Sunday, March 27, 2016

Classic Disney

My childhood was a childhood of classic Disney cassettes. I wonder how many of the kids of this era remember what a cassette was, a box of plastic housing black tapes that contained a movie that ran on your television. Kind of like a DVD, yes. (What do you mean you don't know what a DVD is?!) So I thought I'd share with you guys not my favorite movies, but my favorite music tracks from the entire collection. Without further ado, I present Kanra's Collection of Classic Disney.


These are only a couple that I like. I might share more in the future but these are my favorites for now.


Listen to this carefully and tell me you didn't shiver at least once!
While I admit that the movie itself might be a little controversial due to the romanticist twist given to the history of colonization of the Americas, it could be overlooked if you see it as just a story and not a historical retelling. The face of Disney has become focused more on beautiful animation rather than beautiful story. While Frozen can be, simply put, reduced to "Let it Go", Pocahauntas cannot be so easily summed up. Just this music piece is more meaningful than Let it Go, so if you haven't seen this movie, you should definitely give it a go.
Another favorite from this movie must be Savages- the song with catchy choruses that had a little Kanra shrieking "savages!!" along with the characters. :P



Lion King was just my favorite out of all of them. First of all, tons of animals that were much more realistic than those of Madagascar (which, if you think about it, are actually pretty creepy) and boy, do kids love animals. What's even nicer about this song is about how all the animals are shown in their little family set ups. I used to find it really cute and I still do. 
Another piece from the same film "Not One of Us" comes to a close second. It's got catchy lyrics (DECEPTION an outrage DISGRACE. EVIL AS PLAIN AS THE SCAR ON HIS FACE) but it's not as meaningful as the one I've already mentioned, although it is an antithesis to "We are One" with the lines of 'you are not one of us'.


Actually on second thought, the entire Lion King is filled great music. Another one of my absolute favorites is "Lullaby". You'd think it would be nice and soothing and the thing is, it IS soothing- with violent imagery- "A melody of angry roars. A counterpoint of painful howls. A symphony of death, oh my! That's my lullaby!"
If there was ever a perfect villain song, this would be it.
Time to move on the next film!



I don't care what anyone says, this is such a great song. Everyone knows the chorus- it's literally a meme of the internet! What I liked best about this whole part was how Mulan initially was really bad at all the things that were expected of her but she kept on trying until she got her break through, letting her get on an even playing field and start outshining the other soldiers. That's really motivating- even if you're not doing so good just yet, keep trying. You'll get there very soon!
Here's a pretty good hindi version I found of the song.


This is just literally the saddest song. The absolute saddest. 
No other words.
"Little one, when you play don't you mind what they say
 let those eyes sparkle and shine, never a tear, baby of mine"


Now The Hunchback of Notre Dame was not part of my childhood (I think I watched it when I was like around 14 or something). I came across it again and I have to say, I really really like it, especially how it's showing contrasts- very true contrasts! A lot of people just end up praying for very material things while Esmeralda is praying for people less fortunate than her. Again, it sounds nice and is meaningful. 

These were some of my favorite pieces from Classic Disney. What is your favorite movie? Favorite song? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What I Think About Veganism

While I am somewhat familiar with the terms of vegans and veganism, it can be said that I am not the most educated person out there when it comes to this concept. I'd thought veganism was a pretty neat kind of lifestyle when it came to eating- not the most healthiest perhaps, but definitely one that showed strong will to your cause. I didn't really think much about it after that but I've had to this past week. Here's what I've learned about Veganism.

Before I begin, I just want to add a disclaimer. If you are a vegan because you love nature, if you are a vegan because you are against animal cruelty, if you are a vegan because you are against genetically modified animals or unhygienic meat handling, if you are a vegan because of your religion, then I fully support you in your endeavors. I am really proud of anyone and everyone who is staunch enough in their religion, beliefs and ideals to abandon the consumption of meat. The only kind of vegan I might not support as much would be the person who is a vegan because they think meat and animal products are biologically harmful to their bodies.


Let's start off with a simple definition. According to the Vegan Society,

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

By this definition, veganism is basically a lifestyle aimed at boycotting any activity that involves animal exploitation and cruelty, which includes food products like milk and cheese, material products like leather and hairs, as well as labor products, like tilling the soil or preparing the field for crops. I think I will assume that veganism is fine with using cattle manure for fertilizing crops, while having a cattle herd itself might be something against the principles. How one can work without the other, I'm not exactly sure.

Veganism mainly involves looking for alternatives to animal based products, mostly through plant based products. Honey is considered an animal based product and is against vegan principles, maple syrup on the other hand, is the vegan way to go. Veganism also centers on being environmentally friendly, mostly by boycotting products instead of actively raising concern for environmental issues, or improving the environment on their own by planting more trees and flowers. Another issue that I would like to highlight is that veganism centers around the developed first world countries where the meat industry truly is quite filthy and where a wide variety of alternatives can be found to easily adapt to a vegan lifestyle.

From this point of view, I can fully support veganism. Boycotting animal products in an effort to improve the quality of life for animals is a just cause. However, as mentioned before, such a fighting cause is often found in the developed first world where cattle are sucked dry for milk, meat and leather, fed genetically modified food, perhaps given steroids, packed in cramped conditions and killed in a variety of violent ways.

I am not a vegan because my religion has considered all of these problems, 1400 years prior to today. There is a verse in the Quran which differentiates between lawful and unlawful meat. I will highlight the vegan related commandments.
"Forbidden for you are carrion, blood and pork, and what has been dedicated to other than Allah, and animals which have been strangled, and animals which have been killed by a blow, and animals which have fallen to their death, and animals which have been gored, and animals which wild beasts have eaten–except those you are able to slaughter properly–and animals which have been sacrificed on altars, and deciding things by means of divining arrows–that is deviance. Today those who disbelieve have despaired of overcoming your religion. So do not be afraid of them but be afraid of Me. Today I have perfected your religion for you and completed My blessing upon you and I am pleased with Islam as a religion for you. But if anyone is forced by hunger, not intending any wrongdoing, Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur'an 5:3)
So according to this, any animal that has been killed in a violent fashion is automatically 'haram' or unlawful and cannot be consumed by a Muslim unless threatened by hunger and starvation. Another thing I want to highlight is that any animal that has been slaughtered in the name of anyone besides Allah is haram. So our Creator gives us permission to consume animals for sustenance, so long as we treat them with kindness and we slaughter them in His name. There's clearly no room for any sort of veganism here, so this is one major reason why I would never be a vegan.

I've covered the religious reason for why I'm not vegan and why I don't promote veganism. I'd like to clarify that there is a difference between supporting a vegan and promoting veganism. Supporting a vegan is a passive role, you are letting them do what they want and you let them know that you're 100% OK with it. Promoting veganism means discussing the pros and why you should be vegan- it is an active role.

Speaking of which, there are several myths used in an effort to scare people into becoming vegans. It's one thing to scare people by showing them the legitimate meat industry- it's totally another ballgame if you twist science and biology to serve your ultimate purpose of proving that humans were not 'designed' to consume meat. You can find a well written discussion disproving these myths here on AuthorityNutrition.com.

There are several websites out there that end up spewing more opinions than facts in an effort to promote veganism. Here's an example. The writer of this page explains that a vegan diet is what makes you healthy and strong, as opposed to meat. Their proof? Cows, rhinos and elephants are all sturdy and strong animals because they eat only herbs as opposed to chickens and vultures, which look "scrawny and unhealthy", because they will eat just about anything. Does this even sound like scientific facts to you? Like, I'm not even going to bother explaining that these are all completely different animals. You cannot attribute just diet to their differences in features! Cows, rhinos and elephants are mammals while chickens and vultures are birds- I think that is a much bigger reason for difference in physique than their diet! Clearly, this article has been written by drawing poor conclusions in an effort to support their opinions.

The biggest myth of all must be "humans were always herbivores". People who ruthlessly promote veganism have gone as far as to draft similarities between humans and herbivores. I would like to say that while our anatomy may align with herbivores more than omnivores or carnivores (in regards to sweat pores, jaws and teeth, claws, length of digestive system), I'd also like to add that while herbivores can consume plants whole, we can't. Humans cannot digest cellulose, which makes up most plants. While cellulose is an essential part of our diet for preventing constipation by providing dietary roughage, it is in no way broken down and absorbed into our blood for energy, as opposed to cows, who by the way, have more than one stomach and constantly bring their food back up to chew again and again. Humans have characteristics common to carnivores and herbivores- as a result we are omnivores, able to consume both herbs and flesh. Of course we aren't carnivorous in the true animal-like way since we cook meat instead of eating it raw but it's still meat you know?

I would also continue by explaining the health benefits of meat, but that is something I have yet to study. It is a topic I will be covering with the Gastrointestinal System module I'll be having in a few months.

So what are your thoughts on veganism?

Friday, March 18, 2016

My Camera Carl




Hello everyone! In this post you will realize how spammy I am on snapchat and you will also realize exactly why I delete snapchat whenever my college kicks up again! I create the most ridiculous stories and waste quite a bit of time! Anyway,  that's not the story for today! The story for today is about my camera.

As you can see, it's a really old camera- 8.1 megapixels is something you see on an average phone, cameras are meant to be much better. So why is this camera out here in 2016 when it apparently belongs to the era of 2007? It's because its old that no one has tried to throw it out yet (that and, everyone is busy using their phone's camera instead). I've had it with me for at least five years, the last two had the camera stuffed in my closet, untouched. I took it out just last week since I've been noticing for quite a few months that the camera lens of my iPhone has some sort of defect in it that can be found on almost every single picture taken.



For a photography-enthusiast like me, it wasn't long before I got extremely annoyed, especially when it came to taking pictures with a white background, causing it to become even more glaringly obvious. I found myself rejecting a lot of perfectly good photos- I couldn't possibly use them on the blog! A replacement had to be found! At first I was thinking about getting a new phone but that doesn't seem to be happening any time soon so I decided to make do with what I already had. Carl the camera was 8.1 megapixels, not much of a loss compared to the iPhone and it could work perfectly with taking pictures of my projects and art- things that would have a white background. Of course that doesn't mean my iPhone is out of business!



And here you can see how creative I get, giving my electronic devices names and crafting a story for them...

Another reason why I think using Carl the Camera would be easy is that the camera has it's own cable for connecting to the laptop. Meanwhile, I've broken my iPhone cable and now depend on iCloud to sync my pictures since the iPhone is really picky about what kind of cable it is attached to. Hopefully this would solve my syncing stress- it was a terrible hassle to take pictures then wait eagerly for it to upload to iCloud, then wait for iCloud to update on my laptop and then download it from there. 

Do you nitpick when it comes to photography and camera devices? Would you rather use a phone camera or a digital camera? What would you advise me to do- buy a phone or a camera? (Not that we're getting rid of Carl the Camera D: but just for discussion!)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cooking Adventures: Who Ate All The Custard?


Before I jump in, I just want to let you guys know that I am not a fan of cooking. I have this irrational fear that everything I make will have an extra tablespoon of salt or be under cooked or perhaps burnt and the most terrifying bit about that is that I'd probably have to eat my own cooking mess and so that's why, I don't really like to cook, or bake for that matter.

So I had had a week off for spring break from med school and at first, my father said "cook lunch every day" and I was flabbergasted at the Herculean task assigned to me. Fortunately, I always ended with somehow smuggling through the deadlines and having something else to show for it- some crochet, some painting, some fruit salad and other easier things. Of course, you can't run away forever and my mother suggested that I could make some custard and that it would be really easy for me to do. Here is my Custard Adventure!

Here are your necessary ingredients (weapons of battle):
3 cups of milk
7 tablespoons of sugar
6 tablespoons of custard powder
3-4 slices of bread cake
1 apple, banana and other fruits of your choice
Jelly powder, your choice of quantity

First off, boil the milk. Add the sugar and keep stirring. Taste to check if it is super sweet because that's what we're aiming for.

Add custard powder to half a cup of cold water and stir until you get a consistent thick liquid. Pour this liquid into the boiling milk in a thin stream while stirring the milk. We don't want to pour in too much and get thick glob of custard in the milk.

In your desired dish, line the bottom with slices of bread cake and pour just enough custard mixture to cover the slices.

Let the rest of the mixture remain in the pot and cool while you cut your apples, bananas and other fruits into small slices.

Add these slices to the custard dish.

Pour the rest of the cooled mixture on top of the sliced fruits.

For topping the custard, you can make jelly. Just follow the instructions on the box. I had two different types of jelly, both of which were half packets so I poured both jelly crystals into a cup of boiling water, stirred until the crystals were gone and poured it into a mold to cool.

The jelly crystals I used were green (banana) and red (strawberry). The resulting jelly was a deep reddish brown and tasted just great with the custard!

I was done with all the stove business, I placed all the results on the table so it could cool down- the custard was still hot and the jelly was still liquid. Putting it in the fridge is an idea too but placing such hot things directly in could end up spoiling the other inhabitants of the refrigerator.

I poured the jelly into deep plates because I was going to just cut the jelly into slices and cover the top of the custard. The mold I needed was a thick sheet of jelly.


We (my sister, my father and I) took the custard to my grandmother's house and everyone had custard there. All my little cousins really liked it and it was so satisfying to ask them "Did you like the custard?" and their little faces going "YES!". Anyway, we spent two hours there before coming back home and my little brother (who has stayed at home) asked the big question.

"Is there any custard left?"

I think you know exactly what the answer was :)

Are you someone who enjoys cooking? What kind of things do you like to make? Are there any easy recipes that you could share with me as I continue with my escapades into the realm of cooking? Have a nice day!!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Martian

From an aesthetic point of view, there are two types of environments that are absolutely my favorites. Space and underwater. Both of themes tend to run heavily through my blog and on various other devices. My blog is called The Lunar Descent while it plays the Pacific Rim theme. My laptop sports a shark themed wall paper while my phone has a night sky. So it's really no surprise that I was really interested in watching this film- the Martian which is really all about space.

The Martian is basically a science fiction movie about the future of space travel, where humans have gotten to the point of travelling to Mars. Due to unfortunate incidents and events, one man from the Mars space mission gets stranded on Mars- Mark Watney, botanist.


You might think that the movie is really slow, considering how it's all about how this one man will survive on the deserted planet all by himself, and it is slow, but the movie focuses on the really interesting bits like how he has to survive on limited food, where he was getting his energy from, how he planned on using his knowledge of botany to expand his food resources. I also really liked how things from inside NASA were shown- the Jet Propulsion Lab, the Control Center in Houston, the Launch Pad at Cape Canaveral. I just love it when we get to see science (H2+O2=H2O!!) as well as structure.

According to my brother, who is nine years old, the movie had quite a share of swear words, so I guess that's a negative point to the movie, which could be disregarded since everything else is so great. I didn't watch this in 3D but I think it would have been a great experience- even better if it was 4D.

Overall I'd give this film a rating of 4.5/5 stars. It's about a two hour long movie so it'll definitely take a big chunk of your time, nevertheless, it's really enjoyable. If you're interested in seeing the terrifying bit of space travel or the feeling of helplessness despite science then this movie is definitely for you! I wouldn't rewatch this two hour film, but I'd definitely suggest it to other people!


Have a nice day!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Let's Paint!

I am a self titled amateur artist. Maybe I shouldn't call myself amateur though because most of my work shows rudimentary skill, but nevertheless, there are moments where I end up impressing myself and that's what counts, right? Anyway, it's been over a year when I sat down and wrote in my to-do-list that I had to go buy myself a sketch book, which I hadn't. To make things more serious, I ended up writing "buy a sketchbook" for one of my 2016 resolutions! So this week, I finally went out to buy a sketch book and try being a little creative.


When I start a project, I treat it like a project. First things come first: gather the materials. For water painting, the materials you need are obvious and not so obvious, like

sketch book
water paints
paint brushes
paint pallet
pencil
eraser
water cup
tissues

Now let me reiterate. While I do call myself an amateur, I am not exactly an amateur. For example, water paints have been my only paint medium and yet I didn't know anything about wetting the paper, taping it to a surface or washing and creating a background. I only found these out very recently (like several hours after filling up the first page of the sketch book). So now the list adds to

hard surface/cardboard
tape
washing brush


My style of work is how I usually go, first I chose my art. For this trial page, I went through my instagram feed and picked the Georgia Aquarium post from the summer of 2015. It was simple enough to draw a clown fish.

Photograph from my instagram: thelunardescent
While I drew the clown fish, I also checked out a couple of water painting videos from Youtube. The most helpful video I found was this one, which talks about types of washes.So I applied the principles of the video to the clown fish. The technique I went for was gradated wash, which involves painting successive strokes down the wet area to create a fade effect. As you can probably see, it worked well for the orange (vermilion) but not that well for the blue.


I also painted in the white stripes with white paint because the paper itself has a yellowish hue. Another thing to be noted is that I painted the clown fish first and the background later, so that could be the reason for the imperfection. Nevertheless, I am really proud of the orange effect. I tried to reproduce it, but it seems like I need more practice, half of my attempts of replication were not satisfactory.

Are any of you interested in watercolors? If you've painted before and have tips for improvement or helpful tips in general, be sure to share! 'Cause sharing is caring. :D Have a nice day!

The pictures I used in this post were taken with my camera. It's really old (8.1 megapixels) so if the pictures don't seem very high quality as compared to the previous iPhone photographs, please let me know in the comments! Thank you!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Anger Management: Chill Out!

Have you watched Disney Pixar's latest movie "Inside Out"? How many of you remember the character known as Anger, who quite literally was on fire every time he got mad? He doesn't seem like the kind of emotion you'd like to have out all that often, no one would really like you at all! That's why a lot of us have gotten good at masking our anger in public. You won't find yourself yelling at your friend for breaking your favorite pen or accidentally hitting you on the back too hard. But come home and you'll automatically have your grumpy face on, ready to take out your grievances!

Home certainly is the place to relax, but does blowing off steam like that really make things right? Absolutely not! Here are some tips you can try to apply to your life and stay cool!


Tip #1: Say Audhubilah
Audhubillah means "I seek shelter with Allah (from Satan)" since it's literally Satan's job to fill you with negative energy! By saying this (with understanding!) you call out Satan directly on his mind games and tell him to just stop it. You don't need this kind of energy in your life!

Tip #2: Stay Quiet!

Tip #3: Sit down!

Tip #4: Mind over Matter

Tip #5: Be Strong!
Strength doesn't mean to mow people down with your arguments! True strength is when you are really mad and you control yourself at the height of your emotions. After all, is it easy to calm down when you're just about ready to explode? If you can conquer your anger, you can conquer the world!

Tip #6: Take a Selfie!

Tip #7: Make Wudhu
Wudhu is basically the act of purification where you wash your face, arms and feet. Anger is an emotion associated with fire, what better way to combat anger than with nice cold water? Go on, splash some water on your face and cool down.

Tip #8: Lahawla wala Quwwata Illa Billah
"There is no power or strength except though Allah". Most of the time, people get angry when their authority is challenged, like when someone tells you you're wrong or scolds you. By declaring that power and authority comes only from Allah, you're cancelling out any anger that may stem from placing unjust authority on yourself!

Tip #9: Talk of Peace
Now that you've calmed down, what about the person you were arguing with? Just speak nicely to them- don't bring up your argument and make your exit fast! You don't want to reignite their anger by accident! Say hello, how're you doing and move on! The other person will appreciate how you have gotten over the argument and they will too!

Tip #10: Forgive and Forget


I hope some of these tips were applicable to managing your anger! And don't be afraid to admit that you do have little fits of rage- anger is a very human emotion and believe it or not, if channeled properly, anger can actually be the source of a lot of positive energy! Anger can help you reach heights that no one thought you'd be able to reach, anger can help you get things started when no one else will help you and anger can help you stay steadfast on your morals when no one else supports you!
All you have to do is tame your anger.
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