#BEDA 6 – We were born into access.

This should be a quick entry since I’m currently typing while sitting on my coach to DC. It isn’t exactly a good idea for me to be typing too much as I am prone to motion sickness.

I just listened to Admiral Fallow’s “Boots Met My Face” in it’s entirety for the fiftieth time and the first thing that comes to mind, aside from Craig’s sexy brogue while he talks about linguistics, was how fortunate we are to still live in a world where digital music and live performance work together to bring music access to the masses.

Without the opportunity to download a band’s music there’s every chance I may never get to enjoy the recording experience and that may never lead me to meet the bands I love in a small show atmosphere. I blog in hypotheticals perhaps too often. I didn’t mean to confuse you.

What I’m trying to say is that even though smaller shows were even smaller ages ago, unless a band came through your town or made it big on the radio/TV there was no way you’d have ever heard of them. Even if they did go on a big tour, chances are they would only play big state fair circuits, with no opportunities for meeting the artist after the show.

To think that now we can discover music online and then have the opportunity, given an individual band’s touring schedule, to go see and possibly even talk to that band? I’m pretty sure if my dad could see the music industry now, he’d be jealous of our access.

He’d also have opinions to share on Bieber.

We’re almost in DC now, just stopped in Baltimore. I waved to my bestie Megan from the interstate.

See you tomorrow and happy blogging!

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#BEDA 5 – It’s About The Story You’ll Be Able to Tell

The last few days have been overwhelmingly filled with anticipation. For the first time in 8 years I’m going on a road trip.

That’s not to say I haven’t been on long car rides in that time. Upwards of 8 to 11 hours at a time. But none of them have felt like what Thursday will feel like. Also, if you didn’t already know, I don’t have a license to drive. Never thought I’d need one, so why waste my time?

I feel like I’m going on tour. Unlike many of my friends, I’m not a musician, so I don’t get to go on tour. Going on tour, seeing the country, discovering its little nooks and crannies, that’s what makes me so envious of them. I’d love to spend a year just wandering the globe: eating the food, getting lost along the way, talking to the locals.

This sounds like a very stereotypical dream. Everyone wants to see the world. Everyone loves to travel, to escape. But here’s why I’m different.

For me, it’s not about the escape. I’m not going to Chicago this weekend to escape my job. In fact, chances are I’ll probably write a few emails while on the road, but I’m not going to let it spoil the time. I have a pretty sweet deal here and I’m excited to come into work everyday. I don’t need diversions or escapes. What I want are the stories and surprises.

Aside from a few plot points I’m already expecting, I gave up on planning what I do on trips like this a long time ago. Why spend all of the time you’re going to be somewhere different with a long timeline of expectations. You’ll only be disappointed. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who ate at The Upper Crust with me in Boston. That’s your best pizza? No wonder i don’t like your city.

The phrase “it’s the journey not the destination” isn’t even the half of it. It’s more like, it’s the story you’re going to be able to tell not the destination or the journey or the plan you made. I don’t go on trips, I make memories with the people I travel with. 

I have never been one to take anything for granted. I’ve always taken risks, done things I was told not to and questioned Everything and Everyone. I’m in love with the surprise, not the thrill. It’s probably why I don’t like roller coasters. Nine times out of ten, you know what to expect before you get on because the whole ride is architecturally sprawled out in some ginormous fashion outdoors. I was never a fan of being suspended upside down, so if I know that going in, my mind’s already made up.

I’m the queen of indecision who loves the last minute choice(and is usually right about the latter). This weekend I have no game plan and have no idea what to expect. The last time I was in Chicago I ate the best slice of pizza I’ve ever had, learned more about the character of people than I ever have on any trip, discovered the true meaning of brunch and made lifelong friends who live all over the world. (and English friends of course!) 

Sometimes when I’m in a city that’s not mine, I feel like I’m cheating everyone who lives there. Almost like I’m sticking my tongue out at them, pulling a face and yelling “You don’t know what you’re missing!” Everyone gets so bogged down in their day-to-day that they forget all the amazing things happening around them. That’s why I love New York. No matter how much they try to encroach on our islands, the tourists will never be able to stand up to our concrete jungle. Repeated trips are necessary if you dare to feel as if could conquer the city that never sleeps. Even then, the city is always constantly changing, evolving organically, that you can never really visit the same NY twice.

By this time tomorrow, I’ll be arriving in my first stop: Washington DC, then a quick rest in Virginia and then the open road. I’m looking forward to all of it: adventure, the unknown, the destination, but most of all, the time spent with the ones who know me best. My dearest friend Grace is at the helm and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What are some of your travel loves? Tell me in the comments! And stay tuned for my blogs from the road!

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#BEDA 4: It would be more like The Malnourishment Olympics.

Unless you’ve spent the day under a rock you may have heard about the latest of The Hunger Games casting news.

It took me a few days after the shock of the Jennifer Lawrence casting to accept that she is definitely once of the most talented young actors of her generation and the role is in good hands. To boot, she also has experience playing a young heroine with an Appalachian accent.

But I could not deal with the reveal that came today. Josh Hutcherson, an at- best one-dimensional young actor who has shown a bit of moxie in the critically acclaimed “The Kids Are All Right” but is still known as “that kid from Bridge to Terabithia and Journey to The Center of The Earth who was almost Spiderman in the reboot” will play the blonde boy with the bread Peeta Mellark. Not only is this poor soul unqualified, but he will most likely be swallowed whole by the performance Jennifer is likely to deliver.

In the other bit of casting news that came with the day’s tweets, Liam Hemsworth, also known as “Thor’s little brother” and “Miley’s exboyfriend” will play Gale Hawthorne. Believe me when I tell you that my first reaction to this news was first: “who?” and then “shouldn’t be the other way around?”

Anyway, this got me lamenting that Alex Pettyfer is now roped into the Lorien Legacies films and pining after my dear Kaya Scodelario missing out on the role she was born to play. It also got me thinking, what if the production of this film was an all-British cast?

The obvious choices for Katniss are apparent: Emily Browning, who clearly would have chosen this over that farce “Sucker Punch” and Kaya Scodelario, the teen dream that could be both dangerous killing machine and fauxmancing huntress. Kaya would owin, if for nothing else but to bring all the Skins fans to the cinema.

Gale poses a harder question: Colin Morgan or Ed Westwick? Naysayers will disagree, saying that Westwick would have too many commitments with Gossip Girl and that Colin Morgan isn’t athletic enough. At the end of the day Colin has the acting chops to make it a hit, but Ed is a bit more brooding in the case of Gale. He looks like he could be ready. To meet anyone just outside the district gate.

Aside from Alex Pettyfer, I couldn’t think of anyone for Peeta originally. While reading the books, in my minds eye I always sort of saw him or someone who resembled him. I truly thought they would cast an unknown. For the purposes of this all-Brit cast, however, I think Max Irons would be a perfect Peeta. In fact, when my roommate and I saw him in “Red Riding Hood” we both agreed he should be considered for the role. He would of course need to blonde up a bit more, but he has the kid of sad eyes that look like he has always dreamt of only one girl and she doesn’t even know he exists. Not to mention he also has the dumb-as-a-box-hair face, which would serve to further enhance his “are we or aren’t we” girl troubles.

As for the supporting players, there are a few favorites to choose from. Mark Shephard would definitely be my President Snow. He’s just sinister enough to catch you off guard with one look but young-looking enough to seem like he’s had plastic surgery.

For Cinna, no question: it’s a battle between Paul Bettany and Jude Law. Can you think of anyone more perfectly adept at the flourish? Jude would probably take it, to get the moms in the theaters.

Unfortunately, there’s only one actor in Britwood to make Haymitch a reality, and that’s Brendan Gleeson. Sure he may be a bit old, but he’s just weathered enough to look like he’s been through a few too many losses at the HG.

Effie would have to be Sally Hawkins. She’s perky, could easily be dyed to perfection, and would look smashing in any shade of pink. Of course, she’s also a terrific talent with movies like “Made in Dagenham” and “Happy-Go-Lucky” to her credit. Plus critics LOVE her, so that would get the newspaper readers in the seats. Whatever’s left of those.

The only two cast members I think are worth mentioning here are Rue and Prim. Essentially very similar, aside from their race/ethnicity, these are the two most difficult roles to cast. Rue is a precious little girl who is also a cold blooded killer, who thinks quick on her feet, but trips herself up and loses herself in the process. My roommate suggested Lola Mae Loughlin, the adorable young actress who held her own on the series of Skins. As for Primrose Everdeen, it’s another tough one. With Lily Cole a bit too old and Dakota Blue Ricahrds a bit too tall, my roommate (the master of models) suggested Fifi Newbery, a waifish girl who not only resembles Lawrence in appearance, but actually looks as if she’s lived in District 12.

That being said, I think this makes a well rounded cast and I think you’ll agree that some of these are spot on castings for a perfect British Hunger Games.

Just for a bit of fun, don’t you think Andy Serkis would make a fantastic Ceasar Flickerman?

See you tomorrow for BEDA No. 5!

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#BEDA 3: The First In A Long List

I’ve come to realize that there is every bit of proof right here in NYC that British men are not all they are cracked up to be. I’ve come to this understanding by interacting with some expats over the years. I hoep to impart some wisdom on those who will tell me “You don’t need to go to England to meet a nice Englishman.” Hopefully, the stereotypical expat men I meet here have just been treated poorly in the states and let it affect their general disposition. One can only hope.

The first of these types I have found is a bit of a dandy that overcompensates with kindness. Let’s call him, in honour of my compatriot who was present during this discover, The Douche-Canoodler.

There are several ways to spot The Douche-Canoodler. He wears high-water trouser that show a bit of ankle or stocking. He speaks with an affected and foppish tone. He wears horn-rim glasses and tries his best to sound like his analysis comes from an educated background. He may even wear cross trainers with corduroy slacks.

He will speak only about how he doesn’t understand women. “Do women only want alpha males? I don’t get it. I can’t be that, if that’s what women want.” He will wax ethical about taking advantage of opportunities in the dating arena. All this to lure his Canoodler prey, most often an unsuspecting female friend who thinks she has him in a “friends first” situation.

The most obvious sign you’ve encountered The Douche-Canoodler is his overly apologetic behavior. Say, for instance, he makes some sort of error in judgment or drops something mistakenly, he’ll vomit “sorrys” and “my apologies” until you think you’ll need a mop to clean up the mess.

Don’t be fooled by The Douche-Canoodler and his methods. Like most other Douches, he’s only out for one thing. And chances are he doesn’t even like his Mum.

More BEDA coming later today, this was a post that should have went up yesterday.

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#BEDA No. 2 – A Sticky Wicket

So I did my first VEDA and you can see that here if you want to leave comments, otherwise you’ll find it at the bottom of this post.

Yesterday’s intro BEDA was a bit of a rant written in the heat of the moment on the subway. Today, I want to bring it down to more of a lowkey discussion and talk to you about something that is very foreign to me as far as a measure of British & Indian culture.

Cricket.

My manicurist Fahmida and I were discussing the latest world news and she said “Right now, we have a World Cup for cricket in Southeast Asia.” She’s supporting Sri Lanka to win and even though I only know one other person who is following this sporting event (Hi Rashmi!) it got me thinking.

Baseball is America’s pastime, but it’s popularity extends to Latin America, Japan, and beyond. Football, known to Americans as soccer, is the world’s favorite pastime, even though it’s popularity on our shores is not as great as in the United Kingdom.

But is cricket only popular in countries where British power once ruled?

Without looking at Wikipedia (so as not to misrepresent my knowledge of the sport) I think I can say my knowledge of cricket doesn’t extend past certain glossary terms: wicket, runs, bat, goal, and rounds. Even these could be completely inaccurate.

From my understanding, the game is incredibly long, only holds the attention of the most devoted fans, and is regarded as a precursor to baseball in America. Again, this could also be wholly false.

What I do not understand is the ability cricket has to capture the emotions of just a few countries for weeks at a time. Marathons take hours, FIFA’s World Cup lasts just over a month, and the Olympics are about five to six weeks in length. But more than a small subset of countries have a stake in these events. What countries actually play cricket other than once and former British municipalities? Does France play cricket? Does Italy?

I watched “that cricket movie” once. Lagaan I think it’s called. Like the game probably is, it was long, drawn out and felt like it lost it’s path half way through. Contrary to popular belief this is not just a characteristic of all Bollywood movies. I believe it is just a characteristic of cricket.

Obviously, I need to watch a cricket match to fully understand the fascination. I’ll probably appreciate it on some level, if not enjoy it for it’s competitive merits. But I can barely get through a midseason baseball game without a yawn, so a game which lasts substantially longer has me worried.

I make exceptions to the yawn rule however for first time trips to new baseball stadiums. And for Shake Shack at Citi Field.

Here’s my first VEDA below. Stay tuned for another one today to keep current my attempt at a full month of blogging and vlogging.

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BEDA #1 – Leave Brit TV Alone!

I am getting tired of having to explain why this is a bad idea. Why can’t American media companies understand that too much of a good thing is still too much?

In case you didn’t hear, today MTV announced they’re picking up “The Inbetweeners.” Apparently they learned nothing from the lack of “Skins (US)” success. I don’t get it. They’ve seen the formula fizzle and now they figure the third time is the charm? No sir. I won’t stand for it.

After misguided attempts by MTV Networks-owned VH1 to replicate “Buzzcocks”, and Showtime’s failed attempt at a “Shameless” clone, what makes them think they can capture the post-grad angst of cookie-cutter commuter workers in an English metropolis? I think you’ll find the last three non-cable network shows to try this failed in a spectacular fashion. If anyone can name one of the three, I’ll be impressed.

I think I know why you’re doing this MTV. I think I got it. You think that where you messed up with “Skins” was its already large pre-existing fanbase. You think that you had the right idea but all you need now is something just as unique but not as popular on American soil; another E4 comedy to excite both tweens and post-tweens who will lap it up and stay glued until they’re twenties.

Well, as if blaming you for the rise of Snooki and America’s new-found infatuation with teen pregnancy weren’t enough, now I can blame you for the loss of any future high-brow entertainment amongst young people.

And don’t you DARE touch “Misfits.”

Thus ends BEDA #1, the first of my “Blog Every Day in April”. I’ll be doing VEDA as well on my You Tube Channel and adding the unedited hilarities here. I hope you’re ready for some rants, raves, and waxing Anglophiliac.

I’m toying with starting all NBTB/Anglofiled videos with “Hey Philes and Philiacs.” Too much? Leave me your thoughts in the comments.

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In Britain, Geeks Make Good and QI Just Works

After watching back-to-back episodes of Glee tonight I got to thinking. High school is basically the same archetypal setting in England as far as the clicques go. There are jocks, nerds, music kids, drama kids, and sometimes even cheerleaders from what I hear.

But what doesn’t make sense to me is why it seems like nerdiness, geekdom and fannishness are more celebrated in England. Of course, we could sit and argue that this is because all of the best boyhood geek culture stems from science fiction which itself finds some of its origins in works by Swift or Shelley, but then there’s this sinking feeling that England just likes geeks more than we do.

Sure, in the United States it seems like we have had resounding success in recent years as Silicon Valley and Alley have catapulted geeks-cum-entrepeneurs into worldwide celebrities and new media evangelists, but that’s super recently in the grand scheme of things. Britain has been celebrating their geeks for way longer: in television, in film, in culture and in picking their icons.

Take a show like QI for instance. A show like this would NEVER succeed in the US. It’s highly satirical, highly evolved, completely arbitrary and distinctively hilarious. Perhaps all of these qualities are what make it so particularly….British, for lack of a better word. Now maybe, if it were made a bit more low-brow and not taped in front of a studio audience, then forced onto a channel like Science or History it could be adapted to suit American audiences. Even then, would it be flashy enough to attract US audiences while still coming across as witty yet educational the way QI does over there? I think the death of VH1’s attempt at a Marc Maron-hosted Never Mind The Buzzcocks can answer that question.

Let’s get back to the point I was trying to make. It all seems to start with the secondary school experience. The standard for achievement at most schools are set really high, and not just in a “blue-ribbon suburban American school district” (cough cough) kind of high, but in a “do you want to go to Oxford or Cambridge” kind of high.

Yes, I know there are other universities in England.

Honestly, in a school system where many children wear uniforms throughout their formative years, it seems like the focus is on the ability to achieve. It doesn’t hurt to mention that the government makes that post-secondary education affordable which makes higher learning a real possibility. Imagine growing up knowing that if you wanted to go to a university that as long as you applied yourself, there’s no telling what you could do, including going to the school of your choice.

I understand that similar rules apply here in the US and I’m not denying that it’s as ridiculously competitive there as it is here. I’m also not saying that the US should adopt a similar system of partially funding tuition fees up to a certain point, but doesn’t it make sense to put the focus not on “what you want to be” and but rather to celebrate what you’re capable of?

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that intellectuals are national treasures and pop culture icons in the UK. Their successes and personas seem to give young people in the country direction and point the focus toward achieving, whereas in the US the youth seem to want after fame and fortune over substance. The desire for substance, on the whole, seems to come much later in life and only for the lucky few who have not become their very own episode of Teen Moms or I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.

It’s not like there’s something in the water (that’s only here…and it’s fluoride) but I feel like there’s a different standard that’s set in the United Kingdom for the appreciation of the nerd in everyone. Call me idealistic, call me a hopeless nerdmantic, but don’t say you haven’t thought about it.

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