Author Archives: Orkide

SpRinG-SuMmeR???

We are at the end of April, we are almost in May but the weather is still weird, it is still cold!!! Right in front of my dorm there is Recreation Center of my University which has three pools and of them is an outdoor pool, and it is opening on April 23rd!!! Hopefully it will be warm enough to go into the swimming pool and tanning!!!!

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Inspired by True/False Film Fest ’12

It’s been a while since my last post. Even if there are a lot of things to talk about I just could not have time to write here.

This weekend happened something really good which changed completely the town and I really want to talk about it.

From March 1st to 4th we had True/False Film Fest and it has been an amazing experience for me. True/False is a documentary film fest which takes place in Columbia, Missouri every year. I worked as volunteer and I have seen 8 films. All of them were really good. Actually while I was watching the films I was like “this is the best among all the films I have seen at the fest”, but  I just repeated the same sentence almost for all films I have seen. Another good thing of the fest was that the audience had chance to see the director of the films. Only the director of the Island President made a Skype conference with us but all the others were present during the fest. They organized a lot of panels, conferences and parties too. They even organized a special party for the volunteers. We were 700 volunteers!

This fest made me want to make documentary films so bad! Actually you know what I have some stories to talk about 😉

The trailers of films I have seen:

The Ambassador

Abendland

The Island President

Searching for Sugar Man: I could not find the trailer.

Bully

How to Survive a Plague?: I could not find the trailer.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

1/2 Revolution

And here, there are videos from the fest published on the website of True/False.

First Day

Second Day

Third Day

Fourth Day

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Pumpkin Love

Since it is autumn, you see yellow and orange colors everywhere. I think American people really love pumpkin because they put it in everything. Here in US, you can find a lot of pumpkin flavored foods and drinks like “pumpkin beer”, “pumpkin spice latte”, “pumpkin cream cheese muffin”. They are all really delicious! Especially I adore the pumpkin beer. I tried it the first time when I went to Herman with my friends for the “Oktober Fest” and I fell in love with it!! It tastes like a spicy pumpkin cake and make you feel soooo happy =) I should start to import it in Europe 😉 I found a really good website which explains different types of pumpkin beer take a look..

to discover

Every day, I discover new things here in the USA. New things about food, technology, culture, beers, people but especially I discover new things about myself, my feelings, my opinions and my beliefs about life. It is weird but at the same time interesting too. I would like to share with you three websites which I discovered (thanks to my roommate Taylor).

[Maybe I could write some discoveries about myself, too or maybe not :P]

These websites are Pandora, StumbleUpon and Pinterest. Actually they are kind of web search engine that shows you other websites or blogs according to your interests (that you express). For example on Pandora, you can write the name of the song or the artist that you like and Pandora creates a personalized radio channel for you. You can express with thumbs up or thumbs down buttons the songs you like or not.  It is the same for StumbleUpon and Pinterest. You can like or dislike the contents which the web search engine finds for you so every time you can find more customized information on internet. Pinterest has also an application on iPhone. These web search engines find really interesting blogs and images, especially Pinterest which is my favorite, is really sophisticated.

By the way recently there are some debates about how all these customized websites can influence the democracy  in a negative way. Because since we- the internet users or consumers- prefer reading, seeing or listening to the things we love, with all these super customized websites we “only” see and hear what we want to. So some researchers say that this can limit the public opinion and make us more fanatic and can close our minds to the other ideas that we do not like. In a real democratic regime, since there are a lot of different opinions we should be open and better informed about opposite ideas and point of views otherwise we cannot improve ourselves and just limit the public opinion space where we share our ideas and opinions with the ‘others’ and which is the essential for a real democracy.. There are also some political parties’ websites that show some political contents according to different interests. So with internet even the same political party can offer different political contents and messages  to different voters (#tellmewhatIwanttohear). People with different interests, see different political informations on the same website so they cannot see other messages of their party if they are not interested in. There is a paradox by the way: If you do not see, hear or taste something that you do not know , how can you know that you are not interested in or you do not like it?

If you are interested in these kind of social topics I advise you this article called The Daily We, Is the Internet really a blessing for democracy?  and written by Cass Sunstein.

Pasta in Silicone

Sapevo gia’ prima di venire negli Stati Uniti che il cibo non e’ sanissimo qui. Anche se, si, a me piace il fast food, quelli che mi conoscono lo sanno. Ma e’ diverso. Perche’ per me i fast food (il sinonimo del “cibo non sano ma e’ che mi piace lo stesso”) sono la Pizza (della Pizza Hut o della Domino’s), l’Hamburger, il Panino farcitissimo… ma qui quasi tutti i piatti (anche quelli che io ritengo sani) sono fast food. Per dirvi, pure la pasta e’ fast food. Un giorno mi hanno dato una ciotola di pasta come “campioncino”. E una notte che mi era venuta fame l’ho voluto provare, ma non l’avessi mai provata!!!

Sulla ciotola diceva che la pasta e’ al formaggio ma quando ho aperto la scatolina, c’erano un po’ di pasta asciutta, ma strana, e una bustina di polvere. All’inizio non capivo come che quel polvere avrebbe potuto diventare la salsa perche’ era molto asciutto.. Poi diceva che bisognava mettere un po’ di acqua nella ciotola e cuocerla in micro-onde per 3 minuti, poi si aggiungeva il polvere arancione .. Appena tolto la scatolina dalle micro-onde la pasta era diventata un po’ di piu’ come pasta che conosciamo noi (ma era strana lo stesso) e quando ho aggiunto il polvere arancione, grazie all’acqua rimasta nella scatolina, il polvere si e’ trasformato in un liquido cremoso ma sapeva proprio di plastica e la pasta era troppo morbida e sembrava di esser fatta in silicone. Cioe’ praticamente faceva schifo..

La cosa brutta e’ che qui i mercati sono pieni di queste cose da preparare in 3 minuti in micro-onde e la gente li compra e li mangia. La mia coinquilina ha un sacco di queste cose e dice anche a me di mangiarli. Secondo me fanno proprio male alla salute. Fino ad ora ho provato solo questa pasta in silicone che non la provero’ mai piu’, ma ho comprato una ciotola di Noodle che devo ancora provare (lo so non imparo mai la lezione), spero che non sia come la pasta in silicone.. Vi aggiornero’ sulla mia esperienza di Noodle piu’ avanti 😉

Eccovi le foto della pasta in silicone:

Balloon

I always go to Starbucks, take some bold coffee and study or surf on internet. Since the weather is still warm I prefer studying outside. These are the photos I have taken while I was studying.. I might want to go up in a hot air balloon and to be thousands of feet high above the ground ( I have to think about that 😛 )

 

 

 

Mizzou Family Weekend

This weekend is Family Weekend at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Families come and see the campus and their children. It is really different from Turkey and Italy where the families are not that involved in the university life of their children. Here in the US it is like a tradition. The families come and bring gifts to their children, then go and eat something and visit the campus. University of Missouri-Columbia is one of the biggest universities in the Midwest so there are a lot of parents who are graduated from the University of Missouri for this reason you can see a lot parents wearing Mizzou Mom or Mizzou Dad t-shirts. Today at 6 pm there is a football match so some families are already tailgating with their children and with their friends whose children study here, too. It is such a different for me seeing a lot of families around. Actually in Italy and Turkey, especially in Turkey the families are usually involved in their children’s life in an exaggerated way but, strangely, not in this case..

Ti piace ‘louttei’?

Qualche giorno fa, stavo pranzando in mensa con un mio amico inglese e stavamo chiaccherando (mentre leggete questa storia, tenete in presente il suo accento per favore),

lui mi chiede: “Do you like louttei?”

io: “Sorry?”

lui: “Do you like louttei?”

io: “What is louttei?”

Poi lui mi cerca di spiegare che e’ un drink e che si beve con il caffe’ e alla fine melo fa vedere su Google. Alla fine scopro che era “il latte”, io mi sento stupidissima e capisco quanto puo’ essere condizionato il cervello umano (o solo il mio cervello hahah :P) da non poter capire una parola se viene pronunciata in una maniera diversa..

Obama’s Jobs Bill Speech

Obama gave a speech about the Jobs bill on September, 8th which had a lot of repercussions.  I did not watch it live but the day after the Professors talked about this speech and made some comments about it. Then I watched it on Youtube and I am really impressed of his speech. The Jobs bill seems really interesting. The bill aims to create new jobs and decrease taxes. Obama says that with this Jobs Bill, in the USA the rebuilding will restart again, the schools will be strengthen as buildings and new teachers will be hired. The point that I find really incentivizing is, if small businesses  hire new employees or  raise the salary of their current employees, they will get a tax cut. I think this could be really simulative for the American Economy. In the USA the majority of people like this bill. Even the Republicans told that they are going to think about on this bill (of course this does not mean that they will pass it.) I share with you a survey made by George Washington University which I found on Center for American Progress. According to this survey 51% of the American People would be agree with the Jobs bill..

Obama gives an example of the tax cut: “If you have 50 employees making an average salary, that’s an $80,000 tax cut. And all businesses will be able to continue writing off the investments they make in 2012.”

Paul Krugman, the famous American economist, writes on New York Times: “I was favorably surprised by the new Obama jobs plan, which is significantly bolder and better than I expected. It’s not nearly as bold as the plan I’d want in an ideal world. But if it actually became law, it would probably make a significant dent in unemployment.”

After saying that I find really interesting this bill, I would like to share with you the language style and image that Obama uses during this speech. I have not watch a lot of Obama Speeches. I am not able to do confrontations between his former speeches but what I saw in this speech is, he is really determined while he is speaking about the Jobs Bill. He repeats a lot of time, in fact too much times words like “Pass this Bill, right now.” Maybe because he thinks that people can get used to the idea of the Jobs Bill if he keeps repeating.

One of interesting parts from the speech is: “… But the millions of Americans who are watching right now, they don’t care about politics.  They have real-life concerns.  Many have spent months looking for work.  Others are doing their best just to scrape by — giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college.

He is aware of the importance of his speech but at the same time seems like he wants to speak the language of common people. He maybe tries to be a little bit “populist”.

He uses a lot of words to call the national spirit. He repeats a couple of times that America is a superpower and should be on top. He reminds some historical events like Civil War and says that America has been always strong. He quotes Lincoln. I think he quotes a Republican President to have some consensus from the Republicans in the Congress. He repeats couple of times that the Republicans also would vote for this Bill because it is right to do right now. He says that they would vote this bill without thinking about the past and future debates that they are going to have. I think he uses a very pragmatic style and not ideological one cause he wants the congressmen/congresswomen to leave their ideologies for a while and do something concrete for the nation.

Obama, while explaining the Jobs Bill, mentions some little stories or little recalls like: Ask yourselves — where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways, not to build our bridges, our dams, our airports?  What would this country be like if we had chosen not to spend money on public high schools, or research universities, or community colleges?  Millions of returning heroes, including my grandfather, had the opportunity to go to school because of the G.I. Bill.  Where would we be if they hadn’t had that chance? In this paragraph but in many others too he uses an Episodic Framing to create an emotional impression on the audience. The rhetorical questions that he uses help a lot for this emotional tone.

I think he speaks efficiently, he got the emotional impression on people but one of the things that I didn’t like that while he was talking about the competitions between the USA and the other countries, he seemed to me a little bit jealous and he uses a disparaging tone. What do you think about these parts of his speech? Do you feel like me?

 “Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us a economic superpower.  And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads?  At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America?  “

“That’s the kind of action we need.  Now it’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama and Colombia and South Korea -– while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition. If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers. I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with the three proud words:  “Made in America.”  That’s what we need to get done.”

I think the other countries have the right to develop their countries too. Of course every country wants to become the top country but it is not that good that a President says a phrase like: “And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads? “

Towards to the end, even before he was really determined, he says that he doesn’t pretend that this plan solve all the problems. I think with this phrase he wanted to seem more realistic and not like all other the politicians who say that they are going to have the impossible.

I think, in general,  it is a good speech for the content and aimed to effect with his language style the Congress and the public opinion, even there is some populism and episodic framing..

TRAVEL NOTES, CHAPTER 2: FROM WASHINGTON DC TO COLUMBIA, MISSOURI

Overseas, I really like this word.. It reminds me the smell and the sound of the sea and it reminds me how far away I am from Istanbul and Bologna. It is a different sensation of freedom..

My overseas adventure started on August 14th actually. I went from DC to Kansas City and then to Columbia where my university is. The first day that I came to campus I had a really good impression. The campus seemed me like a holiday resort. The outdoor swimming pool, green areas, a lot of dining halls which offer unlimited food, the student center which seems like a mall were the components of this holiday resort for me (but now,after the classes started, I have to say that it is not a holiday resort at all cause I don’t have even time to go to the gym or to the swimming pool in these days).  So, I arrived to MU (Mizzou, the nickname of the University of Missouri-Columbia) Emily (advisor for the international students) welcomed me and then April (a volunteer for the international students’ welcome organization) showed me my dorm.

My dorm is really good, it is close to everywhere; the gym and the swimming pools (we have 3 of them) are just 2 minute walk. I can wake up only 15 mins before my classes. The other good thing is, there are a lot of international students in the dorm. I know more international student then the americans. I had the same situation in Italy,too. I used to know more international students and people from other parts of Italy then from Bologna.

Going back to my first day in Columbia, the International Center which had organized all the documents for our arrival from very beginning , organized also our first week in Columbia. I have to say that they are really really good at organization. They took all of the international students to Shakespeare’s Pizza where I met my new friends. We had unlimited pizza and soda for free. (I lived in Italy 5 years so I can say that pizza and pasta in the US are not the best but Shakespeare’s Pizza is acceptable).

After the meeting I made a little tour of the down town with two new friends and then returned back to dorm. I was really tired but very excited for the future days which were waiting for me!!