Secret Sundays! #1

Brown University is an eclectic place–like a hipster Hogwarts–so shouldn’t it have some cool secret places to match? Secret Sundays isn’t exactly going to break the news on a Brown ‘Room of Requirement’, but these are the kinds of places where, if you found them on the Brown University video game, there would be a little chime sound and some treasure. But we’re not going to tell you where they are…the photo’s just a hint–do some exploring on your lazy Sunday!

Our first secret spot is a room on campus where you’re not only allowed, but encouraged to paint on the walls. Just remember to clean off your brushes for the next set of explorers. Happy hunting!

Keepin’ it Reel: The Ides of March

I have a certain friend—let’s call him K—with whom I share an absolutely uncanny number of similarities. Recommending books that the other is already reading, having the same color Nalgene, things like that. So when we saw Ides early last night (of course we saw it on the same day), K texted me “For real don’t go”. Talk about conflicted: my doppelganger’s literally warning me not to see a movie, but I have this review to write… I watched it, of course. But K was right: for real don’t go.

Everything that I think Aaron Sorkin gets right, this movie gets completely wrong. The exaggeration George Clooney puts into Ides (he both acts and directs) is oriented in the absolute wrong direction: toward immense understatement. Real campaigns are a deliberately insane process, a full year of chickens running around without their heads. Yet somehow the candidate’s national media manager (Ryan Gosling) has the free time to go out for drinks nightly, sleep with the intern and question his broader morals. We get scenes of the campaign manager (Philip Seymour Hoffman) getting a haircut and lying on his bed smoking. Even the critical conversations between top-level staffers take place at a snail’s pace and everyone speaks in turn, as if they’re in a mid-level seminar rather than on the cusp of an election. Campaigning is the most exciting and stressful work in the world, and if they’re ever boring, it’s only because they’re so consistently thrilling. There’s very little thrilling here.  Continue Reading

Keepin’ it Reel: Moneyball

Keepin’ It Reel is a weekly to biweekly movie column that aims to do reviews the Brown way: by waxing philosophical and perhaps using the word “hegemony.” If there’s an upcoming movie that you, gentle reader, would like reviewed, don’t only mildly hesitate to place your requests below.

Moneyball tells the story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), manager of the Oakland A’s (whose mascot either is the letter “A” or a really tiny elephant) and controversial pioneer in applying statistical reductionism (“sabermetrics“) to America’s Favorite Pastime. Along the way, Billy befriends a Yale econ grad (Jonah Hill), has a falling out with his team manager (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), and even learns a little about being a father. If that sounds about as thrilling as, say, a “Facebook movie”, then you’re actually onto something: this little ditty was written by West Wing mastermind and recent guest of Brown Aaron Sorkin. But that doesn’t mean it’s anywhere near as good. Continue Reading

“I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

The Class of ’15 has been on campus for a few weeks now, and if you’re anything like I was at that point in my budding Brown career (i.e., adventurous, handsome, a lover of long walks, etc.), then I bet you’re growing weary of the offerings on Thayer Street. Sure, Thayer’s the most popular Brown stomping ground for a reason, and it definitely has its hidden gems, but one can only alternate daily falafel and pizza cones for so long. So, if there’s a single piece of advice I – in my Yoda-like wisdom – can impart to the incoming class, it’s something like, “Explore the city, you must!” This primer to Brown-relevant Providence streets is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a start. Bookmark this list, introduce yourself to these streets, seduce them and love them, and I promise each one will be worth the walk: Continue Reading

A mysterious message from Dean Bergeron

I have no context for this inscrutable yet engrossing video of Dean Bergeron reciting a text by Ranier Maria Rilke. My personal favorite part begins at 8:25…

(Campus)lifehacker: Cracking Jo’s

The semester is dying down, and due to a few too many Blue Room bread puddings (ok, way too many), we’re once again forced to delve into the nitty-gritty of the uncrackable Brown University Meal Plan.

But don’t give up hope! One BUDS cashier (who wishes to remain anonymous) with apparently wayyy too much time on her hands has done all the heavy lifting for us–at least at Jo’s. Just enter the minimum and maximum bounds of what you want to spend (probably close to $6.15 or $12.30; or between 0 and any low amount of money), and the program will spit out every possible permutation of items, complete with a random color changer!

There are also useful, easier-to-read PDFs of more common searches. Perhaps most refreshing is the simple list of item prices: after all these years, we can finally know how much that cookie really costs.