31 July 2012

Travelogue: The Disney Wedding Part I

I have always been quite the travel buff. Staying in one place has never suited me well, and I love experiencing new places, new cultures, and new people. So how do I make a trip to Walt Disney World, a place I spent a year of my life, something new and exciting? It's pretty easy, actually.

Love is the Reason
The main thing that sets this trip apart from previous Disney visits (1989, 2001, 2005) and working at Disney (2003, 2005) is the reason I will be there. The primary focus of this trip isn't a vacation or working, but a wedding. Disney weddings are legendary for being, well, legendary. The second reason is reuniting with some of my closest friends from my 2005 stint working for the Mouse in the place where it all began. In some cases, it's been weeks since I saw these friends, in other cases, many years. Somehow, we have managed to clump the last two American Pie sequels into one trip.

Getting There is Half the Fun
Typically, when one travels from the Northeast to Florida, a plane is involved. Occasionally quirkier folks will opt for a train ride, or the snazzy auto train from Virginia that allows you to bring your car along. Some brave souls take their chances with the price of gas along I-95. Being one of lesser wealth, I found another option: I'm taking the bus. Later this afternoon, I will walk down to Philadelphia's 30th Street Station and hop on the Megabus heading for DC. From there, an overnight Megabus ride will get me to Knoxville, TN early tomorrow morning. After breakfast, a museum visit, and a trolley ride around town, a third Megabus will drop me in Chattanooga. I'll spend a day in Chattanooga with a friend, and from there we will drive to Orlando. Sure, it will take awhile, but it was only $110 round-trip. That's less than half of the base fare for the cheapest flight!

Once this trip is over, I will check back in to let you know how it went. Was the epic bus ride a good idea? Can Disney really be done on a budget? How many weddings can a person attend in two weeks? Answers to all of these questions and more upon my return.

24 July 2012

Summers in Kerala!

Hi, I am Anna John, I blog at From Anna’s Desk! I am a law student from India who blogs about her experiences in ‘God’s Own Country’, her views on life, politics, philosophy, law school and most things under the sun that get her interested enough to write something about it. I shall be sharing about my Childhood Summer Vacations as part of 20SB’s 2012 Blog Swap.

My family lives in central India, but our ancestral home is in Kerala. So, during my childhood, when the school closed for the summer, my family used to generally start preparing for a trip to our ‘native place’ in Kerala. Unlike every other Malayali friend of mine, I was not very keen on our annual migration to the south. A week or two at my paternal grandmother’s place meant that I had to deal with intermittent power cuts, life without television, fetching water from the well each time I needed to take a bath or use the washroom. For all the tourism posters proclaiming that Kerala was ‘God’s Own Country’, even as a 6 year old, I was already convinced that God had overlooked Kottayam or at least my Ammachi’s (Granmother in Malayalam) house.

Over the years I came to look forward to these yearly visits to Kerala and started to make the best out of these trips. Part of the reason was that my maternal grandparents who were hitherto put up in Nagpur decided to resettle in Kerala. I was pretty close to my Nana and Nani andI really liked their place in Kerala. Soon, spending time Ammachi’s place was something that I looked at as a consideration for the time I got to spend with my Nana and Nani.

It is funny how, when you look at your worst nightmare as something you need to endure for a reward you have been eagerly awaiting, your nightmare doesn’t look so nightmarish anymore! I began enjoying the time spent with Ammachi. She would save up the best of the bananas, jackfruits, tapioca and all the other eatables that were grown at home for me. She would read out stories from Malayalam comic books and teach me verses from the Bible in Malayalam. Over time, I came to love spending time with my grandmother enough to not mind the power-cuts and the lack of plumbing (although that problem was fixed some 10 years ago). The fact that there was no television meant that I spent my time reading books and learning to read Malayalam and other things that Ammachi tried to teach me.

And one day, Ammachi suddenly died. None of us had seen it coming. It was the first time I had lost someone I loved and cared about, and it took me a while to get over her loss. In retrospect, I am grateful for the change of heart over the course of those annual vacations. Ammachi taught me a great many things during those holidays, and I shall cherish the memories of those holidays for the rest of my life! 

20 July 2012

Out on the Town - Museums After Dark

Museums After Dark
When living in a city, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of great experiences. Often it is difficult to keep track of all the goings-on associated with city living. We here at The What Magazine pride ourselves on finding colorful ideas for making the most of your urban experience with Out on the Town, a feature highlighting the latest and greatest in your city.

In recent years, many museums have moved beyond your typical programming to offer a variety of cool events and happenings after regular operating hours. These evening events are often intended to attract the 21-35 crowds, and therefore usually include food, tasty adult beverages, and a main attraction that the type of people who are reading this would enjoy.

19 July 2012

Mixtape Madness #16: 2012 Official Soundtrack of Summer

According to the novel High Fidelity the making of a good mix tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. Furthermore, a good mix is never finished. You never know when you will come across a song that changes the dynamic of the mix you just completed. There is a litany of intricacies to crafting the ideal mix no matter what the mix’s intended purpose should be. This feature is merely a guide on the cosmic highway of mix making, and while experienced, the writer does not claim to be an expert.

2012 Official Soundtrack of Summer
Summer time equals party time, and no party (or no Summer) can reach its potential without a seriously sweet soundtrack. We look forward to this mix each year, and it seems to get bigger and better each time. So without any further hesitation, here is the ideal playlist for your next barbecue.

1. "Ceremony" by New Order - We start off the 2012 Soundtrack of Summer with an early 80's throwback. Originally released in 1981, it's on this list mainly because of the scene in which it is featured in Marie Antoinette.

2. "Happy Pills" by Norah Jones - Summer is hot and so is Norah Jones. Her latest album is a bit different from her norm, but in a good way. 

3. "Never Go Back" by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are a fantastic band. While I normally prefer their bluesier tunes, this one fits the bill for a summer mix.

4. "Ottoman" by Vampire Weekend - Another movie song, this one getting the nod after a showing of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

5. "The Harder They Come" by Jimmy Cliff - Few songs sound better on a sweltering summer night than this one.

13 July 2012

July 2012

Better late than never! Keep checking back over the next two weeks for articles from our Culture, Class, Cuisine issue. Cheers!