Archive for the ‘blakestuchin’ Category

The Points List

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Like many people, I sometimes respond to things that I like by saying “that gets points in my book.” In lieu of a book, here’s my first attempt at a blog post of Things People Do That Get Points from me. Bear in mind that there’s no point value or scale to these, just the ambiguous “Points” or “Slightly Fewer Points.”

– Being able to play Ultimate (slightly fewer points: being able to throw a Frisbee)
– Ability to drive a tractor and willingness to teach me
– Love of rock music, particularly live
– Being on Twitter (slightly fewer points: knowing what Twitter is)
– Voting
– Displaying an interest in the history of American presidents, particularly Teddy Roosevelt
– Passion
– Having a blog
– Reading mine
– Liking the film Slackers
– Excellent abilites with building sandcastles and/or snowmen
– Harboring a belief that any of the following bands represented the most significant musical movement of the last twenty years: Nirvana, Radiohead, Beck (slightly fewer points: being able to articulate an eloquent argument why you disagree with that statement)
– Insightful debate
– Demonstrated interest in web2.0 services
– A paid subscription to Salon.com (slightly fewer points: regularly reading Salon.com)
– Smiling at strangers
– Avid readership of any of the following journalists and/or blogs: Bill Simmons, Chuck Klosterman, King Kaufman, Whitney Matheson, Deadspin, 100% Injury Rate)
– Daydrinking
– Excellent grammar, particularly with semicolons
– Being a fan of the Buffalo Bills
– A desire to attend events simply because they seem odd, unusual, or totally random
– Laughing at my jokes
– Getting my jokes and laughing at how not funny they are
– Genuineness
– Enjoying ice and/or rock climbing
– Possession of a bartending license
– Ownership of your own bowling ball
– Knowledge of any martial art, particularly the type where you can break bricks with a bare hand
– Cooking skills
– Knife skills
– Foosball skills

History Dorks in Action

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

this are my friends.

Blake Stuchin Thu, Nov 8, 2007 at 9:21 AM
To: Arielle Goren
Have to use up the points and the only thing interesting is one of the NYT American Presidents bio series. I’m in a founding father’s kick so I’m staying with that. Should I get the book on Madison or the one on Monroe? I only have enough points for one of the two.

Arielle J. Goren Thu, Nov 8, 2007 at 9:26 AM
To: Blake Stuchin
i have heard GREAT things about that madison book, meanwhile the only
think i really know about james monroe is that he had a colossal
schnoz, so my vote is madison.

Don’t call it a comeback

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Anytime I don’t write anything here for awhile, I start to feel like the significance of the “first post back” is that much greater than my typically irreverent writing. That then gets in my head and I start to overthink what I might write, thereby destroying the ability to ramble along as stream-of-consciously as I would like. So I’m going to try to just jump back into things. Forgive me if I’m rusty.

We’ll start with news of the day, three items for the third day of the week:

1. There was a fire last night on 17th Street. Steph smelled smoke at about 11:30. I, of course, smelled nothing because as you all know, smell is the worst of my five senses since I produce more snot than most third world countries. There were firetrucks and lots of noise until a little past midnight. When I left the apartment this morning, I could still smell the smoke. Here’s the Post’s story on it.

2. NY Mag’s cover story this week on Steve Jobs is one of the best I’ve read on him (and on Apple) in quite awhile. Be warned that it’s long (it’s a 7 page spread in the magazine itself) but it’s really terrific. Considering how much time we all spend obsessing over Apple, and obsessing about our obsessing over Apple, this piece seems to nail the equal parts narcissist and genius that make up Jobs. I suggest you all print a copy and read it on the can.


3. If my email were TV Guide, this would be a rerun. For some reason I think Will will really enjoy this.
Brash Young Floor Trader Trying To Rally Dow All By Self

Here but not forgotten

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Forgive me, fair reader, I’ve been neglect in fulfilling my posting duties. I’ll be back soon.

Things I Learned in College, Part II

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Source: Flickr

I don’t like tests, I find them useless. So I didn’t take tests after my sophomore year of college. Instead, I developed an elaborate, basically insane but wonderfully enriching method of choosing courses. The end result was that I spent an absurd amount of time course shopping each semester, as well as hondling and petitioning with professors to cater to me. Ninety nine percent of the time, the alternative program that I proposed involved me doing more work (”Instead of your test, I’ll write a 10 page research report on [insert esoteric topic here]“). In the end, I got my degree on time from my nice school in Philadelphia without bothering to complete my history requirement, life science requirement, or most of my humanities core requirements. And I didn’t take a foreign language.

The other day I came across this brief piece I wrote back in the fall of my junior year when I was applying to join a leadership organization at Penn. I believe the question I was responding to had something to do with the type of way in which I show leadership, rather than following. Yes I really wrote this, and yes it’s really true:

Each semester, I aim to take at least one class on a topic about which I know absolutely nothing. The course must have a professor who will captivate me, and students who share my desire to learn. To find such classes, I treat course shopping like guerrilla warfare. This semester alone, I’ve enrolled in and attended 14 different courses so far just to settle with the 4 that I am currently taking. The result is that in my two years here, I’ve taken seminars on middle eastern gender studies, travel writing, trickery, comparative history of genocide, and, currently, love and death in Japanese drama.


Some friends of mine have asked me over the years to try to write about how I approached this maniacal process. It always varied from semester to semester, but here’s a shortlist of what I looked for in my classes:
- Class does not meet before 10:30am
- Class does not meet more than twice a week
- Class does not meet in a building more than 4 blocks from my apartment
- Class does not require gratuitous use of Blackboard
- Classroom has at least two windows, preferably facing south
- Professor must speak English as a first language, or understand enough of the language to know what a 6-4-3 double play is
- Professor must show ability to make jokes
- If professor laughs at own jokes, jokes must be funny
- Class does not require that I take tests
- Class rewards in-class participation
- Class does not contain more than three members of the basketball team

I like lists

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Source: Flickr

I make lots of lists. Probably because I’m really bad at doodling. For example, here’s a list of some things that I’m good at:

1. Miniature Sports
2. Spelling
3. Watching TV shows about painting
4. Not being a criminal
5. Making lists of stuff

I am working on a list of things that I want to learn over the summer and will post it here when I have it ready.

Shameless Self-Promotion

Friday, March 30th, 2007

An Apartment Therapy blogger named Chris actually quoted me from my silly little post about the new Whole Foods on the Bowery. Guess I should start using my Technorati Profile after all.

Longing for the days of Alex’s MVP and R&L Galleries

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

Source: Flickr

I cleaned my room at my parents’ apartment this weekend (more on that in a future post), throwing away thousands of my baseball cards. Good ones, too, not just “commons.” Even 10 years ago, this would have been unfathomable to me, let alone 15 years ago, when my collection probably could have been sold to a dealer for at least a few thousand dollars. Now the market for the cards is a fraction of what it once was, and the few cards I chose to keep were those that I saved more for sentimentality than any value that they might have once possessed.

Mark McGwire’s once sought-after 1985 Topps rookie card (the ‘84 Olympic team card) is being listed on eBay for around $10. I was collecting baseball cards at exactly the time that their market reached unprecedented heights, and I remember when a PSA 10 of that McGwire card alone (and I had 2) could fetch upwards of $1,000. That card wasn’t even the gem of my collection. At one point, I had the ‘87 Classic Bo Jackson, the ‘83 Topps Traded Darryl Strawberry, and the ‘90 Leaf Frank Thomas. Actually, Danny had that one, and I wanted it so bad. I’ve got a ‘78 Eddie Murray, a ‘79 Ozzie Smith, and even an ‘89 Upper Deck Ken Griffey, Jr, the card that some say created the baseball card industry’s feeding frenzy of the early 1990’s. But man I wanted that Frank Thomas card.

There’s a legion of kids about my age who believed that they’d one day become price guide-authoring, pre-blogger-era media superstars like their hero, the inimitable Dr. James Beckett. We never learned what the Dr. was for anyway.

For those dorky enough to remember it all, here’s a trip down memory lane with some of my favorite cards:

The infamous 1988 Fleer Billy Ripken error card. Someone on the ‘88 Orioles team thought it would be funny to write “Fuck Face” at the bottom of Billy’s bat during picture day (it was). Billy had a fairly indistinguished 12-year career as a second baseball for some crappy teams in the the light hitting late 80’s-pre-power-surge era of steroid-free baseball, but the card’s popularity was increased by the fact that Billy is Cal’s little brother. Fleer pulled the card shortly after the error was discovered, but a few thousand were already out there. I pulled mine out of a rack pack sometime around 1991, an experience which, when prorated for my age and maturity at the time, ranks somewhere below seeing Beck in concert (really good) and above getting promoted at my first job (pretty decent) in the pantheon of my own memories. I am such a loser.

1987 Classic Bo Jackson, the “football/baseball” crossover rookie card. Classic cards weren’t even meant to be collectibles, they were part of a trivia board game that could be played with the cards, and ‘87 was the first of several Classic series. This wasn’t even really an official Bo Jackson rookie card, but because Classic made such a limited run in its first year, the card’s rarity drove its value way up during the “Bo Knows Bo” era. I got this card in 1989 when I was at Westchester Summer Day camp. We were brought into some building to play board games during a rainy day, and I found the original Classic board game buried underneath several editions of Chutes & Ladders. I also remember that I saw Rocky for the first time that day, followed immediately by Rocky II and, the next day, Rocky III and Rocky IV. Looking back on it, I think I just had a counselor who was really into Rocky.

1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey, Jr. card. If memory serves me right, this was card #1 in the set. Being card #1 was always a big deal, but it was particularly significant considering that this was Upper Deck’s very first set and Griffey was drafted straight out of Moeller high school and had not yet even played a day of pro ball (nor would he ever play in the minors). Upper Deck was the first company to include a hologram on their cards. And yeah, I’m writing all of this from memory. I don’t remember how I got this card, but clearly, I could have used some other hobbies when I was 9.

1981 Topps Harold Baines rookie card. I love this card. Despite the fact that the card is from the early ’80’s, everything says “70’s” about it to me, from the ugly ass colors, to the cheap design, to Baines’ amazing facial hair. I got this card when my uncle went to a tag sale and paid $3 to some guy for a binder filled with a bunch of cards from the 1980’s, including an entire page of nothing but Vince Coleman cards, and 6 Oddibe McDowells. What a sweet binder.


Darryl Strawberry ‘83 Topps Traded rookie card. I got the ‘83 Strawberry in that same binder that my uncle bought for three bucks. Topps Traded was always an awesome series because while the regular Topps set was issued in advance of the season (usually around spring training), the “traded” set would come out toward the end of the season and would include cards of the players who had been traded to new teams, as well as any hot rookies. Strawberry was the big winner in ‘83, Kevin Maas was the guy in ‘90. Kevin Maas was awesome.

Frank Thomas 1990 Leaf rookie. The 1990 Leaf series was the first that I can remember where a company that already had an existing brand (Donruss) issued a fancy, premium brand (Leaf) that collectors went nuts over. I was so jealous that Danny had this card. I think I still am.

How I Consume Media

Monday, March 12th, 2007

Source: Flickr.

I always get annoyed when I tell someone about something that I read, usually something along the lines of “Did you know that the AP is attempting to not cover Paris Hilton for one week?” and I’m asked how I have time to read “that stuff.” It’s always one of those “you know lots of weird stuff, you must have tons of free time” comments. This is a comment that’s both annoying and ignorant, and almost only comes from people who don’t understand how tech savvy, media-literate people my age interact with each other. Sounds pretentious, but

For the more curious and less foolish among you, I get most of my news from the feeds on my blogroll, which you can read in the sidebar on the right hand column of this page. This enables me to scan headlines on around 40 sites a day in just a few minutes. I also check the NY Times online most days and read Salon every day because, as my friends know, I am the world’s only paying subscriber to Salon.com.

For those who understand these sorts of things, I love RSS and think that the company that finds a way to make an RSS product for the masses will make a killing. The word “RSS,” of course, won’t be in any of the marketing materials in order for this to be a success. For now, I use Bloglines.

I do not read five newspapers a day.

Reasons to Watch Television

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

Source: VH1

I love reality television. Hell, I support reality television. Surreal Life Fame Games is a joy. Sure, watching it makes me feel a little bit worse about myself as a person and about how I choose to spend my time with my expensive education. But I also learned that I thankfully do not have the low self esteem of CeCe Deville, the rage of Vanilla Ice, or the complete bitchiness of Verne Troyer. Surreal Life Fame Games has taught me that minor celebrities have no sense of irony, unless they get naked for a living and apparently appeared on the cover of a Girls Gone Wild music collection. I know what you’re thinking… Joe Francis has a record label? Is it better than MusicSpace.com? (Answer: No. Nothing is better than Save the 90’s except maybe the newly released Monster Ballads Platinum Edition.

Tonight I watched the Surreal Life Fame Games celebrity phone bank challenge, where the B list cast was asked to call their B list friends and get them to call them back. Among the “stars” who called back… Frank Stallone. Joey Buttafuco. And big-time star, Carrot Top. No word on whether Carrot Top’s crazy muscles called back, too. Do you think you can book Ron Jeremy just to name drop people for an hour? Because I’d pay $12 for that.

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