Eight Must Read Young Adult Books

1) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins “May the odds be ever in your favor.” This book is one of the most exciting books I have ever read. A long time ago, there was a war. Now every year each … Continue reading

History of Food: Pasta

The first form of food similar to pasta was in the writings of Horace where thin strips of dough were fried and served with spices in the 1st century B.C.E. A few centuries later, we see an ancient ancestor of modern day lasagna come out in the form of lagana. It was described to be consisted of sheets of dough with meat filling in between. In the second century, the dough started to be made with flour and water instead of juice from lettuce. Later, Arabs adopted a similar form of noodle in the 5th century and lead to the Italians making thin strip noodle pasta.


If we jump to the 15th century, dried pasta was very valued because it could be stored for very long periods of time.That’s why many exploring ships brought dried pasta to the New World. Believe it or not, tomato sauce was only invented in the 18th century! Before this, people would just eat pasta with their hands. Now, people eat it with forks because the tomato would get too messy without it.


Today, the average Italian eats about sixty pounds of pasta per year, while the average American eats about twenty pounds of pasta per year. Writings suggest it originated in Italy, but why is it popular in North America? It’s because Italian immigration to the Americas that we love pasta so much. Italians have also had a mass immigration to South Africa, making spaghetti and meatballs a major part of Italian cuisine.


Do you like pasta? How do you eat yours? Comment, if you want, I guess.


My Top 5 Favorite Lord of the Rings Characters

Last week’s blog was about my top 5 favorite book series, and Lord of the Rings made it on to the list.  However, I also found the Lord of the Rings films to be engaging.  One aspect I really liked about the films was the acting.  This week’s blog is about my 5 favorite Lord of the Rings movie characters.


Sam made this top 5 list because, even though Frodo was the main part in the trek through Mordor, Sam was always by his side.  Without doubt, Frodo wouldn’t have made it without him.  Sean Astin is the actor who played the role of Sam.  He even had to gain weight to be accepted for the part because Sam is supposed to be a fat hobbit.


In 4th place is Gandalf.  He is played by Ian McKellen, and has a very important role in the plotline.  Gandalf is the one character that started it all.  He is a wizard who originally sent Sam and Frodo to Rivendell, the city of the elves, to determine the ring’s fate.  In addition to that, Gandalf is the one people look to for advice, and he always seems to have a new idea.


Third on the list is Gimli.  Gimli is a dwarf who is always looking for a fight.  John Rhys-Daveis nailed this role.  Gimli is one of the 9 companions who depart from Rivendell with Frodo to destroy the ring of power, but their paths split at the end of the first movie.  While Sam and Frodo sneak the ring into Mordor, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli go on a rescue mission to save Merry and Pippin from a band of orcs.  Then they eventually return to join the fight against the Dark Lord Sauron’s forces.


My second favorite character is Pippin, played by Billy Boyd.  Pippin made it up to second simply by being stupid.  I found it funny how Pippin would be the one person who had no idea what was going on, and how his stupidity actually indirectly caused good to triumph over evil.


My favorite character in the Lord of the Rings is Aragorn.  He is the heir to the throne of Gondor, and a lot of his scenes are action filled.  However, he does have a soft side for the elf princess Arwen.  Viggo Mortenson played Aragorn, whom half the plotline is about.  You might actually think that Aragorn is the main character, but the movie gives plenty of evidence that it is about Frodo.  You will just have to watch the movies to find out why.


Information From: Lord of the Rings Films

Angkor Wat: The World’s Largest Religious Monument

Angkor Wat, located in Siem Reap Province in Cambodia, is the world’s largest religious monument. “Angkor” comes from Sanskrit and means “city” while Wat is Khmer for “temple.” Cambodians are usually referred to as Khmer people and Thai are referred to as Siem. So, the name Siem Reap means “Thai Defeat,” but that’s another story. Angkor Wat also appears on the national flag of Cambodia.

Angkor Wat was originally built in the 12th century by king Suryavarman II as a Hindu temple. It was a dedication to Vishnu. Later, in the 16th century, Buddhism took over and Angkor Wat was converted to a Buddhist temple. The Buddhists tried to paint the giant wall mural depicting several scenes from Hinduism and in some parts, you can actually touch the carved stone on the mural.

Angkor Wat lies on an island 1km x 1.5km with a 1 km wide moat on all sides. There are two entrances: the front in the west and the back in the east. Angkor Wat, unlike most temples, faces to the west instead of the east to signify that Suryavarman was intending to be buried there. Inside the temple, there is a central point where you can see in all four directions, many intricate and sometimes unfinished carvings, and a big central tower which was the king’s tomb. The central has really steep stairs that you could be afraid of going up and down.

Overall, Angkor Wat is a great place and has a lot of extra history and details to it, and it is also a great tourist destination.

Hehe, It’s a Lizard!

I took this picture of a really cool lizard in Cambodia.

Gods Versus Demons

This picture was taken by the wall mural in Angkor Wat. If you look closely, the ones facing to the right are different from the ones facing to the left. The gods are facing to the right and the demons … Continue reading

Khmer BBQ

I took this picture in Cambodia of a Khmer hot pot barbecue. They give you all the raw ingredients and you cook them yourself.

The History of Food: The Best of the Best: ICE CREAM!

The earliest known form of ice cream was in the Persian Empire when grape juice concentrate was poured on top of snow for a treat when it was hot outside. People have been doing this for centuries. Sorbet is said … Continue reading

The History of Food: Escargot

Ewwwww… escargot. These creatures are a treat for the French, but we think of it as being disgusting. These are snails that have gone through heliculture and have been stuffed back into their shells with garnishes. Years ago, in ancient … Continue reading

Ben Affleck

“When you are knocked down, get back up again”  This is basically what Ben Affleck said to the crowd at the Oscars. He wanted to send a positive message out to people of all ages. Even though he was not nominated for best director, his movie “Argo” won best picture. This is actually the highest honor to receive and he was quite gracious.

In life it is easy to get down when things do not go our way we all are guilty of thinking everyone else’s life is perfect. Ben’s situation is an excellent example of how we need to stay focused and determined even when things are not going as we have planned.

Actors have been a huge audience. He was able to reach millions and sent a great message. Hopefully, young and old viewers will take his advice to heart and stay positive. He did not get down when he was not nominated and that worked in his favor Ben Affleck received an Oscar and that is exactly what he deserves.