Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Germany in 30 Seconds

Leader: Kaiser William II

Politics: Germany only became a country in 1871, when the German Empire was proclaimed. Previous to unification it was a collection of small principalities and cities, dominated by the Kingdom of Prussia and the Austrian Empire, lead by the Hapsburg family. Prussia, under Otto von Bismark fought a series wars between 1864 and 1871 to unify Germany under Prussian control. From 1871 until the establishment of the Wiemar Republic at the end of WWI Germany will be dominated by military powers and the aristocratic landowners.

A new sense of German nationalism is also growing during this time. It is grounded in several ideas. The first is that this German Empire is the continuation of the Holy Roman Empire, a loose federation of central European states during the Middle Ages. Thus it is the Second Reich (Empire). German nationalism is also strongly anti-Semitic. It is also rooted in a long-standing distaste for the French.

Religion: Northern Germany is dominated by Lutherans, while the south is predominantly Catholic. There is small Jewish population concentrated in the major cities. This is the period of “Victorian Christianity” with a focus on proper appearance and etiquette, but lacking the deep religious convictions of earlier times. All kinds of sexuality, but especially homosexuality, are often violently repressed.  It is at this time that the philosopher Frederich Nietzsche declares, “God is dead.” If you can think of the worst time to be a teenager exploring their sexuality, it’s this period.

* An exercise in dramaturgy: the art of cramming an entire unit of AP Euro knowledge into a one-page summary so actors can better understand the context of the show without having to do hours of research on their own. Bonus points if you can figure out what musical this selection is for.

Friday, January 18, 2013

It's Show Time

There is something wonderful about seeing information from your classes come into play in your life. The fact that school is applicable to life still blows my mind a lot of the time. I am currently enrolled in a Stage Management class and part of today's discussion revolved around how to run auditions. Which is a bit uncanny, considering that there are three shows currently holding auditions on campus. Coincidence? Who knows. One of the most important things we discussed was that auditions should run smoothly. Actually everything should run smoothly, but auditions are particularly important because they are the moment you introduce your show to the world and can set the tone for the entire process. As I sit here, in the basement, waiting with actors to be called, I am enjoying watching smoothness in action. The stage manager for this show has an impeccably well-designed system that just flows effortlessly. (Well, not effortlessly, but it's well-oiled as anything.) It's definitely a plus for education.

And of course, a theater joke for a theater post:

When there is a really sneaky set or costume change, the audience is like:

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Lines that divide also combine
Step between imposing iron pillars; escape
From a world apart to a
Tribe of sky and steel
A world surrounded by walls
We walk between both, unthinking

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dorm-Made Bread

When my uncle was an R.A. in college he used to bake for his floor. He discovered that when he baked bread he got more visitors than when he baked cookies. Never one to pass up a good story, or good bread, I decided to test his theory today. So I went to the store and bought supplies to bake a few batches of bread and cookies. Tonight I took a crack at the bread. Having never made bread without a stand mixer this required a hurried call to my mom, the master bread baker on call, and some quick tweaks to the lessons I had received at home. The process without the mixer is quite a bit messier, but in the end it all comes together. All told bread in the dorm takes about twice as long as bread at home. Twenty minutes to find all the equipment, twenty to make the dough, thirty minutes to rise, thirty to bake, twenty to cool. With 4:37 left I can't wait to taste the work of my hands. Hopefully it tastes as good as it smells.

Brother's Bread

2 1/4 cup warm water
1 package quick rise yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 + cups flour (best is 2 cup white whole wheat + rest white unbleached)

In the mixer with the bread dough hook bowl mix the water, yeast, salt sugar and 2 cups flour.  Blend Mix with whisk then add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time. Add enough so that the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Don't worry if you add more than 6 cups Once you’ve added 3-4 cups of flour turn the dough onto a floured surface with the remainder of the 6 cups of flour, then dust your hands with flour and knead for a few minutes until the remaining flour has mixed with the dough.  Put the dough into a buttered bowl to rise in a warm place.  After about 30 -45 minutes, when it's doubled in size, punch it down, cut into two pieces, shape into two loaves. Put the loaves onto a buttered baking sheet.  Put the loaves into a cold oven, then turn the oven on to 400F.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the bottoms sound hollow when tapped.

Enjoy with fresh butter!! mmmmm.....

Great as toast, or sandwich bread.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ring in the New Year

As the new year begins, it is a time for reflection. And what better way to reflect than to spend a lot of time puttering around with annoying internet tools. I found that in the past year I've written 14,060 words and received over 6,200 visits. I've focused a lot on college, time, and people. It's nice to how much had changed over the year and how much has stayed the same. It gives me hope for next year. And honestly, it looks pretty cool.