Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Archetypal Graduate Student?

This is a picture of Janko Tipsarevic, the 49th ranked tennis player in the world. He just played an incredible match at the Australian Open, losing 10-8 in the fifth set to Roger Federer.

Here is what the Associated Press had to say about Tipsarevic's play at the end of the first set, which he won 7-5 in a tiebreaker: "But the Serbian, looking like a grad student in his dark-rimmed glasses and short beard, forced a tiebreaker, where the only point that went against serve came with Federer facing set point at 5-6. Tipsarevic ripped a forehand crosscourt pass that dropped just inside the corner."

Uh, someone needs to tell my graduate students to grow short beards and buy dark-rimmed glasses. And work harder on their tennis...

~Steve

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Taylor King...

...has no conscience!!!

~Steve

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Squat Toilets

One of the more, shall we say, delicate questions one can ask about China is, "What's up with squat toilets?" To demystify this issue a bit, here are some pictures of squat toilets we encountered last time around. These are not meant as examples of other bathroom issues in China, such as cleanliness and privacy (which are stories in their own right). Rather, these photos simply provide visuals of some squat toilets (pretty good ones, actually), for benefit of the uninitiated.

If you really want to see and hear some more about this, you should definitely check out a "Dear Amber" podcast that aired a few days ago. If you click here, you will be directed to the web page where you can play the podcast, as well as scroll through an associated discussion and see a picture that is pretty horrifying (think horse trough...).

'Nuff said, I think...

~Steve

Monday, January 14, 2008

La Brasa!

If you live around here and are looking for a new restaurant to try, you should definitely check out La Brasa. It is flat out one of the best cheap eats places in the DC area.

The food. With any restaurant, of course, the place to start is the food. La Brasa's signature dish, I would say, is it's rotisserie chicken. For six bucks, you can get a quarter chicken white with two sides. The chicken itself is arguably the best rotisserie we have ever had. (Desi would no doubt drop the word "arguably.") The sides are also first rate, with all of us but Z having a particularly soft spot for the fried plantains. (Dude, you have no idea what you're missing!)

For her part, Julie usually gets the pupusas, and I surf around the menu, so the two of us can vouch that it is all good. I've been on a tacos al carbon kick lately, substituting the beef with chicken.

The location. La Brasa is, to put it mildly, out of the way. It is nestled alongside the Food and Drug Administration's headquarters in a dreary looking section of Rockville. The restaurant itself is very simple and comfortable, the kind of hometown place you can go back to over and over again.

The people. La Brasa is run by a family who are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. If you become a regular, Lucy will know who you are, probably know your name, and maybe even send some extra treats your way. It is definitely an old school kind of place in that regard.

We were introduced to La Brasa last year, shortly after it opened I believe, by the world-travelin' Goldbergs. Since then, we have not only made it the regular Balla-Goldberg meeting place, we have also gone on our own a bunch of times and have brought our parents along. Last week, it was Song Wei, a friend of his from back home in Xinhui, plus two other college students from China. We have yet to hear a complaint!

Seriously, you have to check this place out...

~Steve