Carly: “Hidden Gems” of Allston/Brookline

It’s easy to feel trapped on campus at Boston University. Our sprawling school covers a large majority of Comm Ave and has everything a student could ever need; thus many students stay on campus for the majority of their time. Commonly dubbed the “BU Bubble”, this phenomenon is well-known across campus, and many students are heard complaining that they don’t spend enough time “ in the city”.

But while trips to Faneuil Hall or the Seaport District might take a little more time out of your day, there are a number of easy places students can hit up off campus to briefly escape Comm Ave. Check out some of the best spots to hit in Brookline and Allston, the places that aren’t quite “in the city” but are well enough “off campus” to feel like you’re actually doing something productive.

Shabu Zen:

Shabu Zen is a hot pot restaurant on Brighton Avenue in Allston, the perfect restaurant to hit up on a rainy weeknight. Hot pot is a style of Asian cuisine during which customers cook their food in giant pots filled with boiling broth. Customers order one or two flavors of broth and then pick from a wide selection of meats — all of which are served in thinly sliced raw slabs. The meat is then cooked IN the broth, a miraculous process to watch. You can also order raw noodles, vegetables, and seafood, all of which are delicious to cook in the broth. Shabu Zen is hot, delicious, and an extremely fun dining experience. I highly recommend having a meal at Shabu Zen in Allston.

LimeRed Teahouse

LimeRed is a new spot that recently opened this summer. Their speciality is boba tea, but they sell a number of delectable other drinks as well. The interior is decorated with a number of succulents and potted plants, giving the place a very relaxing atmosphere. LimeRed is a great spot to grab a boba or a coffee, chill out, and do some homework. Within walking distance from West Campus and Star Market, LimeRed Teahouse is an awesome new spot that can offer a change of scenery.

When Pigs Fly

Alright — I’ll admit, When Pigs Fly isn’t exactly a place to hang out, but it sure does have some incredible bread. Yes, that’s right — bread. When Pigs Fly Breads is an authentic bakery in Brookline on Beacon Street. It sells a variety of homemade, fresh breads, ranging from your classic Sourdough to Pumpkin-Cranberry to Spinach, Onion, and Garlic (yes, all three flavors in one loaf of bread). The store is warm and appetizing and consistently smells of freshly baked bread. So next time you need a study break, refuel your carbs supply by heading into Brookline and picking up a delicious loaf of warm bread.

Bottega Fiorentina

Alright, so maybe this list has turned more into the best carbs outside of Dining Hall breakfast potatoes, but if you’re cool with it, then so am I. Bottega Fiorentina is a corner Italian bodega off Babcock Street in Coolidge Corner. In addition to sandwiches, pastas, and salads, customers can also shop for a variety of authentic Italian grocery items — imported straight from the motherland of carbs itself. Stop in and meet the owners or pick up some food for a picnic in Amory Park, either way, definitely fill up on what Bottega Fiorentina has to offer.

There are tons of other restaurants and stores in Brookline and Allston, and all of them add their own flair to the community. So get out there, support your local businesses, and “get off campus”. Try a new restaurant, take a walk around, and enjoy these neighborhoods we’re lucky enough to call our own.

Carly: Pondside Pumpkins Pride

First Year Student Outreach PROJECT.

The ‘P’ in FYSOP stands for ‘Project’ not ‘Program’, contrary to what I had initially believed.

That’s because a PROGRAM has a definitive end.

A PROJECT is a continuous event; a project may never truly reach completion. And with community engagement, the project is never really over. So much to my relief – and the relief of most of those who shared my experience – FYSOP never really has to end. 

I first participated in FYSOP as a First-Year Volunteer, during which I volunteered within the Environment focus area. I had an incredible week – I got to engage with the community, learn more about the environmental issues that Boston faces, and meet a variety of new people. It was a wonderful adjustment to school at Boston University, and I made friends with whom I still keep in contact today. 

This year, I returned as a Staff Leader. I was hesitant to participate in FYSOP again – at the end of summer, when it came time to head back to Boston two weeks earlier than the rest of the school, I wanted to stay home with my parents. I had a rough spring semester, and I never wanted to leave home again. I was a phone call away from dropping out of FYSOP, but nevertheless, I packed my life into three large suitcases, hopped on my five-hour flight, and dragged my stuff into Warren Towers. 

From the moment we kicked off Staff Training, I felt at complete ease. Everyone with whom I came into contact was incredibly kind and open, and I found myself sitting with the other Staff Leaders on my floor in Warren ordering Dominos on the very first night. Never had it been so easy for me to talk to people. 

This trend continued for the rest of Staff Training and the week of FYSOP. Every individual participating in the Project was incredible kind, welcoming, and as eager to engage with the community as I was. I had never experienced such a positive, warm environment before. Every single person I met had an enormous impact on me and I found myself making more friends in those two weeks than I made my entire first semester of college.

Aside from the incredible staff and coordinators with whom I worked, I also learned an immense amount about Boston neighborhoods. My focus area focused on the MBTA Orange Line toward Forest Hills, which encompasses Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, West Roxbury, and Hyde Park. I had never ventured into these local neighborhoods – hadn’t even heard of them, to be honest – as I had spent the majority of my freshman year on campus. But as we started to dive into the issues these communities face and began to head out to work with Community Partners in these neighborhoods, I became incredible invested in their stories.

 I am eternally grateful for my FYSOP 2017 experience. I had the opportunity to learn more about the Boston community and neighborhoods I had never explored during my freshman year. I got to interact with residents who share their city with the enormous college population and I got to learn about the issues they face. I got to meet incredible, passionate, genuine individuals who inspired me to work toward the best version of myself. I made strong friendships and bonds and welcomed First Year students to Boston University.

 Most of all, I learned about myself. I don’t mean to be narcissistic – after all, FYSOP is about working with and learning from others – but my personal growth was one of the most important aspects of my experience.

 I learned that I’m passionate about the community – and I enjoy myself most when I am interacting with others who are also passionate about the community. I learned that I spent the vast majority of my first 19 years worrying about what others thought about me, when in reality, being myself will bring me where I want to be. I learned that maybe I have more of a place at Boston University than I initially thought.

 Most importantly, I learned that being a Bostonian is an incredibly special privilege. The residents of this city welcome us college students into their home with open hearts, and it is our responsibility to give back to them and and the city we all call home.

 First Year Student Outreach Project 2017 was the experience of a lifetime, and I miss it immensely. But I know it will never be over.

 O-R-A-N-G-E, and that’s the way we take the T.

Carly: Black Mirror Episodes Ranked

Black Mirror: if you haven’t heard of it yet, you have now.

The British television series is a science-fiction anthology similar to The Twilight Zone in that each episode is a depiction of some sci-fi or dystopian society. With Black Mirror, each story provides a look at innovative technological devices that have enhanced society but at the same time become a tool for destruction.

Given that it is an anthology, each episode is a completely different story. That gives the audience the ability to pick and choose between different episodes rather than watching in order.

The stories are incredibly creative and diversity is plentiful. Episodes like the critically acclaimed “San Junipero” are more lighthearted, and tell a heartwarming tale of love. On the other hand, episodes like “White Bear,” are darker and touch on themes of vengeance and morality.

The underlying theme across the show is modern technology and the horrifying role it can ultimately play in our society. Some are merely entertaining, others are more gruesome. Some have deeper messages woven into their narratives and others just seem to enjoy the destruction. Below are a list of each episode ranked in order from worst to best, followed by their season and episode number.

13. The National Anthem (1.1)

12. The Waldo Moment (2.3)

11. Fifteen Million Merits (1.2)

10. Shut Up and Dance (3.3)

9. The Entire History of You (1.3)

8. White Christmas (2.4)

7. Be Right Back (2.1)

6. Nosedive (3.1)

5. Play Test (3.2)

4. White Bear (2.2)

3. Men Against Fire (3.5)

2. Hated in the Nation (3.6)

1. San Junipero (3.4)

Think these pictures give you a good idea of the journey on which you’re about to embark? You aren’t even close. And before you ask, yes that is Jon Hamm in “White Christmas” and Domhnall Gleeson in “Be Right Back.” Better get to it and hang on for dear life — Black Mirror is a roller coaster of plot twists, innovative ideas, complex characters, and ominous predictions about our own future.

Carly: 5 Films Celebrating Big Anniversaries This Year

Upon returning home after my first semester of college, I could not help but look around my hometown and feel a sudden sense of lost time. I knew it was fairly common to feel this way, and I knew that most college students experience the same nostalgia as they enter the next stages of their lives. Nevertheless, it seemed as if my childhood had come and gone in a blur and that I was rapidly speeding toward adulthood without any ability to brake. Time flies — especially when you are having fun during your first semester of college — but we can easily find time leaving its marks not only on us but on the things we love around us. My favorite films, in particular, were getting old right along with me, as I soon realized. So if you are ever feeling old, you are not alone. These great films are celebrating some pretty astounding birthdays this year too.

Enchanted

Enchanted is not the best movie celebrating its 10th anniversary. 2007 also gave us Superbad, Juno, Zodiac, and, perhaps most notably, No Country For Old Men. But I start this list off with Enchanted simply for the sake of nostalgia. The film is a combination between animation and live-action and tells the tale of Giselle (Amy Adams), the happy-go-lucky soon-to-be princess of fantasy kingdom Andalasia. After getting pushed down a well by the evil witch Narissa (Susan Sarandon), Giselle finds herself in the bustling live-action world of New York City, where she meets and ultimately falls in love with Robert (Patrick Dempsey), a divorce lawyer and a single father. Trouble stirs in the city as the rest of Andalasia quickly comes after Giselle–first her fiancé prince, and then the witch Narissa, who sets a plan in motion to kill Giselle to make sure she never returns to Andalasia. Ultimately, Giselle is saved by true love’s kiss — not from her prince, but rather from Robert, a regular guy surely does not belong in any fairytale. They end up living their “happily ever after” in the real world.

The movie/musical enthralled an entire generation of children–along with several adults–and I am sure many fondly recollect singing along with Amy Adams to her “How Do You Know” number in Central Park. 10 years later, the children who loved the film have mostly grown up, but if you watch the film again you will find that little has changed in Giselle and Robert’s love story.

Good Will Hunting

20 years ago, the world fell in love with Matt Damon in his debut role as Will Hunting, a self-taught genius whose intellect is rarely utilized as he spends his days drinking with pals and working as a janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Damon wrote the screenplay along with his childhood friend Ben Affleck, and the two took home the Oscar for Best Screenplay, solidifying their entry into the film industry. In the 20 years since the movie’s release, both Damon and Affleck have gone on to enjoy very successful careers. Robin Williams starred alongside Damon as Hunting’s therapist and mentor, Dr. Sean Maguire. As Hunting comes to learn, Sean struggles with his own inner demons, and as the film progresses the two help each other fight through the pain of their pasts. Williams won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

The story takes place in our very own home of Boston, Mass. — and I guarantee, if you watch it again, you will easily notice and appreciate the various locations within the city where the movie was shot.

If you watch this movie anytime soon, do so not only to enjoy your enlightened sense of Boston, or for a young Matt Damon, or for the nostalgia of Robin Williams, but also as a reminder that even today the message still holds true: we could always do with a little bit of help from others, and we are never alone.

Titanic

Damon was not the only blond-haired beauty who had a successful year in 1997. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Jack Dawson in James Cameron’s Titanic, a masterpiece film that documented a fictional love story aboard the Titanic. DiCaprio plays a poor artist who falls in love with Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet), a first-class passenger who is unsatisfied with her arranged engagement. As the two experience the trials of a love forbidden by a division in social classes, the tragedy

DiCaprio and Winslet shared an electric onscreen romance. Few can forget the classic scene they share at the helm of the ship, Jack holding Rose up against the wind to experience a feeling of liberation she rarely enjoys in her stifling upper class life.

Though it celebrates its 20th year of circulation, Titanic will most likely survive the tests of time and live on as a powerful love story that will consistently pierce the hearts (and activate the tear ducts) of future audiences.

Star Wars

40 years ago, the very first Star Wars film was released, launching a film franchise that endures and captivates audiences still today. The original Star Wars, what would ultimately become Episode IV: A New Hope, introduced the world to the Rebel Alliance, a revolutionary force attempting to take down the evil Empire that ruled the galaxy. Rebel leader Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hides the plans to destroy the the Empire’s massive space station of destruction, the Death Star, inside droids that ultimately end up in the hands of ordinary farmer boy Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). When Luke discovers Princess Leia’s message, he is led to ancient Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness), where he learns of the history of Jedi Knights, the powerful, supernatural energy known as the Force, and the fate of his own father, Anakin, who fought alongside Obi-Wan as a Jedi. Skywalker’s life is then changed forever as the Force calls him back to fulfill his destiny of helping the Rebels. The three movies provide audiences with an eclectic cast of well-loved characters and an adventure tale that will last for ages to come.

After a trilogy of prequels in the 90s, the franchise came back to life in 2015 with The Force Awakens, a sequel that will last two additional episodes. In 2016, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a film that serves as a link between Episodes I, II, and III and Episodes IV, V, and VI, was also released. Star Wars shocked audiences way back in 1977, and it still enthralls first-time viewers today. The original trilogy is a classic tale of good and evil, heroism, bravery, rebellion, and love, and it is a hard story to beat.

On December 27, Carrie Fisher passed away, sending the world into a state of mourning with another tragic 2016 loss. Her charisma and talent will be greatly missed.

The Graduate

And finally, in its 50th year, The Graduate reminds us that the future is never very far away — and it never ceases to evoke the same sense of distress within all of us. A very young (and very attractive) Dustin Hoffman stars as Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate who engages in an affair with Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the wife of his father’s law partner, over the summer as he avoids thinking about graduate school or future career plans. Ben ultimately ends the affair when he ends up falling for Mrs. Robinson’s daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross), who returns to school in Berkeley when she learns of the affair. A desperate Ben follows her to Berkeley, where he learns that Mrs. Robinson convinced her family that the affair was the not consensual and Ben had seduced her while she was drunk. When Ben tries to explain the truth to Elaine, Mrs. Robinson pulls her out of school, brings her home, and rushes her to marry a college fling. Ben races home and makes it to the wedding just in time to interrupt the service by crying out for Elaine behind the glass doors at the back. After a moment of hesitation, Elaine returns his cries and flees the church with him, escaping the clutches of her mother and hopping aboard a bus outside with Ben. The two collapse at the back of bus, grinning from ear to ear and elated about their success.

The Graduate is notably remembered for its final few shots — the smiles fading from Ben and Elaine’s faces as the uncertainty of the future settles in. By capturing the few moments that come just after their “happily ever after” celebration, the film reflects the quandary that develops when the story goes on and life keeps moving. With a marvelous Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack, The Graduate is a film that all recent and upcoming college grads should watch or rewatch this year.