Thursday, March 29, 2007

Branding Comic Strips

Every see something that's supposed to be funny but is so true to life that it's scary? This is that for me. Every day I live this. Whoopee!

My Campus Stroll

Last night, I had an hour to kill before class started. So I took a walk around the NYU campus. It was a gorgeous night out, the first hint of Spring. I sat in Washington Square for a little, watching the circus of kids, homeless, and passersby. There were at least 4 groups of guitar players hanging out and even a choir of 7 guys, mostly Korean, putting on a show. That was cheesy, but they actually sounded good. There voices were faint but sweet in the evening wind. I tried to think of a better word, but 'sweet' is all that came.

I quickly grew tired of the scene and meandered south towards the library. Realizing that I had the finally had ID card required for entry, I entered. The marble floor looks like an MC Escher picture and the atrium extends all the way up the buildings 12 stories. I decided to explore in earnest and went up the elevator to the randomly selected Floor 10. Once there, it was a warren of stacks, poorly lit bookshelves and hidden desks sprawled with students studying everything from law and math to art history. There was even a couple arguing about how the guy doesn't want to meet her friends. I pretended not to listen as I waited at the elevator but heard every word.

There is a smell to a university library that cannot be defined, imitated, or forgotten. My random selection placed me in the Culture & Journalism section. Each volume was both boring and fascinating at the same time. In our world on online remote access, it's still a visceral excitement to be surrounded by possibility like that.

I continued down to current periodicals, where all the academic journals are stored. There was countless numbers of them from current debates in philosophy to technological teaching methods (that's all you, Bill!). As I thought how nobody must read these, I realized that they will be invaluable to me when I start to write my thesis, and that just getting published in one is a quiet triumph for each scholar. I hope my name will someday be on a small journal that barely anyone will read someday (just like you, Harley)!

Class time was approaching, and I made my way to my class. I was transported back to my undergrad days, wandering around with nowhere to go, nothing to do and way too much on my mind. Unlike most people, I wasn't that into college, too much downtime. If I could go back, I'm sure I'd have a much better time. But my experience walking around reminded me that I truly enjoy working in the real world and building a life. I love going part-time, for I get the most out of each class and have plenty to fill my life. As much as people say they loved being a free college student, I couldn't wait to get home to wife and kid.

Music Groups That Would've Been Awesome

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Great article in the NY Times today about a new website called Beer Advocate. Started by 2 brothers, the site has reviews on every beer you could find. It advocates that beer is deserving of more respect in the culinary world. I agree. Why should there be a 12 page wine list but only 4 beers to choose from? I enjoy beer more than wine, and I know I'm not the only one.

One of the great things about beer is the branding and packaging. Beer is by no means a serious product, so the brands have freedom to do whatever they want. And with the wide selection and easy-to-drink 12-16oz portions, it makes brand switching a joy.

I write this because I haven't had a beer in at least a week. I'm trying to cut down on carbs for Brian's wedding to lose weight. It's working, I'm down a belt notch. But I do miss my beer. I guess I'll have to let Tequila Sunrises and Pineapple-Vodkas get me through.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Petition: Third Season for Rome

Sign this. Doesn't matter if you watch it or not, but HBO needs to learn its lesson. It can't put these amazing shows out there (like Rome and Deadwood) and then cancel them after 2 seasons. It's not fair! Sure, some shows may not find their audiences, but they do get diehard fans that
need to know what happens next.

Six Feet Under did it right. They ended the series by showing what happens to each character up until their death. It's closure that we need! We're becoming an ethnograpic audience, where we want to know the story of some one's life, not just the end of that particular part of their lives. At least Deadwood wil have a TV movie to tie up loose ends for fans. I'm psyched for that!

In case you couldn't tell, I'm really into the idea of enthnographic entertainment. More on that to come later...

Friday, March 23, 2007

My Supermarket Rant

One more blog for today...Picture this:

You're in a long line at the supermarket. The guy in front of you is taking forever and there are a bunch of others behind you. Another register opens up next to you and says,” Next, please." Now, I was the next one in line, but I'm stuck in line. The guy at the end of the line then jumps to the next line and gets through before it's even my turn.

What the f*&k? All this system does is reward the person who has been waiting in line the shortest. Some of you may remember my Duane Reade rant, where I said we should have 1 waiting line so that you won't get stuck waiting for a slow cashier or a slow customer. That way, you are always ensured of getting the next register.

Sure I've benefited from the "Next, please" a few times myself. I understand it's a reality. But damn, does that suck!

MTV, Better Than Videos

I am so into MTV's True Life right now. They take 3 kids with a similar situation ("I'm In Debt", "I have Autism", "I Want The Perfect Body") and follow them around for a few months. We see how their lives are affected by their situation and get a sense of the course of their lives for a few months. It's strangely voyeuristic and instantly addicting.

The show is basically ethnographic entertainment. They are doing anthropologic studies that are made for a wide TV audience. By showing us the individual, we see a glimpse of what the norm is and how there is no such thing as normal. Each kids has to face their life on their own and make decisions that will impact their future. Surprisingly, these kids seem very wulling to open up themselves and their lives for worldwide consumption. It's either a willingness to be open or a desire for quick fame... or both.

The "I Have Autism" episode was very hard to watch for me. The kids were great and trying so hard to just be normal (again, normal is relative). Mostly, the parents were the ones I truly felt for. Having a young daughter, it was hard to hear them say that growing up the child just didn't notice the outside world. It made me so grateful to have the healthy, happy girl we do. (Lilah f*&king rules!)

I also love the show Juvies. As in True Life, it focuses on just a few kids to show how the system looks from the individual. I guess the best stories are the ones that are true. MTV has really caught on to the fact that kids want to know what is going on with other kids. As a 31-yr old, do I still count? Given how immature I am, I think so.

Good Eating

I haven't been eating well these past 28 hours. I was doing really well, but then I fell off the wagon. I needed a pint of ice cream Wednesday night. I was depressed from getting denied for an apartment on Thursday and had to have something not so good for lunch. My brother-in-law was over for dinner that night, and we had to order wings and fried mushrooms.

This afternoon, I had to have Buger King as a traveling lunch on my way back from a meeting. I was driving while eating and got the Angus sauce all over my shirt and fry oil all over my skin. Now I feel all greasy and my shirt is ruined. I will do my best to eat better over the weekend. Of course, I still have some ice cream in the freezer...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The iRack

I usually hate Mad TV, it's a little juvenile for me. But this video is hilarious. It goes from being a dumb Steve Jobs parody to an insightful and impactfull allegory. It's not long and very, very worth watching.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Quote of the Day, Part II

As you might have guessed, I love South Park and Family Guy. One of my favorite momments in cultural overlap was wehen South Park made fun of Family Guy for a 2 episode special.

During at the Harvard class day 2006, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, in character as Stewie Griffin, rebutted this criticism saying:

“You're wondering to yourselves: what can I expect from the outside world? Will I find my niche? What should I know about the vast territory that lies beyond the confines of my little subculture of textbooks, Ramen noodles, coin-operated laundry and TV shows that seem to think they can skate by with random jokes about giant chickens that have absolutely nothing to do with the overall narrative?

The boys at South Park are absolutely correct: Those cutaways and flashbacks have nothing to do with the story! They're just there to be ... funny. And that is a shallow indulgence that South Park is quite above, and for that I salute them."

Quote of the Day

"Lilah has muscles just like Daddy, soft and pudgy."

The Sun and the Moon

Watch this movie

There are 2 satellites in orbit now. Both are calibrated to orbit the sun, using the Earth as an anchor. One is in front, closer to the Sun, the other is behind the Earth, further from the Sun. When the 2 work in unison, they will create a stereo image allowing us to get a 3D view of the surface of the sun.

Right now, one of the satellites is off. This movie was taken using the satellites, but with the transit of the moon instead of the 3D renderings. It's amazing. The surface of the Sun is a swirling cauldron of fire and liquid energy. There are giants flames that shoot out and make visible the giant magnetic fields. It's amazing, and the stereo images that will come soon promise to be even better!

P.S. Much of this was taken from Brian May's posting in the new NY Times Space blog. That guy rules.

My Morning Oopsie

I was supposed to go to a meeting this morning in New Jersey. The work we were to present was FedEx'd last night, so all we had to do was show up. I had spoken with the client to confirm that if the snow was bad, we could have a call instead. So, I was praying for snow.

I was disappointed to wake up to find no white on the ground. But I figured it was icy enough that driving would be a bad idea. I told my team we were not going to Jersey and to head into the office. Turns out, my client is sick and never made it into the office. We're rescheduling for early next week.

I come into work and find the FedEx's that were supposed to arrive this morning still sitting on my desk. They never went out! We'd have arrived in Jersey with nothing to present. Thank God today worked out the way it did. I will NOT be sharing this story with anyone else at work (keep quiet, Jen!). I don't think it's something I need to share.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

India's Stock is Rising, But...

Here is a cool article from the current issue of Business Week about how India's infrastructure can't handle the sucess the company has been having. With corporations running to bring business to the country and make bigger profits, that could be a problem. Most of the country is without internet access and there a just a handfull of world-class airports.

Making South Park

This movie shows 24 hours in an editing booth during the final production of a South Park episode. Notice how it's mostly one guy doing all the work with other people coming in giving their opinion. It's awesome.

For a little longer movie (to watch during lunch), check out this news footage of Scientology vs. South Park.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Nose Jobs: Before & After

Harley found this website with before and after nose job images from a plastic surgeon featured on Dr. 90210. The site has a bunch of images for other procedures he does.

This doctor is good. Everyone on this site looks a lot better in the after picture (but who would put a bad picture on their own website?). It's kind of weird but still cool to see. I can't help but have a gut reaction of "Ewww!!!"

Brian May Rules

Brian May, guitarist for Queen and one of my all-time favorites, is also an astronomer. He is now a contributing writer for a New York Times blog called Across the Universe that talks about space the cosmos, and all that stuff that I LOVE!

That guy freakin' rules! Not only is he deep into space, which I love, but he also built his own electric guitar at 17, revolutionized how the guitar was recorded, and created one of the most unique and influential guitar tones in the history of popular music. Here's his bio on the blog:

Brian May, best known as a guitarist, songwriter and performer for Queen, began his doctoral studies on the subject of interplanetary dust before the band hit it big in the early 1970s. Through the years, he retained a strong interest in astronomy, appearing regularly on Moore’s TV show, “The Sky at Night.” May has recently returned to his studies in astrophysics. He is a coauthor of “Bang!”

Friday, March 02, 2007

Jersey Boys

A couple weeks ago, my in-laws took Harley and I to see Jersey Boys on Broadway. Despite my initial reluctance, I loved it. Seriously loved it. It was like a Scorsese directing a musical. The characters were singing but we still tough and streetwise. My favorite line was "We weren't a social movement like The Beatles. The guy pumping your gas, the waitress with bags under her eyes - they were the ones who really got us."

The show was a great mix of story line and concert experience. The music rocked, and the actors played their own instruments to give the moment authenticity. I always remembered Walk Like A Man sounding too kiddy, but it had a driving beat that was so hard and contemporary. Of course, when I listened to the original recordings, they sounded childlike, like a novelty. The real music, at least for me, was nowhere near as good as the excitement and rock the show interjected into the songs.

The show updated the songs with the rock sound today's audiences are used to. This made the music sound fresh and current and I'm sure helped the audience remember the time more fondly. The performances created a sense of nostalgia that might not have been there before the show. My mother-in-law went nuts during Sherry, and I don't think that would have happened by just listened to the music.

The concert moments were amazing. While the music sounded great, the applause was profound. The audience was primarily Baby Boomers from the suburbs who were from New York and New Jersey. For the most part, the audience had a shared background. The audience sees these 4 guys go from playing bowling alleys in Jersey to being the biggest band in the world.

When the audience claps after the performances, they applaud not only that performance but also the success these characters have achieved. They also clap for themselves. They clap for their youth, for how far they have come in their own lives. The show uses to music and the shared experience of Jersey to create a community for the few hours we were in the theater. It's far fetched, but it was palpable sitting in the audience that Sunday afternoon.

Total Eclipse of the Earth

On Sunday night, some places on Earth will see a lunar eclipse, where the Moon goes through Earth's shadow and disappears from view. If you were on the near side of the Moon, this would look like a solar eclipse, where the Earth would block out the Sun.

You see, it's all about perspective.

This image is an artist's rendering of a photo taken from Apollo 17. Thank you Astronomy Picture of the Day!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

This is LiveLeak. Think of it like YouTube with all the gore. Not for the faint of heart.

Howard Stern's Top 10 Momments

Some of these are terrible but most are funny.

I got this off a website called TMZ, perfect website to help you kill time during lunch.