Sunday, December 30, 2007

We have Nerf guns in our home.

I overheard a child saying this to a grown up visitor on the N train. I approve.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fire pit in back yard

It's surprising these things aren't illegal.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sony Ad Criticism Part I

I don't get it. I get the idea that HD is built in throughout their product line, though this claim may be somewhat specious. What I don't get is why this should make me choose Sony over other manufacturers. Perhaps more HD devices, more choices among the devices, but otherwise I am not compelled to buy. The ad is clearly sending a message, but for me, the message does not convert to a sale.

Sony advertising criticism pt. II

Thanks, Sony, but since when have I ever wanted to DO that?

I hate to just reiterate TWiT, but this ad illustrates the question far too well. I think the breakthrough day for me will be when almost everything goes on a form of ePaper you can write on, erase, load things on to, and roll up (like in the animated film Renaissance).

Thursday, December 27, 2007

P-Touching in the New Year

Yesss.

WNBC.com's Favorite TV Dads



- wnbc.com

I take 2 issues with this:

1. Tony Danza wasn't a dad on Who's the Boss (though I admit, I could be wrong)

2. No photo of Peter Gallagher

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tissue on Subway seat.

Hard to see, but it's there. Interesting to see how a single object or mark on a seat will keep people from sitting down. I've had rides where a single piece of dirty newspaper or bottle containing liquid kept folks from moving it and sitting down, for fear of why the objects were left there and by whom.

Of course, right after I took this photo, someone flicked it off and sat down, so this theory is somewhat suspect.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Coloring II

Coloring continues to be a delightful preoccupation this holiday season.

In which, I realize that for as long as I can remember, I've tried to create a brand identity for the Christmas gifts I wrap.

Crackerbarrel on Christmas

Good place for last minute holiday gifts.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mournful Environmental Graffiti



NE corner of 45th and Third

John Edwards is hip and connected, a month ago.





I was impressed when I saw on Wikipedia that Barack Obama and John Edwards are both on Twitter. Then I saw that Barack's Twitter feed is mostly his schedule, and John's last update was a month ago. In response to the Twitter question, "What are you doing?" Edwards is disappointingly silent.

My Customer Service E-Mail to Blockbuster

I have been very satisfied with my blockbuster total access subscription thus far. However, I was slightly disturbed to receive an e-mail indicating a price increase to $11.99.

As a customer who enjoys the luxury of renting a movie, and even letting it sit for a week or so if I don't have the chance to watch it, the price increase tells me that this situation is becoming less of a deal. I no longer live within walking distance of a Blockbuster, so the added bonus of in-store exchange or free rental coupons is no longer a sufficient draw for me.

The unlimited 1-at-a-time rate at Netflix is $8.99. Seeing a fourth digit in that baseline figure does make a difference in the mind of a customer. Though an extra $36 a year won't put a hole in my pocket, the increase gives me another reason to think twice before recommending Blockbuster over competitors to friends and family.

I would very much encourage Blockbuster to revert to the previous pricing for this plan. While it would be somewhat convenient for me to stay with Blockbuster, I am sure that myself and others in my situation would find it far more sensible to choose the better deal, especially if Blockbuster's prices continue to go up.


I know, it's really not all that much more money per month. I just hate being on a regular paying schedule with something, and then find out that the price will go up, for no reason other than their business going poorly.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

There's a Storm Front Coming.

Let's not forgrt that there is a verse in the Billy Joel song "Storm Front," in which he names the different varieties of clouds- cumulo nimbus and otherwise.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Outdoor Subway Platform

So pleasant when you ride the train in with sunlight streaming through the windows.

So absolutely awful when you stand outside on the platform in the bitter freezing cold.

Mobile Browsing and the 'Real' Internet

When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, a key attraction was 'the real internet' in your pocket. Browsers on other phones were derided by Jobs as 'crippled' relative to what Apple had to offer.

However, I can't help but wonder if the real innovation in mobile web browsing is yet to come. As a new Treo user, surfing through the 'Blazer' browser, I can appreciate two things:

1. Safari on the iPhone does a far superior job displaying the interweb on my phone in a manner comparable to how it appears on my desktop.

2. Blazer on the Treo, however basic, is still pulling content out of the interweb, and on to my device.

As RSS feeds and web-integrated widgets have begun to release the content of the interweb from the webpage itself, it seems that the room for innovation in mobile use of the internet is not in replicating the desktop experience, but in pulling, pushing, and plugging content into an interface ideal for the screen size and controls of a mobile phone.

Safari on the iPhone is a nice replica of the desktop model, but it is more than likely that the real innovation in mobile internet is around yet another bend.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saranac Wintry Mix

I think the variety pack approach is kind of great. This came with oatmeal stout, winter wassail, scotch ale and belgian ale.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Interweb as Seen in Snow Crash: Welcome to the Social



This book is pretty damn awesome. I had gotten through Gibson's Neuromancer/Count Zero/Mona Lisa Overdrive trilogy, and all was well. I had read Spook Country and was unimpressed. A few years before that, I had read Idoru, that was fine, but not revolutionary.

In reading the Neuromancer trilogy again in 2007, I could not help but compare Gibson's cyberpunk view of the future with where we are today. It always astounds me how we can imagine fantastical technologies and worlds in science fiction, yet when it comes to the real world, it is often what we least expect that becomes the most impressive or surprising. The net as seen in Neuromancer is represented by geometric shapes and grids, and we most often see scenes of a program executing, a code wall being 'broken', and 'ghosts in the machine' appearing as entities strangely free roaming the net.

Stephenson, writing some years later, creates a 'Metaverse' that performs in a similar way. The web is still presented to the user as an artificial, 3 dimensional world. It is also accessible to a select few (the hackers). Yet the geometric shapes and grids become something wholly different. The user interface metaphor gets extrapolated into a far wider range of objects and symbols. There is a street, there are neighborhoods connected to it, there are social lounges, there is transportation, there is money and there are information cards. Each of these pieces performs a function. The neighborhoods are akin to local machines, though still able to connect to the larger web. In the social lounges, persons do interact with others, through digital representations of selves known as 'avatars.' Information and programs can be carried on 'hypercards', and the physical act of passing a hypercard from one avatar to another effects a download of that information onto the recipient's computer.

The comparisons to contemporary uses of the web are obvious, with candidates such as Second Life and World of Warcraft. Second Life is the best choice, as, from what I understand, events like interviews, financial transactions, and performances occur in second life in a manner as true to the real life event as possible. The metaphor may as well be the real thing in some cases.

Whether or not such extensive user interface metaphors have a life beyond Second Life, or a game like World of Warcraft, is actually questionable. When 'Geocities' first came on the scene, they attempted to pull a metaphor from the real world-- neighborhoods, blocks and addresses, and apply that to publicly available, free websites. You would find a neighborhood that would appeal to you, such as "South Beach," for those interested in low key, social and personal types of sites, and then pick out a number for your address, like '3027,' if available. The problem with this system was that the metaphor was impractical and unnecessary, a result of our still trying to grapple with how this web should function. Certainly, attempting to create a sense that you had neighbors was a noble effort, but there is no practicality anchoring the practice. In the web, the link between the coincidence that two websites are of similar addresses, is now not nearly as strong as the link between two websites that hold similar content, or enough 'google juice' to put them on the same page of hits. In a web where you can use the shovel of Google to dig wherever, and how deeply you wish, there is no need for a neighborhood. Why create a boundary and a sense of distance or closeness when such notions are wholly irrelevant.

Such, too, is the flaw in the idea of Stephenson's 'Metaverse.' The idea of a linear street connecting neighborhood to neighborhood (including a monorail for high speed travel) does not accomodate the power of the link, the connection that takes you from the blog page of a disgruntled employee to the corporate webpage of the employer whom he despises. In a Metaverse realm of neighborhoods and distance, the leap from one to the other would be unlikely, yet the web as it exists today exists and encourages such practice.

What Stephenson's Metaverse does effectively offer is the notion of projecting one's presence. The avatar, the club, the meeting place create presence in the computer generated realm. However, unlike chatting in a chat room with someone from China, the presence of that person in the same physical space as yourself is incorporated into the metaphor.

Likely more to come...getting sleepy...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Post-Steam Pipe Explosion overheard in New York

It's Important to Have a Cause

Dude: It was just so scary to overhear people talking on their cell phones saying all those things you associate with disaster.

Chick: Yeah.

Male passerby on cell: The problem with so many women is just that they don't have the right amount of support! I know more women who live miserably because they are wearing the wrong cup size! Just get measured!

--Central Park South

Alsome | Thumbs up | Thumbs down | Wtf? Wtf?; Wtf? | |


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted 2007-08-16 | Email | Quote | Link | Del.icio.us


Overheard in New York

I was that dude.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Reality w/in a movie does not include the following...

I've always found it a curious conceit that within a world of a movie, the actors in them do not exist.

For example, in the world of the movie "Jerry Maguire," there is no actor Tom Cruise, or at least, not with the grin and smiling face we know of as Tom Cruise. Of course there can't be, our Tom Cruise is busy being Jerry Maguire.

Or in the world of "The Bourne Ultimatum," no actor known as Matt Damon exists. Or if he does, no one notes his remarkable similarity to Jason Bourne.

From what I understand, Ocean's 12 did something weird through this by doing some sort of weird thing where they noted that Tess looks like Julia Roberts. Making this conceit that obvious just makes me cringe.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Google Calendar and the Schedules of Strangers

I had heard that Google calendars had become popular, and are often used and shared publicly. Still, I hadn't experimented with it until today.

Some neat finds among the calendars:
- free summer events in New York City
- NetFlix release dates
- next airings of TV shows

Zooming into more personal uses, I wondered what I might be able to come up with by searching for "class schedule." Here's one that I found:



To link to the calendar itself here would be a bit tedious; you can mess around with it at http://www.google.com/calendar.

Assuming the calendar isn't for whatever reason a fakery, it's neat what we can imagine, based off of this calendar. There is a person named Adam who exists in the world. He keeps (or at least, at one point, started keeping) his class schedule on a Google calendar. It looks like he goes to some sort of music school. He has appointments schedule for Jazz Band, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and High Strings, among many others. There is a date scheduled for July 07, after which he will be at band camp.

The problems and qualms about privacy (and whether or not Google is, indeed, Evil, in this regard) abound. But those things aside, what is perhaps just as remarkable is to consider that the person that this calendar represents exists somewhere in the world, and these are some of the regular features of their day to day life. It reminds me of a Time magazine article that ran recently about services like Twitter, which argued that gathering and learning these tidbits of everyday life gives a unique angle on getting to know someone through small things over a long period of time. Not necessarily the same for Google calendars, but an interesting tool to help you think outside of yourself and consider what it means, the fact that there are so many individual lives and stories going on at any given point on the globe.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

G-Mail Makes Me Nervous

I've been using Yahoomail's Beta version for a good number of months now (you can go to account settings to try it out- if it doesn't appear, switch country settings to Ireland/UK, and then select it).

It basically has the look and feel of a mail client like Outlook, with drag and drop capability added in, and tabbed windows for opening e-mails, searches, inbox and the like.

I recently started using my gMail account for a show, and though I'm intrigued to see what the big deal is, it freaks me out a little. I just got on top of being selective of what stays in my inbox, what gets archived, what gets deleted, for my yahoo account. This conversation business in gMail, I do not find helpful. I like being able to associate a single e-mail with a certain task, or as backup info for a certain task. When everything collapses together in a "conversation" type thread, it makes it slightly more difficult to see what the key new information is, and then decide what to do about it/where to put it.

Comparing the interfaces of yahoo and gmail, yahoo looks a lot nicer. Plus, if you are in the middle of composing an e-mail and you want to check out, say, contact info or another e-mail from your inbox, in yahoo it'll just open another tab. You won't have to navigate away from what you're composing.

I haven't tried RSS feeds yet in gMail, but again, I am happy w/ where Yahoomail beta puts me on this. We'll see.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Beer

Say what you will about the value of your fancy imports and lagers-- the Guinness, the Yuengling, the Grolsch, the Moosehead.

I realized with in the past week that few compare to the refreshing crispiness of a Coors Light, be it in cans from a bodega, or preferably, in a large pitcher at Pugsley's accompanied by a slice and karaoke.

I know-- few have accurately been able to identify just what the beer at Pugsley's is. But I think it has at least the Coors Light idea behind it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Smoking Gun

The Smoking Gun has as its featured article a play written by the Virginia Tech shooter on its frontpage.

It's a curious thing, because I usually associate The Smoking Gun with taking on celebrities and sensationalism. I guess who's to say that gross tragedy isn't sensational-- in some ways, it's among the most sensational of topics. The fact remains, though, that The Smoking Gun is a great site because of its fusion of sensational topic and presentation, with the hard facts of legal and other written documents. To wrap the Virginia Tech shootings in sensationalist wrappings (default formatting of the website as they are), still, just doesn't seem quite right.

Flipping the coin, though, and looking at what's put out as an offering, I also can't help but think that it's an extremely intriguing thing to have out there. We often hear about the diaries and writings of deranged and sick people, and the "warning signs," but we are not often privy to the content itself, those forecasting signs that everyone claims to have seen. There is something more immediate and substantial to reading a play that he wrote, rather than reading the quotes and descriptions of it.

Or maybe it's just a preference for looking at primary sources.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Floral Margarita



I don't get the idea behind these. For a lady, will this disappoint? For a fella, would you pay $69.99 on the chance that it won't?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Fun with XP







Robloglite at tumblr.com

Started a tumblog as an experiment, plus an easy way to push out of my brain stuff that might be post-worthy that I don't take the time to post.

Link below, and to the right.

http://robloglite.tumblr.com

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bale vs. Jackman vs. Is Scarlett doing that thing again?



The Prestige did not disappoint.

I can't say it's one of my favorite movies-- even though I want to.

The fact of the matter is, it was quite engaging and watchable throughout, but not totally compelling. For 130m, I'm fairly certain a few chunks could have been cut out.

Without giving a total spoiler, it has the absolutely most compelling third act since The Sixth Sense-- better, in fact, because while the Sixth Sense gave you the clues and bits (if you knew to look for them)-- in The Prestige- the film actually trains you to look for deception, swaps, sleights of hand. And though it's possible to guess the ending, it is this very possibility that you can figure it out-- that ties the film together, as well as proves the film's points on deception and secrets that are more overtly made in the dialogue and scenes.

I can't help but have a flashback to Batman Begins-- with Michael Caine, Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale working on the same films. In particular, when Bale is brought into jail at the beginning of the film and Jackman scales a snowy secluded mountain (for the secret that presumably lies at its top), even the look of it can't help but be nostalgic of Bruce Wayne in a Chinese prison, then scaling the mountaintop.

When I think about the film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I always think disappointment-- disappointment because the book does something very clever and crafty in how it propels its readers through the final bits of plot, while throwing them through a crazy and shifty time-warp that actually makes the original story that much more engaging. As much as I enjoyed the third Harry Potter film, the time-shifting sequence that brought so much thrill in the book became more of a chore to be finished with in the film.

Nolan's work on The Prestige, though admittedly-- I have not read the book, most likely captures the shifts of time and revelation far better than the adaptation of the Prisoner of Azkaban. The diary sequences, as well as the final pages, demonstrate Nolan's ability to weave a story from multiple points, string the audience along so that they might guess the ending, and yet still "wow them in the end," as Brian Cox's character from Adaptation would be apt to say.

Also, I have come to the conclusion that the majority of Scarlett Johanssen's film roles define the term strumpet.

PS- 2:06AM update: SPOILER ALERT!!!!




After finishing the movie think about the birds. I just realized this as I was ironing my shirt just now

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Neat Music Video

The following was tagged onto the tail end of the most recent episode of The Merlin Show, featuring the 2nd half of the interview with Peter Hughes, of The Mountaingoats. Thus continuing my near endless linking of content from the TWiT/digg folks...but I guess such is blogging. I'll just have to diversify my sources.

Anyway, the video is pretty neat.



I don't know too much about the Mountaingoats' music. I downloaded the free tracks from their site, but since most of them were live shows with low levels (and I didn't tweak the levels much in iTunes), they did not jive well with the morning commute of cars and subways and I can't say I got that great a listen.

The video and lyrics are a bit emo-y. Which is taken as a criticism because of people's reluctance to accept emotional content in pop media-- we don't do well with fellas singing about how they are sad or upset. The video would seem disingenuous or a gratuitous invitation for pity, were it not for the "self-awaredness" of the situation's comedy-- the bouncing zebra, the near motionless face, the trick of the huge coffee cup, and the play of the screens and the camera zooming in and out. These bits let us laugh at the lyrics, and the playfulness lets us accept the singer's emotional plight. This tends to be a prerequisite for our acceptance of emotional pleas-- as long as the emoter can laugh at their own emoting, and cynically look at their situation as a bit ridiculous, we are ok with it.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I Owe New York State $1

"Choose the payment method you want to use to pay your New York balance due of $1."


Crazy.

You Pay New York to Live Here.

"City of New York Resident Tax $424"


Turbotax calculation of my State of New York tax return.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Kentucky doesn't hold a candle to Jersey

I finished watching Elizabethtown just now. I didn't expect much. Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst are not among my favorite actors. If anything, they're slightly more towards my less-than-favorite actors. I did go on a big Cameron Crowe kick a few years ago, though-- I enjoyed his films Almost Famous, Say Anything, Jerry Maguire.

But Elizabethtown just came out....eh. Not awful. Not obnoxious. Just bland and not wholly interesting. Orlando was-- ok. He didn't bother me, and he seemed to play his part ok-- whiz kid who screws up bigtime. Kirsten was really annoying in her first scene, but got sort of likable later. I actually think the highlight of this film was Alec Baldwin as Orlando Bloom's eccentric boss. He gets a great little reveal bit when Orlando walks into his office- you hear Baldwin's voice, and then there's a close up shot of his face, as if it were enough time for you to think-- hey. That's Baldwin.

Themes reminiscent of Garden State: death in the family, errant son goes back to a small town, meets whimsical bohemian carefree type girl that changes his life.

Product Placement Identical to Garden State: Rolling Rock, Apple products (monitor in Garden State, monitors and laptops in Elizabethtown).

The sad and empty thing about Elizabethtown, especially when compared to Garden State is that, while prettily shot, with an elaborate and neat rock soundtrack, there was an emotional vitality or heart that was lacking, and I can't say that I cared about Orlando's character's problem all that much.

And Kirsten Dunst's take on the carefree bohemian chick...sort of cute. But I didn't really buy it.

In the end, it wasn't a waste of my time, but it didn't add much of value, either.

Actually, there were some really good roadtrip sequences that gave me a bit of nostalgia for road trips that I've taken, those were ok for that purpose. Can't say they added something that made the film more alive as a whole.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mountaingoats on LiveJournal

http://www.themerlinshow.com/ep/011-interview-peter-hughes

Unfortunately, I am way too lazy to transcribe the parts of this interview that I found most interesting. Watch the video, though, for it's content. Also watch it for its pleasant breeze brushed bamboo and bird chirping sounds in the background. It's a zen'ing 20 minutes to say the least.

Merlin interviews Peter Hughes, of the band The Mountaingoats. As it turns out, Peter has been an extensive user of LiveJournal, first as a tour diary, and then as time went on, for its social-networking value. He actually makes an extremely effective case for why the existence of LiveJournals or personality based blogs is a good thing.

I can't nearly articulate it as well as he does in the interview, so I have deleted my attempts to try. So watch the interview and read on.

***

I think Peter's comments support the point that social networking, live journaling and MMORPGs are not necessarily poor substitutes for meeting people in bars, hanging our, or playing outside. Granted, to an extreme, any activity could go sour. You could meet people in bars a little too often, hang out so much that you lose your job, play outside too much (although, there's probably is no such thing as playing outside too much).

While the online activity should not wholly supplant the offline activity, it should at least be acknoweldged that online activity has some genuine, real social value to it. For Peter Hughes, that manifests itself as a context in which he can interact with random people and get to know them, in a manner akin to how school and work are contexts in which people interact with random people.

I guess my reason I feel compelled to post on this interview is just that I've always been at least slightly annoyed at LiveJournaling. At least, the sort of LiveJournaling that puts all your fears, hopes, dreams and worries into one three page long post of uninteresting dearth. Emo-transmitting into the web. Assuming people want to hear, venting into a place where you feel safe that no one real will read it.

These are somewhat poor assumptions on my behalf, perhaps partly because I've ignored the "social" function that may actually exist there-- as Peter described actually getting to know people through cross commenting on LiveJournal and reading each others' posts-- and then actually seeing them come to his shows, hang out, talk, etcetera. And this is after perhaps having read all that content that I sometimes ridicule.

You have to think that in the circumstance in which you have a private LiveJournal that you only allow certain people to see, and that you write deeply personal things in there, knowing other people will read them-- and then you meet them in person, and you can talk and hang out. There's something that is vulnerable in its bare-bones all out there ness. The other person may already know your ups and downs and dearths and annoying expressions of self, but knowing that that's all been said and read on both sides of the table may actually open room for some very genuine and above-average human interaction.

***
PS: Check out The Mountaingoats webpage to download some free mp3s. I'm a sucker for free music.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Rubber Band Ball: Complete Instructions



I was rather impressed with the rubber band ball at my new place of work. It is about 7" in diameter, and when bounced on the floor, makes quite a profound thump.

I found online a set of complete instructions here.

One of these days, Fordham will earn me an INS wiretap.



PURPOSE OF A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a 9 digit employee indentification number issued by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and non-immigrants who qualify on the basis of lawful status and legal employment.


Google the following: social security office + dekalb
Click on the first link that appears.

Digitzed 3x5" with QWERTY input

In the course of reading David Allen's Getting Things Done, I filled it with tiny yellow post-its with notes and thoughts on the book. Since it's such a "tip" oriented text, processing those bits and pieces would certainly be useful later. After I finished the book, I plopped it and all its stickies into my newly purchased in-basket. Where it has, to this day, sat, waiting for me to do something (anything, really) with the notes I put into it.

When I finally started looking around the internet for a notecard application (I did not want to just type this into one big list, that wouldn't do it for me in terms of searchability and organization), I found a few duds, then ran into Supernotecard. It again proved a point that I find myself increasingly believing in: why take something that generally fits what you're looking for, when you can probably (via the interweb) find and get exactly what you're looking for?

In this case, I was looking for a note-taking software that would use notecards as its interface metaphor, but do so in a format that would allow me to export the data into a decently formatted text file. I wanted to be able to input and manipulate the notes within the program, but not be restricted to using just this software to do it in.

Supernotecard pretty much does the trick, and I'm curious as to what sort of uses I could have been able to put this to in school. Screenshot from their website:



So you can type stuff into individual notecards, it'll automatically save them when you move onto the next card, plus you can organize them by either stacking them into "decks" or tagging them with "categories." Cards can only go into single decks, but you can tag a single card with multiple categories. For me, the deck organization worked just fine-- I wanted the notes certainly, but had no need to label and sort them in extreme detail.

The best part was, exporting the data into rich text format (wordpad file) was able to retain some nice and decent formatting. By default, the text would format into a sort of hierarchical format, which, while not as easily manipulated as the notecards, still had a good presentational look to it, that would have cost me a decent chunk of time and anxiety had I tried to battle autoformatting in Word to the same effect.

Definitely download, at least to play and mess around with.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Make Your Own Kind of Battlefield Earth, by AJ Ruxbin



Andy made his own kind of battlefield earth. Check it out.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Magic Panini



I am not great at navigation. I have a compass that Jamie gave me for my keychain so I can find my way when I get out of the subway. Grand Central Terminal is the sort of place that gives me trouble-- parts of it seem similar enough that my only recourse is to pretty much go around the thing until I get where I want to go. If I wanted to get out of the terminal, I'd follow whatever passage until I'd see daylight on the other side. Walking around the dining concourse, I don't have any of the storefronts established as landmarks in my brain, that would give me any sense of where I am, or where I got good food the last time. So I walk around it until I see something I like, instead of just going straight for somewhere that I know will be good.

My one exception to the rule:



Paninoteca-- don't ask me exactly where it is...because I don't quite know. But it is on one of the narrow ends of the hall.

Two things sell me on seeking this place out particular. First, they have good deals on pasta that are pretty simple. A small plate of pasta is about $3.00, a large, $6.00. Simple. There are options for entrees and combinations, but I tend not to foray into that world, being something of a bargain hunter when it comes to food on the go.

If you're willing to put out an extra dollar or so, you can get one of the panini's. Instead of a thin "panini" bread, they take a whole roll of hearty bread w/ the sandwich elements in it and shove it into the squisher thing that makes those grill marks on the panini. This is a big plus. Still a little messy (I don't like messy food, it doesn't seem worth it), but it's not sopping through with grease like the overpriced panini you'll get from Cafe Metro or Pax.

Friday, March 16, 2007

This R2's become a bit eccentric.




Full article from BBC News linked here.

Prediction: YouTube video of Princess Leia mailing Obi Wan the Death Star plans.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Jack Daniels and TexMex

I think this pretty much defines friendship right there.



We each picked up one of these glasses from a Mexican restaurant after the show.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

In the words of Ben Affleck...


I'm always described as 'cocksure' or 'with a swagger,' and that bears no resemblance to who I feel like inside. I feel plagued by insecurity.
- Ben Affleck


I don't doubt Mr. Affleck's sincerity. At the same time, it's pretty undeniable that Ben Affleck is great at being an asshole, in just about any historical period.

See:
mid-90s with Mallrats,
70s with Dazed and Confused, and
the 1590s with Shakespeare in Love.

Other quotes by Ben Affleck are available here, but if you're at all curious about quotes by other actors (though, why would you be), check out Brainyquote.com's page on quotes by american actors. There is actually some really great content there with actors' thoughts on their work, life and craft.

Does Print Advertising Count for Anything?

Maybe. But for the up and coming indie rocker, or young New York theater company, probably not for much. Or at the very least, not for what it's monetarily worth.

In Merlin Mann's interview with John Vanderslice, an independent musician, John explained how one of the goals for his band's next album is to release it without any print advertising at all. This is partly on account of John being a hip-and-with-it creative person, but also because print advertising, relative to the internet, gives an inferior return on investment. And when your resources are limited, splurging tons of dollars on getting that newspaper ad just does not seem to make as much sense as doing a hot viral marketing ad on youtube, or even just putting up a myspace page.

The evolution of print marketing's relevance is very visible in the theater world. A short time ago, theater companies would print postcards w/ artwork and details of an upcoming show, and then mail them out to a list of subscribers to the companies' mailing lists. More recently, such postcards have made their best use as "lobby cards"-- filling in shelf space at rehearsal and performance places throughout the city. The actual postcard elements are minimized, and the majority of the space is taken up with show information, rather than leaving room for an addressee's address. The older model of sending targeted postcards seems less relevant for the young company with little money to spend. The "lobbycard" itself becomes nearly an anachronism in itself-- just a colorful piece of card you can hand to friends when they ask when your show is.

At a panel discussion among a handful of producers from the NYC area, the most useful anecdote was one by a producer who had done work at both carnegie hall, as well as small off-off broadway theaters. And one great distinction he realized was that, even with full page New York Times ads and print advertising, he got a better turn-out for the indie theater piece he was promoting through guerilla tactics, than he did with putting out print advertising among all sorts of wealthy folk for the Carnegie Hall event.

Does theater advertising need to go 100% web? Maybe not. Are postcards an anachronism of an older age? I'm mostly sure they are. Do upstart companies of any sort need to carefully assess their advertising dollars in the wake of free internet buzz and advertising? Most certainly.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

New Update: Label Cloud feature

Just some revamps to the blog, small but significant.

I finally started taking advantage of the "label" feature, and found a useful set of instructions on setting up a label cloud, the result of which is now in the sidebar. Topics with more posts in them are bigger and in brighter colors. Clicking on them will send you to all posts that I've labeled under that topic header.

I find this to be a great feature for two reasons. First, in a blog with no specific direction or topic, it becomes much easier for the reader to find information that they are interested in or related to the most recent post. The blog gets some sense of depth, as topics become browsable and it's possible to see a train of thought at work under particular topics. The archive-by-date list, now beneath the cloud, is I feel nearly irrelevant at this point-- my blog rarely has much to do with day to day events.

Secondly, from a writerly point of view, it's now easy for me to go back and see what sort of topics I've ended up posting on. As I've chosen no specific direction on this blog, it's neat to be able to look back and see what I've tended to write about.

Some unsurprising results among the most common topics: humor, personal, and tech

And a few more surprising topics, with at least two posts under them: celebrities and Tom Cruise

And some stuff that's just become of interest to me over recent years: 43folders, productivity, and human/machine interactions

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Do Stock Traders all Look Alike?

Whenever the stock market takes a hit, it's fairly certain that there's going to be a picture of a trader on the floor with his hand on his head.

Thinking on this, I made a collage.



I don't have the foggiest as to what actually goes on on the trading floor. But I can say that it does not look like my idea of fun.

08/05/11: Title corrected
Rob D. pointed out to me that I had used the terms traders and brokers interchangeably. They're actually different jobs. Title corrected to be consistent w/ post and photo subject.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Thank You, Amazon (Part II): Would you like some Aristotle?

Dear Amazon.com Customer,

As someone who has expressed interest in books by Aristotle, you might like to know that The Works Of Aristotle V2: Physica, De Caelo And De Generatione Et Corruptione is now available. You can order your copy for just $22.41 ($11.54 off the list price) by following the link below.


I've been waiting for this one since Aristotle's V1 cliffhanger.

Info note, I had actually ordered my McKeon edition of "The Complete Works of Aristotle" in fall of 2001 for my freshman year Ancient Philosophy Class. This prompts two questions in regards to Amazon's targeted advertising:

(1) Has my lack of Aristotle purchases within the past 6 years been taken into account, and

(2) If they sold me the "complete" works before, why would they e-mail me to sell me something I should already have?

Wes Anderson was the Best Thing about the Oscars

Unfortunately, as far as I am aware, Sidney Poitier did not make it into this year's set of Oscar Montages. Nonetheless, my other "this will inevitably happen at the oscars prediction" did come true-- it did run long. I have no idea what the planned broadcast length was, but by 12AM they were just about to roll onto the best actors/actress/director/film, and at that point I just gave up and lost interest. I'm fairly certain that the only experience more grueling than watching the Oscars from your living room would be having to watch the Oscars in person.

In summary, I am most certain that my favorite moments of the 79th Academy Awards were the following:

(1) Wes Anderson American Express Commercial



Complete with Jason Schwartzman, and aside from the last bit where the camera rig goes into the sky, it appears to be done all in one take (like the opening sequence of Harold and Maude and the sequence in Royal Tenenbaums with the firetruck and the priest being put into the ambulance). Maybe there's a way to cut as big things pass right in front of the camera, but at the very least, it looks it.

(2) Michael Mann film/montage on America and the Movies

I unfortunately could not find a clip of this. It did have something of a disjointed feel, as opposed to the typical sentimental and flowing they-call-me-mr.tibbs Oscar montage, and was at the very least provocative of a few questions on how exactly movies characterize America (or at least, how does Michael Mann think that they do). The inclusion of Rutger Hauer in a scene from Blade Runner, lots of KKK footage, and an absence of segments with leading female roles prompts at least a few questions for further consideration.

I guess now I'll look up who won.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

What Other People Accomplished by the time they were your age.

Lifehacker.com had a post to something the "Museum of Conceptual Art" put up:

Things Other People Accomplished
When They Were Your Age


I'm not certain whether this tool is meant to be edifying or depressing.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Producers Plus Danza Equals Quits


Playbill.com reads:

"Producers to End April 22; Young Frankenstein Is Booked Into St. James
The Mel Brooks-Thomas Meehan hit musical comedy The Producers will, like the titular Leo and Max, walk into the sunset April 22. The musical will have played 33 previews and 2,502 regular performances at the St. James."

And the picture and caption to the left:



Tony Danza is currently starring in The Producers.




I am reminded of David Hasslehoff starring in the final (and archived) performance of Jekyll and Hyde. Will The Producers forever be immortalized in the Lincoln Center Archives with Tony Danza in the lead? And can you think of Tony Danza without thinking of "THE Tony Danza"? Full article from playbill.com here

Saturday, January 20, 2007

So Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards walk into a bar, and...


Clinton launches 2008 White House bid

By BETH FOUHY and MARC HUMBERT, Associated Press Writers 45 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Democratic Sen.
Hillary Rodham Clinton embarked on a widely anticipated campaign for the White House on Saturday, a former first lady intent on becoming the first female president [...] Clinton's announcement, days after Sen. Barack Obama shook up the contest race with his bid to become the first black president, establishes the most diverse political field ever. Clinton is considered the front-runner, with Obama and 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards top contenders.

Full article on yahoo news here.


In recent news, John Edwards was also praised for being the first potential white male lawyer-turned-politician to become president.

You can't help but feel at least a little sorry for John Edwards. Regardless of his chances of winning, he just may not have people's attention-- when was the last time in recent weeks you've heard anyone fervently curious about whether or not he'd run, at least, likely not to any degree that could hold a candle to the curiosity of the "firsts" that Obama or Clinton could pull off.

I remember in my junior or senior year of high school, John Edwards being the "hot young up and coming" senator, but it would seem as if he jumped some sort of shark, or just jumped too far in recent years. As John Kerry's running mate, there was little memorable, except for a boyish enthusiasm, and a huge smile worthy of late night parody. The same potential could be there for Barack Obama, another young up and coming senator, with a record demanding scrutiny on grounds of experience.

I am extremely curious what the voter turn out/demographics information will be when it comes time for the polls. Will black voter turnout increase? Will female voter turnout increase? And, will either of these be decisive factors? Data probably exists somewhere, precedents of other races, but there would likely be no recent grounds for comparison to a similar race that would draw such national and media attention as the 2008 election (or more specifically, Democratic primaries) will.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

John Mayer and the Opposite of Terrorism

Says John Mayer in between sets at the MacWorld Expo:

"Steve Jobs and Apple Inc just kind of make life more fun. It's like the exact opposite of terrorism."

- at 1:52:01 in the Apple MacWorld Keynote video


Just when John Mayer had almost impressed me, something like this happens.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

It's New Year's. But Why?

The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon (actually the first visible cresent) after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring).

The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.


Full page here.

I think I learned in school that New Year's is the day when the Earth completes one full rotation around the sun. As this site points out, however, that really might as well be any day at all.

Technically, each person's specific "New Year" would be their birthday, but I don't begrudge the holiday and its given meaning on any of theses counts.