museum” even featured the Capuchin monkey as it wreaked havoc on an unsuspecting Ben Stiller.

No, Deborah Duncan is not the first individual to suffer abuse at the hands of a primate, and she will most certainly not be the last. This is a pervasive problem in our current society, and I intend to be the first to stand up and fight against it.

Monkey slapping cannot be tolerated, and if we all stick together, we can combat the furry-handed violence that threatens to undermine the sanctity of the nation. However, I can’t argue with the comedy that ensues when monkeys go on slapping rampages.

Check out the video below:

Soccer player leaves racism on the field

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

Screenshot of Twitter search for #noalracismo illustrates the support Alves has received. Taken on April 30, 2014.

Screenshot of Twitter photo search for #noalracismo illustrates the support Alves has received. Taken on April 30, 2014.

When life throws racist innuendos in the form of bananas your way, what do you do? Barcelona’s Dani Alves picked it up and immediately took a bite during a soccer match at Villarreal last Sunday.

Alves is a Brazilian, playing for Barcelona. Evidently, someone in the stands didn’t appreciate Alves’ presence. At the time, he was about to take a corner kick when the banana flew from the stands and landed at his feet. With no hesitation, Alves picked up the banana, took a bite, and proceeded to go through with the kick.

In the past, racism has been dealt with by walking off the field, like then AC Milan’s Kevin Prince-Boateng in 2013. However, utilizing humor to belittle the culprits while still bringing attention to the problem has appeared to be a better option.

After the match, Alves posted a clip of the incident on Instagram with a caption joking about how his father always told him to eat bananas to prevent cramps.

He later told reporters, “We have suffered this in Spain for some time. You have to take it with a dose of humor. We aren’t going to change things easily. If you don’t give it importance, they don’t achieve their objective.”

Justice was served when Barcelona won 3-2. Also, Villarreal located the perpetrator and withdrew his membership as well as banning him from the El Madrigal Stadium for life, stating the club “deeply regrets” what happened.

The world was quick to stand in support behind Alves. His teammates, as well as fans and celebrities, sent tweets of praise as well as pictures of themselves with bananas, using hashtags such as #noalracismo and #weareallmonkeys. Even the president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association tweeted, “What @DaniAlvesD2 tolerated last night is an outrage. We must fight all forms of discrimination united. Will be zero tolerance at WorldCup.”

Still, racism is a problem in the world of soccer. CNN reported that not many Spanish authorities or media have addressed the incident, saying this sort of behavior is not accepted but tolerated as part of the game. Let’s learn this lesson Alves imparted with his phenomenal response and do our bit to end the ridiculous reality that is racism.

Spotlight: NYC v. Boston

By Stacy Schoonover, Staff Writer
@stacyscootover

Obviously, Boston is better than New York City./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Roberto Zingales

Boston: home of the Red Sox, the Bruins, and Boston University./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Roberto Zingales

I spent this past weekend in New York, and while NYC is the “big apple” and the “largest city in the U.S.” I couldn’t help thinking how much I love Boston more. Don’t get me wrong, New York is amazing — but there is just something about Boston that makes it superior. Let me explain…

New York is amazing because:

1. 24-Hour Subway

This city never sleeps. While Boston just go the T to stay open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays, New York is transporting people on a Tuesday at 4 a.m., and it’s wonderful.

2. That being said, the city never sleeps

Boston’s bedtime is that of an old married couple having to wake up the next morning for a nine to five workday. New York has nightlife, bars, events and activities at all hours.

3. The streets are blocked, and they make sense

If someone told me I had to be at 42nd and 6th, I wouldn’t have to get out MapQuest, or take a cab just to avoid getting lost or being late. In Boston, the streets don’t make sense. Bottom Line.

4. Central Park is better than the Boston Common

Both are gorgeous… but Central Park has a zoo. A zoo, people! 1.317 square miles of adventures, playgrounds, animals, zoos, concerts, etc. is better than 50 acres of trees.

5. New York is the Cultural Capital of the World

Home to the United Nations and a hub of international affairs, New York is more cultural in food, fashion and other cultural markets. Boston is more centered on remembering the past with its strong historical background.

Boston is way better than New York because:

New York City has a lot to offer, but can it stand up to Boston?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Chris Isherwood

New York City has a lot to offer, but can it stand up to Boston?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Chris Isherwood

1. New York is too crowded

The traffic of the Boston Marathon is the traffic on a normal day on 42nd street in New York. Boston is more livable, and while Boston is still touristy, it doesn’t stand out as much as the most populated city in the U.S.

2. We have the North End

Enough said.

3. Boston smells better

There isn’t as much pollution, and that is a beautiful thing.

4. Sports

Yes New York has won 47 professional championships, but it’s the largest city in the U.S. Boston is the 21st largest city in the U.S., and has won 34 professional championships. Go Sox. Go Bruins. We win.

5. Boston is the hub of history

Home of the Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party and many other significant moments of the American Revolution, there’s so many historical sights to see. We also have the first public school in the U.S., the first subway system and the Boston Common is the oldest city park in the U.S.

And most importantly, Boston is home to BU, the best school ever! So, we win.

Social project shines light on homelessness

By Kyra Louie, Staff Writer
@beammeupkyra

Have you ever walked by homeless people without actually looking at them? It’s okay to admit to it, I definitely have. Now, what if those people you were passing were actually your beloved relatives?

Well, this video is going to shock you.

People’s brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and even wives volunteered to pose as homeless people, and were positioned so that their loved one would pass them. You would think that they would notice their own flesh and blood — but they didn’t. Every single person who walked by a family member did not recognize them and kept walking.

This video was created to advertise the Make Them Visible Project, hosted by the New York City Rescue Mission (NYCRM).

The NYCRM is a nonprofit organization created to provide help to the “people in crisis in New York City.” The organization gives people the food, shelter and clothes that they need in order to survive. Even for long term residents, it makes sure to provide help to develop careers to help people get back on their feet.

This social experiment shows just how unnoticed the homeless are in urban areas. Every day, hundreds of people walk past the homeless and don’t even acknowledge their existence. This video illuminates that phenomena by bringing awareness to the way our culture and society affects people. After all, if we cannot recognize our own family members dressed up as homeless people, what does that say about our actual perception of homeless people? If they are that invisible to everyone around them, how can we see them as actually being there?

Craig Mayes, executive director of the NYCRM told the Huffington Post, “The experiment is a powerful reminder that the homeless are people, just like us, with one exception, they are in trouble and in pain. And they are someone’s uncle or cousin or wife.”

Watch the video and be struck by the feels. I’m serious. I have a new outlook on this issue, and it’s because of this video. Check it out:

Science Tuesday: The science of sleep

By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
@sanahfaroke

If only we could learn in our sleep.../  PHOTO VIA Flickr user Mrehan

If only we could learn in our sleep…/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Mrehan

Behold! We have entered the ‘week of death,’ i.e. the week before finals week. We’ve entered the dome of late night strategy sessions, unhealthy food choices, and nocturnal raccoon eyes covered over with concealer. Wait, is that just me?

Well, Katniss and I might be BFFs because I feel like I’ve been chosen to participate in the ‘Hunger Games.’ It’s a battle to the death, but really, we’re all just creating this battle with our internal biological clock.

I’ve always been a night owl. I think better and produce higher-quality work at night. However, I’m a miserable troll in the morning when I have to wake up at 8 a.m. for class. I’m such a rebel, defying this clock, but by disrupting these neurons that tell me what to do and when to do it, it puts everything else out of wack.

The neurons in the brain are no bigger than the size of a mustard seed, according to The Atlantic. The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) tells me when I should have breakfast or go to sleep, as well as determining functions like social and sexual behaviors. It’s what makes me a night owl and what makes normal people, well, normal.

According to Seth Blackshaw, an associate professor of neuroscience at John Hopkins University, these characteristics can be genetic, and in a sense, predetermined. In a new study conducted by Blackshaw, SCN deteriorates as you age.

When I was a kid, I hated naps. I’d tell my mom that “day is for play and night is for sleep.” Clearly as a college student, that has changed drastically, but one thing is the same: I fight sleep. Back then, I wouldn’t take naps, and now, I drink coffee instead of giving in. Nevertheless, according to Blackshaw, being awake when our body is obviously tired is bad for you.

For those who pull all-nighters — you deserve a medal. I don’t know how you guys do it, but you do. You better save that medal though because some studies show that you have a higher chance of getting cancer or having a heart attack. So is the medal and a crappy paper worth your health? Probably not, but you’re setting yourself up for it if you stray from the SCN master clock.

In Blackshaw’s study, researchers removed a key gene in mice that helps the SCN communicate with other cells, because SCN communicates with cells in the entire body. He found that instead of the mice operating as if their Monday was a normal 24-hour schedule, they worked as if they have two or three body clocks controlling them at the same time (which kind of feels like my average Monday anyway).

Blackshaw concluded that the clock was still running, but it wasn’t synchronized. It’s why some people are like the living dead during the day, but at night are little miss peppy. I actually live in constant pep, but that’s just because I drink too much coffee, not because I sleep enough. I should probably attempt to do better. I’ll pencil it in … after graduation.

Love what you do

By Robin Ngai, Staff Writer
@bluebird1278

Come graduation, will you love your job?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Bing

Come graduation, will you love your job?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Bing

Once again it’s the time of year where seniors (and sometimes juniors) graduate and begin living in the “real world” — a world where you enter true adulthood and (hopefully) land a job that both pays the bills and makes you happy.

As a rising junior, quite frankly this whole idea terrifies me. Luckily, I’ve still got two years to figure out what to do. But there are those of us in the B.U. community who will be graduating in less than two weeks. For these almost grads, Huffington Post complied a list of “15 Revealing Signs You Genuinely Love What You Do.”

Some are goals that are attainable (not looking at the clock all day, thinking in terms of positives rather than negatives), and some are a bit far fetched (I’m not sure if anyone will ever enjoy meetings). At the end of the article you can add up your points received for each answer provided to see which end of the spectrum you fall into: you really do love your job, or you should seek other employment opportunities.

In times like these, finding a job that fulfills the checklist can be difficult to do, due to financial concerns and job openings. People often find it hard to be picky about their opportunities, and being passed over for a job is bound to happen sooner or later. Despite a bleak outlook at the economy and job market, things are actually looking up.

According to the New York Times, the job market for college graduates is actually improving (even if it is only a slight improvement, it’s better than nothing). So, soon-to-be graduates, don’t give up just yet!

Leaving college can be scary, but you should know that there are jobs out there that will bring you happiness. You may get lucky and land it immediately, but if you don’t, be patient. Work hard, do your best to find ways to love what you do, and don’t get discouraged. Good luck and best wishes to the Class of 2014!

The Beauty of Dance: Latin dance on “Britain’s Got Talent”

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

Britain’s Got Talent,” the British sister to “America’s Got Talent,” recently aired a Latin dance troupe. While dance may not be something new on this show, the troupe definitely brought something new to the table.

Made up of five couples from the U.K., Kings and Queens took the stage on the popular television show.

Personally, I didn’t think this performance was going to be anything special, and it does not seem like the judges thought much of it either considering their lukewarm reactions when the team introduced themselves.

Then, Kings and Queens started to dance.

From the beginning, the dancers combined traditional Latin influences with more modern choreography. I particularly enjoyed that they demonstrated their technical skill as separate couples, but they also demonstrated individual skill and talent by coming together (see: 2:20 in the video).

In their description, they talk about being surrounded by each other constantly, and that chemistry definitely shows through their dancing. Latin dance, in my opinion, has a reputation for being incredibly sensual and powerful, which Kings and Queens brought to life.

I also found their use of songs such as “Animals” by Martin Garrix to be a refreshing, yet interesting change. I definitely never saw that as a song that could be used for Latin dance, but this troupe has proved me wrong.

An iconic segment from this performance was the partner dances at 2:01, where the movements are all timed with sounds in the music. It is robotic, but I find it to be a very powerful segment within their dance.

Two of the dancers, Ryan McShane and Ksenia Zsikhotska, are part of The Capital Dance School, which teaches students many different styles of dancing: from Ballroom to Salsa to the Tango.

I’m very curious to see where this group ends up. I definitely think they have the potential to make it to finals within the competition, given their fresh and creative nature.

And with this video concludes my articles about the beauty of dance. Although I dance, I’ve actually learned a lot through researching and analyzing videos of dance, and I hope you all have gained a little appreciation for dance through reading my column. I’d like to thank you all, and of course, have a wonderful summer break! See you all next fall.

Just Touched Down in Londontown: Cheers, London

By Margaret Waterman, Staff Writer
@mh_waterman

The iconic Tower Bridge in London, my home for the past four months./ PHOTO BY Margaret Waterman

The iconic Tower Bridge in London, my home for the past four months./ PHOTO BY Margaret Waterman

I am so thankful I chose to study in London. Immersing myself in British culture has been an adventure and I am so grateful to have been able to do so in such a beautiful, historic place. I feel extremely lucky to have been able to call such a lively and diverse city home.

My decision to study abroad at all was made on a complete whim: I emailed my favorite professor one day about it and he told me he studied overseas and it was the best choice he ever made. Signed, sealed, delivered. I also love travel so, truthfully, I didn’t need much convincing. I studied the study abroad page so carefully that I memorized its content. From there, I narrowed down my choices and eventually had London in the top spot.

Less than two weeks after I applied, I was accepted — the rest, as they say, was history.

I came abroad with two main goals: to get to know London and to see Europe. I like to think I accomplished both — I traveled almost every weekend and spent my weeks taking advantage of what my home city had to offer me. Plays, museums, pubs, restaurants — I saw as many as I could as many times as I could. I made British friends. I grew a working network.

My internship, seven weeks at an absolutely amazing company in downtown London, was an extremely important part of my overall experience. Without it, I wouldn’t have really understood what it means to be British and what Brits think of Americans. I also wouldn’t have seen as much as the city as I did, considering how many outings my colleagues and I took. I also mastered the London Underground due to my commute.

Outside of England, I saw different cities and different countryside towns. Ireland, Scotland and Wales are all stunning and surprisingly different facets of the United Kingdom. Outside of Great Britain, I was lucky enough to see parts of Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Vatican City. While I can’t pick a distinct favorite, there wasn’t one place I disliked.

In addition to new experiences through my visiting various places, traveling in and of itself was important: I learned how to travel on a budget and in the most efficient way. I also learned how to travel with big and small groups and where and when each was possible.

It can be easy to grow tired of what you know so well, easy to be bored with the routine and with the usual. I came to London with the hope of renewing my appreciation for the world around me. I wasn’t depressed or unhappy (far from it), but for whatever reason, that passion had escaped me slightly — unpaid internships, countless hours clocked at work and my demanding extracurricular schedule left me exhausted.

My London experience has strengthened my appreciation for home and for my surroundings, and has inspired me to go out and see more of the world. I have so many more places I hope to travel to and so many things I want to accomplish in the coming years.

For now, I’m looking forward to spending some time back on American soil. Home might not be uncharted territory, but it’s an adventure in its own right.