John Baxter Is A Switch Hitter

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Yesterday I went to see a play about gay softball. Going into the play, I thought it was going to be the typical ‘it’s okay to be gay message about some gay guy finding his love for softball, and how he’ll be accepted’, so of course I was skeptical. The play took my expectations, threw it up in the air, and completely shattered it with a softball bat powered by twin jet engines. In other words, the play was amazing.

John Baxter Is a Switch Hitter is playing at Intiman Theatre. From August 18 – September 27 (only one day left, so hurry!) http://www.intiman.org/john-baxter-is-a-switch-hitter/

The Humor

One of my favorite parts about this play was the humor. It’s not just like some jokes here and there, it’s much more. Some they hide (one of which was placing 69 on the back of each jersey) and some they outright say; I won’t spoil anymore, but they definitely make you laugh, at least, until the second part.

The acting

The acting was superb, and it made the characters feel like real people. Now, the acting in the first part was great, but it was after the intermission when it really started to shine. I won’t spoil any of the plot, but after the intermission, the play took a very emotional turn, and then you really started to see how good the actors were. My mom almost cried.

The set

The set is where the director’s skill really shines. They decided to take a gamble with the set. Instead of doing a lot of props and flashy special effects, they decided to do a bare minimal amount. They used two sets of bleachers in almost every scene. For the props, they did the bare minimum, so you had to use your imagination. And they decided to do something really creative. In almost every scene, they used these two bleachers to represent something, whether it was an office, a house, or just bleachers at a softball game.

The message

Finally, the important part. The message. What I thought it was going to be was an ‘it’s okay to be gay’ type of uplifting story, and as I said in my intro, that got blown away by a rocket-propelled softball bat (or rpsb for short). There are several great messages, take my word, and I’ll only state a few broad ones, as I don’t want to spoil anything. Some great ones were: Emotions – How anger can cloud your judgment. Discrimination – is it okay to discriminate against others because you were discriminated against? Identity – Is it right to be forced to self declare as ‘gay’ or ‘non-gay’ to play on the team? Sports Ethics – What are the ethics of sports, and was it right to do whatever it takes to win? No one’s opinion was wrong, they all had good reasons. These are just a few of some of the amazing messages this story gives.

The conclusion

I honestly believe this was an amazing play, the dialogue was great, the acting was amazing, and I couldn’t poke any stupid plot holes! My whole family, including my ten year old brother, had a lively discussion that lasted over an hour, about the play. I would recommend this to everyone, but it does have some swearing and sex jokes, so just be warned before taking young kids. Other than that, it was a great play, and I loved it! 

Guns, Germs, and Steel

Front Cover

Guns, Germs and Steel

 

888 Casa Kim
Unicorn St, Rainbow Town

May 14, 2015

Department of Geography
University of California, Los Angeles
1255 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA  90095-1524

Dear Mr. Diamond,

Hello, I’m a twelve year old boy writing to praise your book, Guns, Germs, and Steel. For my science class I had to read a book and write a letter to the author. I chose Guns, Germs, and Steel, and I’m glad I did. I was originally torn between Cosmos, and your book. Although I have an interest in astronomy, I eventually chose Guns, Germs, and Steel. Mainly because the question of Europe’s industrialization had been nagging at me for awhile. How come Eurasia was able to create vast colonial empires while The Americas was still stuck in the stone age? I was hoping your book would provide the answers. I wasn’t disappointed.

My favorite part by far, was when you discussed food production. I always knew food was important (well, that much is obvious), but I never knew how important it truly was. It hadn’t occurred to me the important role that large mammals played in the birth of Civilizations.  By providing large quantities of meat, labor, war machines etc. For example when you discussed how all the big mammals in the Americas and Australia became extinct in the ice age; which meant the Aboriginal Australians and the Native Americans weren’t able to create communities large enough to allow for full time bureaucrats. And not having densely nutritious crops to feed large communities; allowing them to gather and have specialized workers and professional soldiers. I didn’t comprehend how much livestock and domesticated crops contributed to centralized governments and states, until I read your book.

The book altered my perspective of Native Australians. Before I read this book, I didn’t understand or know much about the them. I knew about the European colonial empires, but I never understood why Europe was the one who possessed those colonies, instead of the Australians or the Native Americans. After you explained how Australia’s climate couldn’t support crops, and how all the large mammals were wiped out in the ice age. It helped to answer my aching questions.

I appreciated your use of personal experiences as an example to illustrate your points. It helped me to visualize what you’re saying.  For instance when you described the time you landed a helicopter in front of a tribe, and they glanced over and looked away. It brought to life your point about some groups resisting technology, and some groups embracing it. Especially in comparison to that other tribe who embraced it. Another example I enjoyed was when you wanted to hike inland, and you had to turn back because you ran out of water. It helped to give me an idea of how dry Australia’s climate really is. I really appreciated that you supported your text with personal experiences.

Reading your book answered a lot of my questions, but now I have even more questions that I want to ask you. For instance, what was the role of the Chinese in Oceania? I’m not sure if their ships were advanced enough, but couldn’t they have sailed and colonized Australia? And did the ancient nomadic hunters from the ice age really have the manpower to hunt all the large mammals in the Americas and Australia into extinction? Another one of my burning questions is why did the Australians dispose of the bow and arrow? I know you talked about how some societies dispose of new technology, but why did the Aboriginals dispose of theirs? Did it become useless? Wouldn’t at least one tribe kept it? I wonder if Australia had at least one cereal and one large mammal, would they have evolved from hunters gatherers to an industrialized colonial empire without European influence?

Anyway, thank you so much for writing this book, I really enjoyed reading it! I know the book was written awhile ago, but I hope you continue writing amazing books like this.

 

Sincerely,

Jett Kim

 

 

 

My Sweet lil Cakes

Today we went to the Dragon Fest and Food Walk in International district. We went around trying all these different food from different stands. While we were walking, we came across My Sweet Lil Cakes, where they make unique baked goods on a stick. Their website is at http://www.mysweetlilcakes.com/ 

 

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They have various flavors on their menu, but what they were selling the time I went were: Blueberry Lemon Ricotta w/Honey Lemon Syrup, Red Velvet Buttermilk w/Dark Cherries & Sweet Cream Cheese, and Free Range Chicken & Waffle w/Maple Butter. They also had black tea lemonade, but we didn’t buy it. They also have other flavors, but these were what they were making. We decided to try all of them, so I shall describe each of them. 

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 The Waffle, which was the first one we recieved, was very instresting. Normally, sweet  and savory don’t go together (the chicken and maple syrup) but this was an exeption. The Chicken is quite salty, but the sweetness from the maple syrup helps balance it out. To make sure it isn’t too compounded and layered, the flatness from the waffle helps blend and balance it, helping bridge the sweet and salty together into one, tasty waffle on a stick.       IMG_20140713_120240-001

Later we got the blueberry and red velvet. The batter on both didn’t turn out the way it was expected (it was the first batch of the day) and were burnt a bit, but delicious none the less. The blueberry and red velvet were sweet, so they should be eaten as dessert. 

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I’ll start with the blueberry (the one on the left in the picture above). The lemon honey is sourced locally and is homemade, so you won’t be seeing it in stores. The honey is very sweet, but that’s okay because the blueberry is a sweet cake. The amount of honey they give you is just right, enough to cover the cake, but not too much to make it too overwelming. The blueberries also help balance the flavor, giving it a tartness. Although mine was burnt, it was still very tasty and I recomend this to anybody who likes their dessert sour, or just want to try something new. 

 The red velvet (the one on the right in the picture above) was my personal favorite; it has cherries in the middle and cream cheese on the top. The red velvet isn’t too strong, but enough to add another layer of flavor. The cherries adds sourness, a bit more than the blueberries. When you bite into it, you can taste  the cream cheese, which helps in the sweet department. This cake is less connected than the blueberrys, and has more oboius layers, but the way the cake is made, it’s okay. This cake is more for people who like to experiance multiple noticable flavors in their mouth at a time, and who like some creamyness.

   IMG_20140713_120101-001 All in all, I think My Sweet Lil Cakes is the perfect place for anybody who wants to try something new, and unique. The cakes aren’t just cakes with a stick through it, it has it’s own quirks to set it aside from other baked goods. The waiting is good, although since we came when the first batch was still being made, so we had to wait for about 10 minutes. But  they have some seating, and the people are really nice. 

 I rate this a 9/10, a must go to for anybody who wants a tasty treat.

Fremont BBQ Extravaganza Review

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On Sunday I went to the Fremont BBQ Extravaganza. It was a really hot day but not as hot as the day of the Food Truck Rodeo. We were going to dress my dog, Remy as a hot dog, but then we forgot. I think he was glad we forgot.

20130602_140751-00120130602_140630-001I sampled some BBQ sauce from Bluesman BBQ. There were samples of (from left to right) mild, sweet spice, spicy and smoking hot. I really liked the smoking hot, not just because it was spicy, but because it had more smokey, BBQ flavor and the spiciness added to the flavor.

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There was a long line for the BBQ sandwiches. But we finally got our sandwiches. Unfortunately they were all sold out of grilled corn. But they still had the meat and some salad. Hee hee…don’t tell my mom, but I didn’t eat any salad. There were four kinds of meat, but we only bought three kinds. We got pulled pork, BBQ chicken and brisket. The fourth kind of meat was pastrami. I wish we also got the pastrami.

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I liked them all. I can’t decide which one was the best. And they were probably the best BBQ I’ve ever had in my life. No offense to anyone….even better than my mom’s BBQ ribs (no offense mom).

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My dog Remy really liked the pulled pork too. Pulled pork is his favorite. All because of our family friend, Kit Wah who bribed Remy with pulled pork at Lake Shasta, last year, in order to teach him to swim.

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There were many teams there, competing for the BBQ competition. I got to try a few different samples. One time I got a chicken sample and when I was down to the last bite, I drenched the entire piece in hot sauce and popped it in my mouth. It tasted amazing.20130602_142022-00120130602_144301-001

20130602_144312-001The man from Dances with Smoke started his BBQ grill with a flame thrower!! Warning: this is for professionals ONLY!! Do NOT do this at home. And they had a whole pig.

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There was also a bagel toss competition from Seattle Bagel Bakery. You had to toss the bagels onto a ring. It was very difficult. I almost made it on the last try. But we got sample bagels and they were really delicious and loaded with flavor. I got blueberry and my brother got a pizza flavor. I am still dreaming about those bagels now! Even Remy who doesn’t usually like any carbs, loved the bagels.

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There was an amazing brass band called Tuba Luba. With some of the most amazing music I have ever heard. It was really upbeat and they sounded great. They are playing again at the Fremont Fair on June 23rd. I want to go to listen to them again.

 

 * Photos by my mom

Mobile Food Truck Rodeo

By TheJarrett818

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 On Sunday I went to the Mobile Food Truck Rodeo with my family. It really was a rodeo!! It was so crowded, we could barely walk.

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We had Cajun food from Jemil’s Food Truck. We had Gumbo and a Cajun sampler. I liked the white rice part of the sampler. I liked the flavor and the sausage. I didn’t like the Gumbo that much.

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We also had a pulled pork sandwich called a Porchetta Sandwich from Evolution Revolution Food Truck. I enjoyed the pulled pork with the combination of spinach. I think the combination was quite good. There were a lot of juices, but the meat was not too fatty. I enjoyed the combination of the dry meat with the juices in the sandwich. 

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My dog, Remy, also enjoyed the pulled pork. He loves pulled pork!!20130505_125943-001

The weather was really hot, a little uncomfortable, but near the water, it was breezy. It was too hot to stand in lines. The lines were too long. The food was good, but it was so difficult to get the food.So we gave up and went to Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream. I may not want to go back there next year if it is just as crowded.

*photos by my mom

Ramly Burger

By TheJarrett818

From Wikipedia: “The Ramly Burger, also known as the Burger Ramly, is a Malaysian burger created by Ramly Moknin popular in Malaysia

The Ramly Burger is distinctive from most other hamburgers due to the unique way in which the ingredients are served. Rather than the usual method of stacking the ingredients within the bun, the patty in the Ramly Burger is first covered with the desired condiments, then wrapped in a thin layer of egg”.

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In America, there is a restaurant, called Kedai Makan that serves the Ramly Burger, but only on Fri and Sat between 12am – 2:30am. A few weeks ago, I got to stay up late till 12am to go to get a Ramly Burger. We went downtown and parking was horrible, but we were finally able to find a parking spot and we sat outside while waiting for our burgers. Luckily I brought a book. My brother and I were already in our pajamas – Kevin and Alysson were surprised to see us up so late!! We told them that we were staying up to try their Ramly Burger as a midnight snack.

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The restaurant is take out only, so all the way home in the car, the smell of the burger was killing me. It’s definitely worth the wait. But in my opinion, if you want to bring out the flavor, get it with cheese. It’s only 25 cents more.

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The chili is extra spicy so be warned and have some milk ready. And napkins. It’s very messy…do NOT eat it in the car!

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Kevin makes the Ramly burger with a sweet chili slaw, an egg wrapped patty, Worcestershire sauce, onions, Maggi seasoning, and brown sauce on a grilled bun.

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It’s kind of hard to describe the flavor. But I enjoyed the blend of all of the ingredients. Even if I don’t like some of the ingredients, I like the mixture of all the different ingredients. I feel like it goes well together and was not hastily chosen. It’s spicy, a little salty and very juicy.

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 I forced my mom to go back to Kedai  Makan a second time because I told her that I needed to go there at least two times in order to write this review!!

 The bad parts about the burger is….that it’s only available at 12am – 2:30am and only available on Friday and Saturday nights. I wish it were available at more convenient times and almost every day.

 

*photos by my mom