The Online Edition: The Creativity Show
By Omar Said
May 7, 2020 10:41 p.m.
Although not everyone has the bandwidth for it right now, a lot of people are spending their time in isolation working on creative projects. Here at the Daily Bruin, we’ve loved seeing people’s stories, art and food – almost as much as we’ve loved making our own – and it inspired us to bring you this episode packed with stories about creativity. Here’s episode two of “The Online Edition,” which we’re calling The Creativity Show.
Omar Said: This week, I officially ran out of things to do. I read all my books. I caught up on all the good TV shows. I even caught up on all the podcasts I listen to when I go for walks. I had been struggling to find ways to fill my time – until I realized how much fun painting adult coloring books could be. Since then, I’ve been trying to do one creative thing each day – even if that just means watching Phineas and Ferb be creative because I’m too busy with other things.
It’s helped me feel less bored – especially because coming up with something creative to do can feel like its own creative project sometimes. It’s also helped me focus on some of the ways other people are expressing their creativity right now: be it putting together zoom concerts for their friends, finding new and innovative ways to virtually engage with people or creating new podcasts and YouTube shows for others to enjoy.
But it’s also shown me that sometimes, creativity can be hard, and sometimes it’s a lot easier to watch someone else do something creative than try and find the energy to do it yourself. That’s why our show today is all about the creative projects people have taken on during isolation.
From the Daily Bruin, this is “The Online Edition.” I’m Omar Said, and we’re calling this episode The Creativity Show. Stay tuned, we’re bringing you stories about UCLA, Minecraft, music and TV reviews, and cooking – and just what it all has to do with being creative.
Does anyone remember what UCLA looks like?
Omar Said: Page One: Does anyone remember what UCLA looks like? Being away from UCLA has left students taking virtual classes, missing friends and scattered across the globe. As a result, most Bruins aren’t able to walk around campus and take advantage of its views and historic buildings. But some students are trying to change that, block by block, as they build a one-to-one scale replica of UCLA in a communal Minecraft server. The server is run by co-administrators Noah Molloy and Chris Ko – both second year electrical engineering students – with funding from Bruin Gaming, a UCLA student organization. Here’s Noah with more details.
Noah Molloy: My name is Noah Malloy, I’m a second year electrical engineer. A UCLA Minecraft server has always been like a big ask from our community for a while because Minecraft’s one of those, like, really ubiquitous games. Like everyone has Minecraft so it’d be a really great game to have everyone like kinda join in and play around other Bruins basically. So that’s kind of why – that was the real impetus for us to launch it, I guess.
OS: The server has gotten a bit of help from Sunny Yen, the co-founder and former president of Bruin Gaming, who also founded UCLA eSports.
Sunny Yen: My name is Sunny Yen. I work at UCLA recreation. My official job title is eSports engagement coordinator. Basically anything to do with eSports at UCLA, gaming at UCLA – the odds of that coming from our office is pretty high. There was the one video that went super viral of a Japanese high school doing their graduation ceremony. They rebuilt their high school in Minecraft. And they did their graduation ceremony. And it was like, it was a joke when obviously, it’s not like, an official (one). But it was for fun. And that went super viral. And then so suddenly, you see a lot of people going, “Oh, we should do that for colleges now.” Especially with, you know, the school shutdowns and all that kind of stuff. That was something that we started seeing on a Reddit page for UCLA. The community there was like, “Oh, well, I want a Minecraft server. I want to build. I want to do something now that we have a lot more time.”
NM: I feel like when we’re all kind of denied access to campus, our immediately – we immediately want to, like, recreate it so that we can go back in that sense. I know. One of the talking points was like, oh, because now we’re doing all online classes like Commencement is going to be – and graduation is going to be – online. So we’re like, well, if the school is not going to give us graduation, we’ll make our own graduation. so that was kind of like kind of like a half reason for why we decided to make campus.
OS: But timing is also important – it helps that people are generally stuck at home right now.
NM: The reason why we did it was, in this period of isolation of our campus, the community has really become disconnected. So we wanted to make UCLA community whole again, by reuniting the divided. We wanted to rebuild campus and so we decided the medium that we would rebuild UCLA in was through Minecraft because it had a lot, that sort of sandbox world that gave us a lot of tools, to recreate campus, but we needed a lot of help from others because our goal was to make a one-to-one scale replica of it.
OS: One place the server has gotten help from others is its model of Schoenberg Hall, where the Herb Alpert School of Music is housed. Students of that school found out about the server and began working to recreate the building they normally spend all their time in.
Carmen Voskuhl: My name is Carmen Voskuhl. I am a junior. So, yeah, I’m a, I guess a third year. And I am a music major, but specifically vocal performance. So pretty much I sing opera, and I’m also a math minor. But yeah, my friend ended up reaching out to me and she was like, oh, like they’re making you know, a whole Minecraft replica of UCLA. Like, we should build Schoenberg, the Music Building. So, me and a bunch of voice majors pretty much used it to, you know, we could hang out and but then also like to make this, you know, pretty accurate version of Schoenberg.
OS: While this is the most popular attempt at building UCLA within a Minecraft server, it isn’t the only one. UCLA eSports once wanted to do the same thing – albeit with a different approach.
SY: So, UCLA eSports when they started their own server, they were like, we want to, like do this very methodically, like, we want like, a leadership hierarchy with like foremen, like very traditional construction. But I think for us our focus was “Who gives a crap?” Just, it’s we’re building UCLA in Minecraft. This should be fun, you know, we’re not here to set up a leadership hierarchy, and make people actually feel like this is a chore. So right now, obviously, some buildings are insane. And it’s just looking at them and it’s just like, I don’t know how you did that in Minecraft.
NM: People just kind of come in and they contribute wherever they want to. I know like a lot of the South Campus is like, each individual building of South Campus has kind of been started and they’re not necessarily joined together to kind of just floating around in space, just waiting to be joined together. But I’ve seen people like they’ll add their own little touches to various buildings just to really polish certain features of buildings that might have been overlooked by the original builder or something like that.
OS: But focusing on fun doesn’t mean the Bruin Gaming server has completely forgotten accuracy. The people working on it still want to build a one-to-one model of UCLA – a replica that matches both UCLA’s size and shape.
CV: I think, it was Jazz, ended up finding somehow on Google, a floor map of Schoenberg. So we really tried to base it off of that. And I think even at one point, there was like a significant chunk of our map that was gone, so that was, that was not fun, and then we had to like readjust things. But other than that it’s been pretty smooth sailing.
OS: Of course, the server has had some issues. But fixing those issues has been just another part of the process for those involved in running it.
SY: I think some of the most rewarding things that I’ve heard come out of what we’ve done is – okay, here’s the thing: The server was the lagging. And so actually what happened was a lot of people were like, “I will donate money to you to upgrade the server, because, like, I’ve met so many good friends through the server.”
OS: Aside from issues with lag, the server has also had to deal with players engaging in vandalism.
NM: In the early days, you had a lot of people from UCI and UC Berkeley come in and try to like, destroy and damage a lot of the various buildings and landscapes. So that was like one of the things that we had to keep an eye out for. So the reason why they probably came is they’re probably on the UCLA subreddit as well, because it’s not a private forum. Anyone can view it. Anyone can go on it, and so the advertisements there are visible to anyone. That’s why we had a lot of people from there come. In terms of how we knew it (was) from UCI and UCB, we can basically track where they’re connecting from, and tell that they’re from Irvine or from Berkeley. And we can see that oh, well, if they’re near there, they’re most likely that’s the school they’re going to.
OS: Nowadays, people who want to build on the server need to request edit permissions using a UCLA email address, to help minimize vandalism. But it’s not just students using the server to virtually walk UCLA’s halls. The server is widening access to the campus – or at least a facsimile of it.
NM: Probably the most interesting thing that I found cool about this was the fact that a lot of the players on the server aren’t actually UCLA students. They’re usually like UCLA prospects. We had a lot of high school students actually come in and play. And it’s cool because the Campus Recreation basically was online, sort of like a campus tour. And so we got to have, those kids got a lot of like opportunities to talk to UCLA students, got to, quote unquote, see campus, in person, since we did have that one-to-one scale.
SY: Yeah, I’ve heard that there’s a lot of really young, young guys and girls just walk around campus in there. Yeah, we have a lot of kids from Geffen Academy, but also just a bunch of random, people – 13, 12 year olds who just joined the server because they want to taste the college life or they want to, I guess, interact and see what it’s like to be a college student. And I’m just like, all power to you, man. Like this is the best thing to do for now.
OS: All things said – this model of UCLA has given students something to work on or look at, but it’s also helped give them hope for the future and cope with the current situation.
CV: Maybe it could be possible that future music majors could actually almost experience what it’s like to be in those halls. But it’s a creative outlet too, to be around them and still chat and just build the music library and stuff like that. It’s honestly a good coping mechanism for all this chaos.
Opinions on the Arts
OS: Page Two: Opinions on the Arts. While some people are picking up new hobbies or learning new skills, assistant Opinion editor EJ Panaligan has been using his free time in another way. He’s used his skills as an opinion writer to recommend TV shows, movies, songs and albums that he likes to his friends on Instagram – something he’s considered doing in one format or another for a long time. As we record this, he’s posted 43 recommendations in total. With me now to discuss his recommendations is EJ, as well as assistant Arts and Entertainment editors Paige Hua and Brooke Cuzick, who just might add some of their own.
EJ: So yeah, it’s been really exciting, putting out these recommendations on Instagram and getting some of my thoughts out there. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but with everybody stuck at home, it just felt right to share some recommendations since we all have some extra free time. And I figured that since the Arts editors normally sit at the desk right behind mine, I’d invite some of them to come on with me.
The first recommendation I put on was the song “Venice Bitch” by Lana Del Rey. To this day, I’m still not entirely sure what attracted me to this song or how it became my most listened to song of all time on Last.fm, which would be 417 scrobbles and counting, or about 2.75 days of my life, but I think I made an attempt to explain it in my recommendation. It’s a song that embodies so many different feelings for me – Lana gives an interestingly somber reflection on some of the emotional peaks of a relationship, while also acknowledging that fleeting time turns those moments into distant memories. I think the length of the song and the instrumental progression, particularly the 5:50 mark onward with its booming guitar solo, this almost orchestraic feel of just extreme maximalism, that’s all the work of Jack Antonoff who helped produce this track with Lana, and I think that part, in combination with the length of the song, really capures that theme of fleeting time extremely well, because it genuinely feels like this reflective, end-of-summer, end-of-the-good-times kind of song, and to me it’s both calming and trance-inducing in that sense. It’s easily one of my favorite songs of all time and I could go on and on about it or, as Lana would put it, “over and over, honey”. That being said, Brooke, you’re the music editor: How do you feel about it?
Brooke: I really just think the song itself is too long. I’m not even saying I don’t like it, there’s just too much of it. There are some really good songs, like “Chlorine” by Twenty One Pilots, that can take a longer-than-average song length and run with it to create multiple narratives as the song goes on, but this one doesn’t do that. As a listener, I would’ve gotten the point if it was condensed into four minutes instead of nine.
EJ: Another recommendation I had was the Hayley Williams song “Simmer.” Most know Hayley as the lead singer of Paramore, and fans know even better that Hayley has been hesitant throughout most of her career to release music away from the band. And although what she tried to avoid for the longest finally came to fruition, she’s getting the best of both worlds. Her Paramore band members Taylor York and Zac Farro have production credits all over her upcoming album “Petals for Armor,” and I think “Simmer” was such a strong starting point for her solo work. When we last heard from Hayley and the rest of Paramore in “After Laughter,” that whole ’80s pop aesthetic was in full swing, but lyrics of depression, loss of hope and hard times sharply contradicted the quirky dance-ability of that particular era of music that that album embodied. This time, the darker production matches the lyrics – “Simmer” boasting this brooding, rumbling bassline throughout as Hayley meditates on the complicated feelings surrounding anger and trying to keep it in control. This is another one of those songs that has that ability to just consume the listener like “Venice Bitch” has – it was very easy for me to just get lost in the instrumentation and Hayley’s vocals, which were pretty amazing.
Brooke: Yeah, I agree. Hayley Williams is doing exactly what artists should do when they separate and pursue solo projects. Each song she has released from her upcoming album “Petals for Armor” so far has offered incredible emotional nuance that steps just far enough away from her work in Paramore to stand on its own, but it doesn’t shock listeners to the point where they won’t want to listen.
Paige: And while I love hearing you guys pop off with music recommendations, I’m gonna pop in with some screen-friendly recs as the Theater, film and television editor. So for anyone who is more of a movie person, like me, I’ve been personally drawn to nature documentaries on Disney+ these days. After all, we can’t go out right now, so might as well pretend you can immerse yourself in nature, right?
EJ: Or, you can immerse yourself in political documentaries. Another recommendation I had was the recent Hillary Clinton documentary series that released on Hulu. As someone who’s trying to learn a bit more and immerse myself into the world of politics, I really appreciated how thorough the documentary was in detailing Hillary’s life story and her foray into the world of politics. It also chronicled some of the major events of her 2016 presidential campaign with some really intriguing behind-the-scenes footage, which I don’t think has really been shown anywhere else before, and I found that to be a really cool tool in humanizing such a prominent political figure like Clinton. Ultimately, I really enjoyed how the documentary overall didn’t lead into all the cheap drama and all the scandals that kinda plagued most of her political career. To me, this documentary just felt informative and intriguing and engaging, which is something that I think most documentaries should aim to do.
Paige: Oh, speaking of intrigue and suspense, I’ve been dabbling with unsolved murder mystery podcasts that I think you might be interested in. “Your Own Backyard” is a great one to start off with. And for anyone living in California, the podcast really brings the mystery to your own backyard. Set in San Luis Obisbo, the podcast has actually brought in new evidence to the missing persons case of Kristin Smart.
Brooke: Yeah, I love this podcast, too. It hits especially hard because I am from San Luis Obispo County, so I grew up watching it all unfold. Since I was so young, the most I remember from it was the “Missing Cal Poly Student” sign outside of my dad’s work in the Village of Arroyo Grande, so it’s great that the podcast’s host, Chris Lambert, goes into so much detail about all aspects of the investigation.
EJ: So let’s get into some of the TV shows I recommended. One of my favorite recommendations I’ve done so far was Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s “Fleabag.” I think anyone who knows anything about me knows just how much I absolutely adore this show, and a lot of that adoration is in regard to Phoebe’s incredibly sharp pen. And while her acting is no joke – like some of her facial expressions are nothing short of amazing – her capacity for joke-writing, conversation-writing and scene-building is to me, just other-wordly. And that’s the reason she’s an incredibly hot name in the industry at the moment, and that reason resides within this show and all of the heart, and all of the humor and charisma that it encompasses.
Paige: OK, I don’t have Amazon Prime Video so I have yet to hop on the “Fleabag” bandwagon. But what I do have is Hulu, and if you love Phoebe Waller-Bridge, you have got to start watching “Killing Eve.” Or, if you don’t have access to the show, feel free to keep up with the weekly recaps of the episodes we’ve been doing too on dailybruin.com. It’s a completely different vibe but Phoebe’s dark humor underlies so much of the script, and I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a female power couple?
EJ: Speaking of powerful female leads, let’s talk about “Little Women,” one of my more recent recommendations. This was one of my most anticipated films of last year because to me, Greta Gerwig quickly became a must-see director after “Lady Bird,” but this movie in particular showed off her capacity to take on a larger cast, a book adaptation and a period piece all at the same time, and handle it with absolute grace. But I know Brooke has a lot of thoughts about this one. Brooke?
Brooke: “Little Women” was probably my favorite movie from last year. Even as someone who hadn’t read the book before I saw the film, the emotional evolution of all of its characters left me thinking about it long after I left the theater – and led me to see it again the next week. It perfectly balances Jo’s grappling with her want for independence, which is unfortunately paired with her craving for companionship. I’m torn when it comes to picking my favorite part of the movie, but Jo’s monologue where she talks about how women are more than just objects for romantic affection and then ends by accepting how lonely she really feels always leaves me in tears. Between that moment and her sister Amy’s struggle of feeling like she will always be second best to Jo, “Little Women” leaves me feeling extremely self-reflective. And as the self-proclaimed Amy of my family, I felt so seen.
EJ: Yeah, just going off of what Brooke said, there’s just a lot to love about this film. I found one of the final scenes in particular, in which Jo finally gets her book published, as one of the most poignant in the film – to me it was just this kind of a cathartic resolution to the emotional peaks and valleys that the narrative journey brings the viewers on leading up to it. I think much of the film’s success was to the credit of Gerwig’s direction and screenwriting. She was able to adapt the classic Louisa May Alcott novel for the screen with a refreshing pair of eyes that ultimately made the film feel like her own. And I also recommended Gerwig’s solo-directorial debut, “Lady Bird,” which I’m sure hits close to home for Paige.
Paige: As a native of Sacramento, you know I have to stan Greta Gerwig. I was able to watch that movie in the theater that was featured in the film. But that movie also came to me during a very transitional time in my life – just as I was getting ready to leave home for college. And that, combined with how familiar the setting of the film was for me, made it hit that much harder. I think Greta Gerwig made this amazing choice to focus on something that isn’t seen much with college coming-of-age movies, which is the fact that sometimes, distance can improve the relationships we have at home. I certainly found that true for me, as I think my parents and I are the type of people to drive one another up a wall whenever we spend just a bit too much time together. Overall, “Lady Bird” is just a great movie to look back on, and other movies like it are always good tear jerkers. In fact, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” recently started streaming on Netflix, and I just watched it the minute it came out. Parts of it didn’t age as well as they could have, but it carries a great message about optimism for the future and boasts a wonderful soundtrack, which I think are two things we all need in our lives right now.
EJ: Another coming-of-age-type movie I recommended was Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut “Booksmart.” I watched this movie from the hours of 3 to 5 a.m. over winter break and I’m still in awe that I didn’t wake up my family with all of my cackling. I thought this movie shared a lot of similarities to “Lady Bird,” particularly Beanie Feldstein having prominent but similar roles in both, but Booksmart I think leans more into the comedy as opposed to “Lady Bird’s” focus on the drama and emotion of the film. And I wouldn’t even say the differences in tone are entirely distinct – I think both films do the comedy and drama combination incredibly well. You couldn’t really go wrong with either – in fact, it’d probably serve you well to do both.
EJ: One of my more recent recommendations was Taylor Swift’s “False God.” I’ve been a Taylor fan on the low for most of my life, like I definitely remember singing along to Tim McGraw when I was like 5 or 6, but only in the past two years or so did I really buy into her talent and artistic vision, because she definitely has a lot of both. “False God” was an immediate standout during my first listen of “Lover” – to me, it was just so sonically different from any other Taylor song I’ve heard before. The sensuality and maturity in her tone carries this incredibly smooth production combination of atmospheric synths, a slow-tempo beat and some well-placed saxophone moments. This song showed me that Taylor has an incredible amount of potential with this sensual, synth-R&B-atmospheric pop sound, whatever you want to call it, and she needs to continue pushing this sound in the future, because she has a lot of potential at it.
Paige: I definitely think “False God” is one of the best songs on Taylor’s new album. But, personally, I love diving into her old sounds with “Speak Now” and “Red,” even more. Those are two of her best albums in my opinion, and it doesn’t hurt to return to some nostalgia in these uncertain times. God knows I’ve been listening to my fair share of One Direction again, and, honestly, the choice couldn’t have come at a better time. My 12-year-old self is screaming at the rumors that they’re getting back together for their 10-year anniversary. Of course, it all still seems quite up in the air, but for anyone who loved the boys as much as I did, SiriusXM Hits 1’s Twitter account is popping off with their daily tea caps for this rumored One Direction reunion, and it’s a wonderful way to cure some boredom.
Brooke: Yeah, I’m definitely excited about One Direction’s possible comeback too, but kind of getting back to Taylor Swift. She’s one of those artists that I’ve loved since childhood, so obviously I loved “Lover,” but “False God” is probably the track I skip the most. I can definitely appreciate it’s diversion from Taylor’s usual sound and I like the horns that are featured on it, but its place on the track list between “Soon You’ll Get Better” and “You Need to Calm Down” feels thematically jarring. After I listen to a song about her mother, I definitely don’t want to listen to a sensual song about her and her boyfriend. There’s definitely a place for it on the album but she could have set it somewhere it would have continued the album’s story more smoothly. There are albums like “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” by The 1975 that balance this really well, where every song tonally and sonically bleeds into the next; “False God” stops “Lover” from achieving the same thing.
EJ: Alrighty then, Omar is letting me know that our time is almost up, so for my last recommendation I wanted to talk about King Princess’ 2019 album “Cheap Queen.” I think to me she’s really this particularly exciting new artist in pop music, and she showed throughout this album that she can take on a wealth of different sounds and leave her mark on them incredibly well. And it’s not as if she’s trying to have a sampler taste of all these sounds either, there’s a lot of depth and evident effort put into embodying them. Whether it’s the synth-laden, anthemic “Tough on Myself,” or the infectiously disco “Hit The Back,” I think King Princess has firmly entrenched herself as a new artist to keep an eye on moving forward.
Paige: I’m a huge fan of King Princess too, but, honestly, what’s most surprising to me is that I feel like she seems to be part of a large trend toward soft, chill soulful indie music. For me she’s a blend of Rex Orange County and Oh Wonder, two artists that really epitomize that sort of cool, not-so-hidden, small artist music vibe people seem to be gravitating toward these days.
Brooke: Yeah, I can’t say that I listen to a lot of soft, chill music, but what I can say is that the band Waterparks has that same authentic, rising musician feel to it. I feel like the music industry has definitely been moving for a while in a direction where it feels trendy to listen to artists with a smaller following. I definitely play into that, and I’m glad I found Waterparks before the band became too mainstream.
EJ: Alright y’all. So listen, I really loved talking and hearing about all these songs and albums, different films and shows that we all admire for one reason or another. And I even the disagreements were fun. That’s kind of been my favorite part of sharing these recommendations on Instagram – I’ve been getting a lot of DMs in response to my stories, and I’ve been having little short discussions with people about whatever I recommended that day. And to me, that’s the best part of doing this, to kinda like facilitate discussion about art that we love, art that we admire, and just hearing out the different reasons why we love what we love. And to me, especially during a time like this, I think it was really important to, for me to at least think critically about the things that I love and have that kind of discussion with others, even with people I haven’t really heard from that often. So that was really nice. I really appreciated hearing some of your recs, it was incredibly fun to be part of Arts for a short while. Thanks, you two!
OS: Yeah, it’s been great to hear what you all have to say. Thanks everyone!
Daily Bruin says bon appetit
Omar Said: Page Three: Daily Bruin says bon appetit. With people spending more and more time at home, Americans everywhere have taken up new experiments in cooking, be it working with starters and baking sourdough, learning basic cooking skills or trying new recipes. Staffers at the Daily Bruin aren’t immune – which has given rise to a new channel in our Slack workspace: DB Bon Appetit. It’s given us a chance to share recipes and talk about our luck trying them out. With me today is Quad editor Molly Wright, who’s going to bring us some recipes that she and other members of DB Bon Appetit cooked up at home.
Molly Wright: Full disclosure, I started the DB Bon Appetit channel. I’m a big fan of cooking and of the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen on YouTube, so I was looking for a way to share that with everyone at the office. It’s been a big hit, and we’re all eager to share our recipes with you. Now, obviously, we’re all amateurs, but we had a lot of fun with this and it all turned out pretty well. Our first recipe comes from Kimia Azad, a Daily Bruin Quad contributor. Kimia is one of the most enthusiastic members of DB Bon Appetit, and she’s excited to share her take on pasta with arrabiata sauce.
Kimia Azad: Hi everyone, my name is Kimia, I’m a contributor at Daily Bruin’s The Quad, and today I will be sharing with you guys my recipe for pasta with arrabiata sauce and a lemon drizzle.
Arrabiata sauce is a spicy sauce made from garlic, tomatoes and dried red chili peppers, cooked in olive oil. I’m a big fan of spicy, but the amount of red chili peppers you add to your sauce is totally up to you.
The sauce calls for garlic, tomatoes and dried red chili peppers. My spicy flavor is coming from powdered red chili pepper, and I’m substituting tomatoes for a canned tomato basil sauce. You can also use traditional Italian sauce or tomato sauce. Any pasta will do.
I’m going to boil water in a pot, adding a dash of salt. Make sure to leave the pot uncovered.
Now that I am waiting for my water to boil, I can get started on my sauce. On medium heat, add a dash of oil to a separate pot. Once the oil has heated up, I will add 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, making sure to stir.
My garlic has been heating up and sizzling for a minute now, so I’m going to add my seasonings. First, lower the heat of your pan. I’m adding around a teaspoon of powdered red chili pepper to the pan. I’m then sprinkling salt and pepper into my sauce.
After I add the seasonings to my sauce pot, I will add 3 cups of canned tomato basil sauce to the pot. Keep your sauce on a low heat and stir.
My water is now boiling, so I’m adding six servings of rotini pasta to my water. Make sure to mix your pasta around so it doesn’t stick to the pan. As my pasta cooks, I’m going to check up on my sauce. Make sure to stir your sauce around as it heats up. Give your sauce a quick taste, add whatever you want. I’m grinding up some more salt and pepper into my sauce.
It’s now time to make the lemon drizzle. The lemon drizzle is totally optional, but I feel as though it helps lift the sauce and add flavor. The drizzle calls for lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil. I am juicing two lemons and mixing the juice to a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper into a sauceboat. And that’s it for the drizzle, it’s really easy to make.
My pasta has been cooking for nine minutes now, it tastes done, so I’m turning off the stove. Get a pair of tongs, and transfer your pasta into the saucepot. Naturally, some water will follow your pasta into the saucepot. The added pasta water will then help thicken your sauce. Keep your pot at a low heat, and continue mixing. Once your sauce and pasta are well incorporated, you’re ready to serve. Add salt, pepper, parmesan or basil for garnish.
My pasta is done, and it’s pretty fresh and warm, and I’m excited to eat it. Don’t forget to add a splash of your lemon drizzle for flavor.
MW: Up next is Andrew Warner, who was last year’s Quad editor. He’s vegan and he knows a lot about how to combine different ingredients to make food that’s vegan and delicious. Here he is making a chickpea potato matzah stacker.
Andrew Warner: Hi, my name is Andrew Warner and I am a Daily Bruin senior staffer, and today I will be just going through the pantry at my parents’ house and seeing what we’ve got in the kitchen, seeing what I can cook and trying to figure out how to make a coherent dish out of it.
I’m thinking what I can do is make a chickpea potato matzah stacker. I have a lot of matzah, which I think is probably going to go bad so I’m going to try to use that. I have a lot of herbs. I have garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, whatever you want to call them. I think I’m going to use those. Just a can of chickpeas and then I have some lemons, I have some potatoes. I’m thinking what I can do is do, maybe do like an herb vinaigrette-type thing with the lemons and the herbs, so I have chives, oregano and mint. And I was thinking I could do like a, I have some olive oil, too. So I was going to do like a, like a dressing with those, and then kind of roast the potatoes with maybe some dill and salt and pepper.
And then do this thing that I’ve been wanting to try with garbanzo beans. I saw a guy on YouTube. I don’t remember his name. I don’t even remember the video, but he made these fried garbanzo beans with garlic and spices that looked really good. So I think I’m going to do that and see if I can do it with the matzah. I think I’m going to try to do like a, like a stacker kind of like the flatbread stackers at B-Plate, and kind of toast the matzah a little bit and then stack everything on top of it and then pour the dressing over it.
So yeah, let’s, let’s get started. So the first thing I’m going to do is the potato, because that’s going to take the longest to cook I think, since the garbanzo beans are already cooked, since they’re in the can. So I just have a Yukon Gold potato, so I’m just going to slice that. I scrubbed it and cleaned it. And then I’m going to toss it with some olive oil and I have an oven preheating to 425 F, just because I think that’s a good temperature to roast vegetables. It’s what I always use. Yeah. So I’m going to cut it into bite-size cubes. Because I think that’s like a good size. It will kind of complement the size of the garbanzo beans and they’ll cook faster, which is, that’s really what I want. I don’t want to have to wait for an hour for this potato to cook.
OK, so I, the fresh herbs that I have are chives, mint and oregano, but I also have some dried dill and I think dill goes really well with potatoes and it goes really well with lemons, so I’m also going to use that. So this is just like a pinch of dill, a pinch of salt and like a half a tablespoon of olive oil, and one medium-size Yukon Gold potato. This is not like a big potato. So I have the potato and the dill and stuff. I have it on a baking sheet, I’m going to put it in the oven. I think I’m going to roast them for about 20 minutes, maybe 25. We’ll see how things look. But I’m going to set the timer for 20 minutes.
And now I’m going to do the garbanzo beans. So this should be pretty simple. I basically, the, I’m opening the can right now. The video that I saw this guy, he took the can of chickpeas, he rinsed them and then he basically just toasted them in olive oil for a little bit, and so I’m just going to fry or like toast the chickpeas on their own and maybe add some salt and pepper and some paprika maybe. But we’ll see. Let me rinse them first.
OK, and I also have three cloves of garlic that I’m going to add in while I toast the, the chickpeas. When, this is something that happens a lot with garlic, is if you cook it too hot or too much oil or if it’s too fine, it burns really fast and it gets bitter and it’s not very good. What I do, and this helps, is I don’t, I don’t chop the garlic, I don’t, I don’t slice it or do anything like that. I just crush it with a knife to peel it and then I crush it more times with the knife, so it stays in pretty big chunks of garlic so it doesn’t burn as fast. It kind of softens up and it gets a little creamy, like when you roast garlic almost, but you’re frying it now. So that’s what I’m going to do here. I’m just going to crush it up with a knife a couple times.
OK, so I have a nice large nonstick pan. I’m going to add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil here, and then I’m going to add in the garlic and start to heat it from the cold oil so that kind of, the garlic kind of steeps into the oil and it kind of infuses it with a nice garlic flavor. So I’m going to do that right now. I’m going to turn it up to, I’d say a medium high heat, so it doesn’t burn.
All right. And then while it’s heating, I will grab the chickpeas and let it get warm.
OK, so the oil is getting hot, I’m going to toss in the chickpeas. And then while I, while that was happening, I grabbed some paprika, some ground coriander and some cayenne pepper and then I’m also going to add some cumin to this and let the chickpeas and garlic kind of do their thing right now. And then I’ll add in the seasonings in just a bit.
Alright, so I’m going to do a half teaspoon of coriander and a half teaspoon of paprika, and a full tablespoon of cumin because I think that’s a really good flavor to go with chickpeas, and then I’m going to add just like a really small pinch of cayenne pepper, because I don’t want it to be spicy but I want it to have a little kick, like a very tiny kick.
OK, so the chickpeas are starting to get a little bit crispy, so I’m going to add in the spices now. The garlic is not burning, and these have been going on medium high heat for about five minutes now. So if I had used a garlic press, I think these probably would have just been burnt to a crisp by now. So I also forgot, I’m going to add a little bit of salt, just to taste. I like my food on the saltier side, generally. I think everybody likes salty food, but I like my food to be especially salty, yeah. OK, so while the chickpeas are going, I’m going to make a quick lemon herb vinaigrette with what herbs I have. And that should be really quick. So I’m just going to chop those up right now and then juice the lemon.
OK, so I just finished chopping up the herbs. I have about half a cup total of finely chopped herbs. You can really use like whatever you have for this, I think. I have, like I said, I have mint, oregano and chives. And I just kind of use them in equal parts. There might be a little more mint, because I like mint more. So yeah, I’m going to add the juice of two lemons – oh, the potatoes are ready. So I’m going to add the juice of two lemons and some olive oil to the herbs and that’ll be kind of like a vinaigrette.
OK, so the potatoes and the chickpeas are all done. I’m just going to add some oil to this vinaigrette, which right now is just lemon juice and herbs. And then I’m going to whisk that all together and then stack it all on top of the matzah, and I think we should be good to go.
Yeah, the potatoes taste really good, the chickpeas taste good and I’m sure the vinaigrette’s going to taste good. So it should be a really good meal, a really nice dinner.
All right, so I’m just going to take one matzah, one square matzah, and these are pretty decent sized. Yeah, they’re square. And then I’m going to, first I’m going to add the potatoes, I think. Then I’m just going to add some of those chickpeas and then drizzle over a little bit of vinaigrette, and it should be ready to eat. The chickpeas did actually get fairly crispy, by the way. I was kind of surprised. Not as crispy as they would in the oven. But they’re like – they have a very good texture that I appreciate because they’re crispy, but they’re still a little creamy inside, which is perfect. Now I’m going to pour over some of this dressing, and then it’s ready to eat. I don’t want to add too much of this vinaigrette, because I think if I do, it’s going to get, it’s going to get to the matzah, and the matzah is going to get soggy and gooey, which I don’t really want, so I’m just going to add a very thin application of this dressing and try to get a little bit more herbs than I do get actual vinaigrette.
Alright, now time to taste it. Matzah is holding up better than I thought it would, and it’s very delicious. That’s delicious. Truly, truly impeccable. No, but it’s really tasty. The chickpeas are really good, the matzah is good, the potatoes are good. Everything is nice. If I had more time. I would have toasted the matzah maybe. But other than that, this is a really good meal. A nice, quick dinner. And yeah, everything tastes really good. It looks pretty, and yeah: Yeah. This is a nice chickpea potato matzah stacker.
MW: So funnily enough, our next recipe comes from me. Like I said, I’m really into cooking. I decided to make a recipe my family has been using for a long time: chicken tikka masala. We all love Indian food, but I think British-Indian food is a close second, too. Here goes.
MW: Hi, I’m Molly Wright, the Blogging editor for the Daily Bruin, and I am making my family’s version of chicken tikka masala today. It’s just my family’s adaptation of a recipe my mom found on Pinterest, and we’ve been making it ever since.
Step one: Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces and put them in the pan
Next, marinate the 1-inch pieces with 2% Greek yogurt, garam masala spice, fresh lemon juice, black pepper and ground ginger.
Move on to a tomato base sauce. In this sauce, we include minced garlic, julienned red peppers, heavy cream, chickpeas and 1 tablespoon each of cayenne pepper, garam masala spice, paprika and turmeric.
After marinating the chicken for about 30 minutes or more, add the tomato base sauce to the marinated chicken, where we simmer on low for up to four hours on the stovetop.
After simmering on low for at least two hours, we prepare a box of jasmine rice according to the package instructions.
Finally, take the chicken off the stovetop, serve it with the jasmine rice and there you go.
MW: Finally, here’s Kristin Snyder, the Daily Bruin Arts editor. She decided to take on dessert and bake lemon sugar cookies. Let’s see if she’s up to the task.
Kristin Snyder: Hi, I’m Kristin Snyder, the Daily Bruin’s Arts editor, and today, we’re making Bon Appetit’s lemon sugar cookies.
For the cookie itself, you’ll need 3/4 cup of sugar, half a cup, or 1 stick, of unsalted butter at room temperature, one large egg, 2 tablespoons of finely grated lemon peel, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour. For the optional icing, I’m pulling from Bon Appetit’s lemony slice-and-bakes recipe, which calls for 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
First, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and then you’ll want to combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl using an electric mixer.
And once all of those are well-combined, you’ll beat in the flour.
Afterward, you’re going to want your dough to be firm but not overly hard, so you’ll want to chill it for what the recipe calls for two hours – personally, it only took about 30 minutes to reach that state.
Once your dough is chilled, you’ll take about 1 tablespoon at a time and shape it into balls, and you’ll place them about 2 inches apart. And then you’ll take a glass or a measuring cup and you’ll flatten each of the cookies until they’re about 2 inches round. And then you will bake them for roughly 14 minutes. You’ll know they’re done once the bottoms are golden brown, and you’ll take them out to cool.
As your cookies are cooling, you can start working on the icing, which is pretty simple. All you have to do is whisk the powdered sugar and the lemon juice in a small bowl. If you find that the mixture is too thick, all you have to do is add in a bit more lemon juice. Typically by half teaspoons, but you can add more if you would like – that will make sure that the mixture loosens up a bit – and you can also add in food coloring if you so desire.
Now for the taste test: Overall, the cookie itself isn’t too lemony which is why I think the icing does a really good job of adding that extra pizazz that elevates it from being a pretty typical sugar cookie. It’s fairly sweet, it makes for like a fun treat once in a while, but you wouldn’t want to eat more than one or two at a time.
OS: Thanks, Molly. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for those recipes.
Checking in with the family
Omar Said: Page Four: Checking in with the family. Online instruction is tough – but so is working from home for people who are doing it for the first time. To try and get a better look at what work from home looks like, I asked Jacqueline Alvarez, the Daily Bruin’s alumni director, to reach out and see what alumni were doing with their free time. Here’s what they sent in.
Keshav Tadimeti: Hi, this is Keshav Tadimeti, the 2017-2019 Daily Bruin Opinion editor, and one of the 2016-2017 Daily Bruin assistant Opinion editors. I work for Microsoft to protect people’s security and information, which I hear is important these days. Currently I’m holed up in Kirkland, Washington, which is a suburban, residential-ish neighborhood in eastern Seattle. It was the original outbreak site for the coronavirus, so yay, but more interestingly, it is the birthplace of Costco, which is in high demand these days for unspoken reasons. Currently, I’m smashing my work laptop keyboard in an attempt to feel like I’m actually doing work, when really I’m just wondering what I’m doing most of the time. Don’t tell my boss I said that. Stay safe everyone, and wear masks please, and social distance too – I hear that’s helpful.
Jennifer Hu: My name is Jennifer Hu, and I was a photojournalist with Daily Bruin from 2014 to 2017, covering Arts and Entertainment and News. I graduated in 2017, and I currently work for Ladder Up, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago, Illinois, that provides free financial services to low-income families and individuals. I’m currently working from home In Gilbert, Arizona, a suburb outside of Phoenix. In my free time, I’m reading a book about the trial of the century – the OJ Simpson case, that interestingly took place in Los Angeles. I also finished reading “Pachinko,” which was a New York Times best seller by Min Jin Lee. All this time on my hands has suddenly made me a prolific reader. I’ve been working on my photography blog, and taking ballet classes virtually, while discovering new TV shows and rewatching old favorites, such as “Community” – which is now on Netflix – “New Girl” and “Schitt’s Creek”. And like you, I’m aimlessly scrolling on Facebook, even though there hasn’t been anything new to see on there since 2015, probably. But honestly, I’m enjoying the sunshine and the mild weather here before it becomes an inferno, and constantly wondering when they’ll lift the stay at home in Illinois. The dates keep shifting, as does the data, and there’s so much uncertainty surrounding it all. But until then, I’m relying on true crime biographies and comedy shows to keep me sane.
Jeong Park: Hi, I’m Jeong Park. I was the managing editor for Daily Bruin 2015-2016, assistant News editor 2014-2015 and a senior staff 2016-2017. Now I work at a local newspaper for the Orange County Register, out of Anaheim. But right now, I’m in my home in Long Beach, California, about seven blocks from the ocean, so I’m getting a nice breeze here. What I do right now in my free time? Not so much productive stuff. Playing a lot of Civ-V, which is a phenomenal video game, but also a huge time suck. Lot of doom-scrolling on twitter, trying to find the latest news that’s going to make me depressed or upset or mad or whatever it is. Watching some Korean variety shows and sitcoms and catching up on some things that I missed. Lot of just scrolling Facebook which is not productive at all. I pretend that it’s for work, but it is really not for work, it is just a way to kill time. I do try to get some fresh air. I mean I go outside, take walks a couple times a day. I drive around to random places once a week. I went to Hemmet last week, and I went to – where did I go to – I think I went to Malibu the week before – just as a way to kill time. I don’t go outside my car – i just get in my car, put on my gas pedal, drive and come back. It’s (a) waste of money, but also it’s kind of fun, and it’s good to get some outside breeze once in a while. But, you know stay safe, really okay, I hope. And yeah, hoping things go okay.
Ani Gasparyan: Hello, I’m Ani Gasparyan, I graduated from UCLA in 2019. I was an assistant Opinion editor and editorial board member at the Daily Bruin from 2018 to 2019, and an Opinion columnist the year prior. I currently work as a news reporter at Beverly Hills Weekly, where I cover Beverly Hills, Beverlywood and Los Angeles. During quarantine, I’m actually still going to work since newspapers have been labeled essential and we’re a small office. My commute has improved though, since it used to take me two hours to get to work and now it takes less than 40 minutes. At work, I’ve been writing lots of articles on the virus, for instance how small businesses have been impacted by mandatory closures and how the pandemic is affecting the school district. Things were slow at first since a lot of city activities were understandably canceled, but now a lot of groups have started live-streaming their virtual meetings and finding ways to continue their business amid the pandemic. Other than work, though, I’ve been spending more time with family when I’m home, catching up with friends and watching TV shows.
Rupan Bharanidaran: Hi, my name is Rupan Bharanidaran. I was the News editor at the Daily Bruin during the 2017 to 2018 academic year. Like most Americans, and really most people around the world, I’m working from home. I work for an accounting firm doing tax returns and other tax-related work, and I’m lucky enough that I can do my work virtually. I don’t have to go out and go to an office or go to a store or anything like that. I can do anything I need to do from my computer at home, so I’m lucky enough for that. But you know, it’s not easy of course, being socially distant, but I guess we don’t really have much of a choice. I spend more time now with my family. I live with my parents, so I hang out with them, watch Netflix. I do yoga with them, so that’s one, I guess, positive of staying at home all the time. But other than that, I don’t have much going on with my life. I’m just, taking it one day at a time and hunkering down and hoping for the best and hoping that this situation doesn’t last too long, and hopefully if we all comply with the social distancing guidelines this won’t last much longer. Anyway, keep staying at home and keep maintaining social distancing, and thank you.
Sara Randazzo: Hi, I’m Sara Randazzo. I’m a 2008 graduate. I wrote for the Arts and Entertainment and Sports sections and was a copy editor back at the Bruin. Quarantine life has been interesting for me because I had a baby in January, and so I’ve been on maternity leave this entire time. And so, in a lot of ways, the start of quarantine felt like the beginning of maternity leave: Real clothes were optional, it was hard to get out of the house every day or accomplish much because of having a newborn around. So, in a way, I feel very lucky because I’ve just been able to play with my baby, who’s now three-months old, and fully devote my time to him while being at home. And it’s even been a little bit nicer because now my husband is home working from the kitchen table and so he can see our son whenever he wants instead of being stuck on a train for an hour and a half coming home from Culver City, which is what he’d been doing before. So, I’m trying to, you know, count ourselves lucky and be grateful. I know that a lot of people have it a lot worse than we do. So for me, quarantine life equals baby life, and I’m enjoying it for now. Good luck everyone.
OS: That’s our show. We’ll be back again soon with another episode of “The Online Edition.” You can find “The Online Edition” wherever podcasts are found – including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Pocketcasts.
OS: Less than two weeks ago, the Daily Bruin and 29 other student newspapers were a part of Support Student Journalism Day on Saturday, April 25th. Students at the Daily Bruin do a lot of hard work – dedicating hours of their lives to learning things about UCLA, Westwood and Los Angeles that most people have never heard of. While the new status quo has not been easy for anyone, we’re dedicated to making sure you stay informed every step of the way. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider donating to the Daily Bruin at dailybruin.com/donate. Anything helps – even a few dollars. And if you can’t, share this episode with your friends and family to support our work by sharing our work. Thanks. Stay safe everyone.
OS: “The Online Edition” was produced and edited this week by me, Omar Said. This week’s episode was fact-checked by Saskia Lane, Anita Narkhede and Sara Hubbard. Thanks to my co-hosts: EJ Panaligan, Paige Hua, Brooke Cuzick and Molly Wright. Special thanks this week to our alumni: Rupan Bharanidaran, Jennifer Hu, Jeong Park, Keshav Tadimeti, Ani Gasparyan and Sara Randazzo. “The Online Edition” is a Daily Bruin Podcasts production.