Archive for March, 2009

Ooo Baby Baby

I have not been star struck many times in my life. I just don’t seem to run into celebrities that often. Maybe it’s because of the places I go, but none of the Starbucks’ I frequent seem to be visited by any famous people. So, when I went to the Clef Hanger’s Winter Concert on a Friday night in February, I wasn’t expecting to be graced with the presence of anyone special. (Other than, of course, our very handsome a cappella group, who can do no wrong.)

When I walked in, Gerrard Hall was already packed with people, waiting restlessly for the concert to begin. There was a particular group, however, at the front left of the hall, that quickly caught my eye. I saw flashes go off, and several girls jumping up and down in excitement. “I think the Clefs are cute too,” I said to my friend, who was sitting down beside me, “but that must be a serious fan club.” But as the crowd parted, and I got a glimpse into the circle, I saw something that I was not expecting. Yes, it was a Clef Hanger, but he was not singing that night. He was just there to support his friends. It was the one and only Anoop Desai. After that moment, with the Clef Hanger’s music serving as a wonderful, melodious background for my thoughts, all I could think of was Anoop, someone who millions of Americans had watched on TV only three days before, but was now sitting only a few rows in front of me!

I have never been the biggest American Idol fan. But my roommate, a regular voter, has managed to convert me. And with a new judge who went to Duke, and an old Clef Hanger on the show, how can I resist? Anoop’s renditions of “Ooo Baby Baby” and “Always on My Mind” made me grab my phone and vote for the next two hours. And not only does his voice make me want to melt, but his southern “Yes ma’ams” in response to the judges critiques him make him even more lovable. Yes, Simon may have called him “a bit geeky” at his audition, but he has announced to the American public that Anoop went “from zero to hero.”

Yes ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a new Carolina Idol. Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green might top that list, but Anoop Desai is climbing the ladder along beside them. And I have to admit that while seeing the basketball team towering above everyone else on campus is pretty exciting, seeing Anoop on a surprise visit to Carolina was almost better. It is important to support our fellow Heels, no matter what they are competing in. So even if you are not an American Idol fan, I advise you to watch Anoop. (To entice you, let me put it this way: it is like being able to have a Clef Hanger sing to you every week!) Who knows, maybe he will even grace us with a concert in the future, or sing a song with the Clef Hangers.

By: Vicky Waldthausen

Argyle + Rocks

Juaquan Savage

Juaquan Savage

Mint: a new twist on Indian cuisine

I discovered Punjabi cuisine, which comes from northern India, two summers ago. I’ve been craving it ever since. To my delight, Mint, a contemporary, Punjab-inspired Indian restaurant opened on West Franklin Street in September.

Mint offers traditional Punjabi food as well as original dishes created by the restaurant’s owner, Rupinder Singh.

The lunch buffet, which costs $9, is a great excuse to escape the bustle of campus and spend an hour or two with friends. The spacious restaurant’s simple and sleek décor, soothing music and courteous staff make for a relaxing experience.

The buffet changes daily, but always includes an appetizer, several traditional meat and vegetarian options, naan (bread) and dessert. My favorite dish, out of the dozen or so buffet items I’ve tried this semester, is daal makhani. Red lentils are cooked in a creamy sauce with ginger, garlic, cumin and red chili powder. I highly recommend mixing it with rice and raita, a yogurt-based sauce.

Many of the options on the buffet are heavy on sauce. If you can’t find any goat in the goat curry, ask a server for more! Chicken tandoori, which is always on the buffet, is a good place to start if you’re feeling timid about trying unfamiliar dishes. The saag, or spinach dishes, may change your entire perspective on vegetables, so dig in!

On weekends, the lunch buffet costs $12 and comes with a drink. Mango lassis are a delicious option, but this sweet, yogurt-based drink is so filling that you lose your appetite for the rest of the meal!

If you’re out for a special occasion, or don’t mind spending $20 on dinner, consider the salmon dish, which is one of the Singh’s original creations. The fish, is marinated in lemon juice, vinegar, ginger, garlic and herbs, is served with mixed greens, rice, and a creamy sauce on the side. If you like salmon, you will love this dish, and if you don’t like salmon, this dish will change that opinion. The fish is tender and flavorful even without the sauce. Best of all, you won’t leave feeling like you’ve consumed enough food to last you for a week!

Kheer, or rice pudding, is a must. The ride is cooked in milk, with raisins, cashews and cardamom. It’s creamy, light and refreshing all at once.

Mint’s service is excellent. The labels on the buffet don’t always match the dishes in the buffet, but the servers will graciously answer any questions you have. Whether you chose the buffet or order from the menu, it’s easy to eat a well-balanced meal at Mint. While some foods are fried, there are plenty of options that involve little to no grease.

Don’t be afraid to try new or unusual things like gajjar malwa, a dessert made from carrots, or goat (but watch out for the bones!).

Mint is open for lunch from 11:30 to 2 on week days, and from 12 to 3 on the weekends. They start serving dinner at 5 every day. With the exception of the lunch buffet, entrees range from $10 to $21.

Mint’s website isn’t completely functional, so call the restaurant with questions: 919-929-6188

Really No Snow Day?

Snow is not a common phenomenon in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. So let’s be honest: when it snows, we want to enjoy it because, as much as we hate to admit it, we will never be too old to play in the snow. There is something about the white, sparkly powder covering the dull browns of winter that really does transform the world into a Winter Wonderland.

Unlike our fellow college students down the road at Duke, however, UNC-Chapel Hill felt that it was necessary to “enhance our learning” by sending us to class on a day where all we wanted to do was be kids with limitless imaginations of all that can be done in the snow. To be quite honest, the decision to keep us in school was not the cleverest. Yes, half of the class showed up, but did they really pay attention? Or were the student’s thoughts on the tiny snowflakes that were still falling outside, on the snowmen that were not being built, or on the group of boys that like to run around in their boxers when it snows?

So while my friends at Duke were sending me text messages about their snow day, I sat in class, staring out of the window, thinking that maybe I should have gone to Duke.

Okay, maybe my yearning for snow is not quite that extreme, but if you have not noticed yet, I am a snow-addict. Yes, I love snow, and I think that the few times the weatherman predicts the weather correctly, we should celebrate by staying in bed, drinking hot chocolate, and sledding and building snowmen. Whatever the case, we should have a snow day.

By March, with Spring Break and an annual trip to the beach, most of the wishes for snow seem to fade as bikinis are being pulled out of the back of closets. And even I agree that it is time for spring to begin. But it is never too late to enjoy a few snow showers, and since they so seldom come, shouldn’t it be common courtesy to cancel school. Would one day less really be such a loss?

By: Vicky Waldthausen

Dare to DREAM?

As much as I like to complain about school and the mountain of homework that is looming over me presently, I am privileged. I am privileged that my parents can afford to send me to such a fine university and that the option of continuing my education after high school has always been a possibility.

It has been almost a year since North Carolina decided to ban all undocumented residents from attending community colleges last May. This ban goes horribly against the idea behind the American Dream and basically dooms generations of people to live cyclic life. Just as the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness should transcend borders, so should the right to education. Bans like the one enacted in North Carolina are what make it necessary to support the DREAM Act with the hope of providing all immigrants the opportunity to receive an education, regardless of their residency status.

The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, also known as the DREAM Act, provides the first steps at making sure the opportunity to receive a higher education is extended to all immigrants. The DREAM Act gives undocumented students the chance to pursue a higher education or serve in the armed services, with the possibility of gaining citizenship during the process. This would not only benefit the students at an individual level, but it would also provide a large contribution to the country. These students would be able to better their lives and the lives of their families, without the fear of deportation. The ban prohibiting undocumented students from receiving an education, not only restricts them intellectually, but also hinders them and their families to live in a cycle of low income jobs, without the hope of improvement. It is because of this that many young undocumented students drop out of high school. The knowledge that they will not be able to go to college instills in them a general sense of apathy towards high school. Why try when it will never count for anything?

In 2008, when access to North Carolina Community Colleges was banned for undocumented students, only 112 of the 297,000 students were listed as undocumented. Those 112 students represent less than one-fifth of the students enrolled. The DREAM Act opens up the possibility of higher education to more undocumented students, because they will be able to pay in-state tuition, as opposed to having to pay out-of-state tuition. Opponents of the legislation criticize the bill because they say it gives undocumented residents a “discounted price on education” when they have not been paying taxes. What they are overlooking is the fact that the DREAM Act provides these students the opportunity to receive a higher education and establish legal conditional residency. One of the many benefits that arises by helping these students establish legal residency is their new ability to pay taxes, which is always a good thing in the eyes of the government.

If America really is the land of opportunity, then the opportunity to receive a college education should be extended to everyone. The passage of the DREAM Act will not only better the lives of these students, but also better the country as a whole. Support for this piece of legislation will undoubtedly make many dreams come true.

by Laura Arredondo-Santisteban

Rainy Monday in the Pit

Girl: So what’s up for Saturday?
Boy: Oh yea, it should be good…I’m sorry you’re not invited to this. It’s very segregated, a boys-only thing. Girls are disgusting, you know?

Boy 1: Hey tell me what happened. I got your text that was like “f*** I’ve been arrested”
Boy 2: You were arrested?!?
Boy 3: Yeeaaa…

Girl 1: It kills me when people spend money on drugs.
Boy: That’s why I’m trying to make some money.
Girl 1: So you can spend it on drugs?
Boy: uh…
Girl 2: I hate people, they’re so dumb.

Girl 1: Hey!
Girl 2: What’s up?
Girl 1: Every time I see you you’re sad.
Girl 2: Every time you see me I’m either in Carroll or thinking about going to Carroll.
Girl 1: Aren’t you a journalism major though?
Girl 2: yea…

Girl: You know the lollipops that destroy the roof of your mouth?
Boy: Uh… blow pops?
Girl: Well yea, there are lots of them that do it. They tear up your mouth for like two days. But I do it anyways.

Paris, Mon Amour

Paris. The city of love. The magically lit Tour Eiffel. The place where someone whispers, “mon amour” or “ma cherie” in your ear in a beautiful French accent. Yes, that it what I think of when I think of Paris. Being back in the United States for only a few hours, however, I cannot help but smirk at my previously naïve vision of Paris. Yes, the cafes were all there, and the Eiffel Tour dominated the city’s skyline and glittered romantically in the night, but there were no French boys whispering flirtatiously in my ear, the rain was pouring from the sky, and the honks of cars drained out the much acclaimed French music. But despite the fact that it did not match up to my vision, Paris is still an incredible city. It has so much culture, so much amazing architecture, and so much history that these aspects alone make it unparalleled.

I have to admit, that being in Paris for only three days makes it hard for me to judge what the city is really like. But what I did see but me in awe. It was probably the Louvre, one of the biggest museums in the world, that stole most of my attention. While seeing the infamous Mona Lisa was, of course, a highlight, there were so many other artists that pulled me into their works. Currently taking Art History, I proudly analyzed every painting to my parents and sister, who were so worn out by the end of the first gallery that we had to take a short break. After all, two hours had already gone by and we had seen about 1/5 of one floor of the entire museum.

Needless to say, we did not make it through the entire museum. But the Da Vinci’s, Titian’s, and Mantegna’s that we saw filled our brains to the rim. While the museum is one-of-a-kind, there are only so many paintings we could see before they all began to wash together. But there is something inspiring about being in a place where the works of so many geniuses are left for us to admire.

The glorification of Paris made the image I had of it completely unrealistic. And while the City d’Amour did not fit my perfect vision, its few imperfections almost made it better. There are not many cities that are filled with so much talent and history, that it is hard not to appreciate one as beautiful as Paris. And who knows, maybe if I go to Paris for more than three days next time, someone will whisper, “ma cherie” in my ear….

By: Vicky Waldthausen

Basketball Connection

It is spring break and after strategically planning our beach trip so that we would still be in Chapel Hill for the Carolina-Duke game, my friends and I sped off to the beach for some serious fashion magazine reading, America’s Next Top Model marathon watching and, of course, talking about UNC’s amazing win over Duke last Sunday.

It is during these basketball conversations, recounting the memorable plays and senior speeches, that it hits me: that was the last time that I would see Tyler, Danny, Bobby and the other seniors donning that beautiful blue inside the Dean Dome. As some of my friends that are fans of that other school like to remind me, I was not always a fan of Roy’s Boys. Luckily, when I got to UNC my friends took me under their wing and transformed me into a hardcore Carolina basketball fan.

After recounting an interesting Sunday afternoon, that involved a failed attempt at getting standby tickets, a power outage minutes before the Duke game started and a caravan of cars speeding to Durham to find a television to watch the game, I realized how large a part basketball played in my Carolina memories. Basketball provided the common bond, and made it easier for me to connect and meet new people. I remember my freshman year, piling in as many people as possible into a tiny dorm room to watch the games. I learned the most efficient ways to apply and remove body paint. I also had my first taste of Pokey Stix while watching Carolina basketball. Some of my closest friends at UNC were made with the help of UNC basketball.

Basketball was one of the things that helped make my college transition easier. It was during those intense nail biting games that I could look around and feel the camaraderie, whether in the Dean Dome or in the Student Union. It was with this in mind that I watched the seniors give their speeches, and laugh if you will, began to get a little teary-eyed. So, thank you senior basketball players for making my Carolina experience even better.

by Laura Arredondo-Santisteban