Summer desserts: Icebox cake

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When I first moved to California, I had completely unrealistic expectations about the weather. I expected it to be beach weather at all times, with no need for socks or jackets or anything practical. As it turns out, my sense of geography is terrible and California is bigger than I realized, with climates to match. … Continue reading

April 24-27, 2012

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“The unintended implication of Mass Effect‘s episodic but non-sequential narrative architecture may be that the truly moral choice would be for Shepard to fly from system to system but never actually land. Each of the distress calls would continue to beckon, preserved in a stasis where some existential danger has been comprehended, but eternally delayed. I like to imagine entire generations living their whole lives on that ship, passing the story of the hero who will come to save them to their children and their children’s children. It’s an appealing counternarrative to the adolescent fantasy of an individual hero whose labors succeed where armies, scientists, and politicians have failed. It would also save the player from having to wait for all of those loading screens.” Read “The world doesn’t end” by Gavin Craig

“It doesn’t matter how many issues of the Justice League I read — none of them are going to feel as innocently perfect as the ones I was reading and swapping with friends at 12 years old. Cynicism takes root in familiarity. It’s why the superhero genre in comics is so focused on recreating that initial joy through reinvention, and why so many readers are often so disappointed in the effort. Like lost childhood toys we still mourn or petty rivalries we never quite let go, we instinctively want to protect and re-experience our most formative memories. To take characters so beloved and attempt to reignite them respectfully for the same (or new) audience is no easy task. But Starman proves it can be done.” Read “Recreating the Golden Age” by Matt Santori-Griffith

“Somewhere in me I knew what I was about, but I was always so terrified that being myself — my own weird, silly, smart, and nerdy self — would never be enough for others. Though I’ve outgrown this sad state quite a bit with time and painful real life experience, presenting myself authentically (whatever that means) remains difficult. Ironically, I find that Facebook, this internet non-place, becomes a useful tool for pushing toward realness.” Read “Being myselves: A Facebook story” by Ana Holguin

“Was fiction not outstanding this year? I’m sure that sometimes it’s difficult to pick a winner from a selection of books you aren’t impressed with, but doesn’t there have to be a winner? Can’t they just pick the best of the nominees? Also, who are ‘they’?” Read “No prize for the Pulitzer board” by Kelly Hannon

The world doesn’t end

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After 50 very pleasant hours playing BioWare’s Mass Effect 2, I’m at something of a loss to make sense of what just happened. Perhaps it’s useful to begin with my description of those 50 hours as “pleasant,” which isn’t quite correct. There was a tremendous — and very interesting — tension at work during my … Continue reading

Recreating the Golden Age

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Oh, it was… err… big and bright and great and easy to understand. The world was simpler. “No adventure went on for too long, I do recall that. Things were more open and shut. And no one died. At least not often. Nowadays you fly off for a moment, you come back and two or … Continue reading

Being myselves: A Facebook story

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So, Facebook — it’s the worst, right?! It makes you lonelier, fatter, stupider, uglier, monosyllabic-er, etc. Every day there’s another study, another headline, another TV news segment about how awful and addicting this horrible site is. Every day I see people (on Facebook usually) snarking about other people’s usage of FB or even (bless their … Continue reading

No prize for the Pulitzer board

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This year when the Pulitzer Prize winners were posted at work one sentence stood out from the rest. “No winner announced for fiction this year.” Was fiction not outstanding this year? I’m sure that sometimes it’s difficult to pick a winner from a selection of books you aren’t impressed with, but doesn’t there have to … Continue reading

April 16-20, 2012

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Rogert Ebert has a problem with lists — too often, they’re just a crutch for a lazy writer or critic. He, however, has been known to make a list of his own from time to time, and so has Kevin Mattison, who tries to figure out what a conscientious critic can and can’t do with lists in “Checking the lists”

The Flyers/Penguins first-round playoff series this year has been particularly bruising, and it’s pushing forward the conversation over whether the NHL needs to change its rules governing fighting, or even ban fighting outright. Yael Borofsky considers the pros and cons in “To fight, or not to fight”

Sometimes, it’s just too much trouble to decide what to watch next, so Sarah Werner asks the Netflix recommendation system to decide for her, with mixed results. Read “If you liked”

Suzanne Fischer tracks down a hard-to-find book by one of her favorite authors, The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones. It was a book she found once at a library but never saw again and, having forgot the title, began think that she dreamed it rather than read it. Rediscover the book in “Walking the bounds”

Jill Kolongowski has been making life decisions lately, which has had her under a lot of stress, but happily she’s found that she’s not a stress eater. Find out what and how she eats when the pressure’s on in “On eating your feelings”

Checking the lists

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Like High Fidelity’s Rob Gordon, I love a good Top-whatever list. If there is anything more exciting than itemizing your preferences in any particular category it’s the debate that’s sure to follow. Yes, I am aware of that sentence’s high nerd factor. Top 3 nerdy things I’ve said/written today 1) “If there is anything more … Continue reading

To fight, or not to fight

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Now that I live in Philly there is no shortage of people to talk hockey with, but even after Sunday night’s WWF matchup hockey game between the deplorable Penguins and the Flyers, most have either been content to shrug and say “that’s playoff hockey” or are still foaming at the mouth from all the excitement. … Continue reading

If you liked

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I have a confession. Sometimes I don’t know what to watch on Netflix. Sometimes I’ve just had enough of watching Doctor Who and Upstairs, Downstairs and even Paul Newman. Sometimes I just want to see something I haven’t seen before. So what do I do? I turn to Netflix to see what it can suggest … Continue reading