Archive for February, 2007

a hale & hearty birthday

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Matt, Sam, Ben, Bob, Bobbo, and I took Lerman to Hale & Hearty today to celebrate both (a) the end of the “Mac and Cheese and Beef Soup” February Monthly Special; and (b) Dave’s 25th birthday. The birthday boy was in good spirits and we all enjoyed our disease-inducing pseudo-soup. Who doesn’t love an event.

Clear eyes, clogged arteries, can’t lose.




things i learned in college

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

I learned many things in college. At the end of my freshman year, my adviser, a kind but rather serious woman sent a blanket email to her 15 or so advisees, asking us to share any advice that we might have for her incoming class of 15 new advisees in the fall. This is what I actually sent her:
 
 

Dr. Burnham,
Per your request, here are some of the most valuable things I have learned throughout my first year in college:
1. There is no Mama John.
2. If you try to microwave rice in its original container for more than 26 seconds, it will emit smoke on the 18th second and cause a small fire on the 27th second.
3. Playing with the fire extinguisher may look like fun but in the end your hallway will look like a giant chalkboard.
4. If you sit on the top of the school-issued wooden chairs long enough, the wood will start to rip apart until eventually you fall out of your chair one day in a Saturday Night Live-esque moment.
5. You will always buy too much milk.
6. Do not try to be tongue-in-cheek because no one will get it.

Best to your new students,
Blake

It should come as no surprise here that I did not date much as a freshman.

don’t copy that floppy

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

From the Where Are They Now pile, a “Don’t Copy That Floppy” PSA from the early 90’s.


Source: Google Video via Motion Abbey

No Carmen San Diego
No Oregon Trail
Tetris and the other
They’re all gonna fail
Not because you won it
But because you’re just takin’ it
Disrespectin’ all the folks that are makin’ it

Wow, there are so many things that I love here. The inspired PC-friendly casting… The utterly ludicrous lyrics… The mullet-jockey programmers who show up three minutes in… The rapper wearing his button down with the top button buttoned like he’s Parker Lewis… Top notch all the way.

My favorite thing, though is the takeaway message. I was about the same age as the kids featured in this video when this was made and I’m fairly confident that very few of my friends had any idea how to copy an installed game from a hard drive to a floppy, let alone do it at school. Had we seen this during the weekly Go-to-the-Library-and-watch-poorly-made-PSAs-hour that we called Health class, however, it probably would have just inspired more kids to steal software (”they can’t stop people from copying, it’s too easy”). No wonder it was my generation that brought us Napster. While some software manufacturers were no doubt hurt by the ease of copying in the nascent era of floppy-based gaming, copying ran rampant and all it did was serve to grow a fledging industry and raise legions of kids who, now in their 30’s, are still gaming and paying for it.

But man does that rapper bring some energy. Think he does bar mitzvahs? I have an event this Friday, maybe I can get him to wear the button up and the 8 ball jacket, too.

dave lerman: our pillow paparazzo

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Source: Rocketboom

Holy media whore, Batman! Rocketboom’s video of the pillow fight features none other than our own i-banker-cum-gothamist-photog-whore Dave Lerman. Eat your heart out, Amanda Congdon.

so much for having a good eye

Monday, February 26th, 2007

Took my parents to the Armory Show this weekend and saw several great artists whose work I’m completely unfamiliar with. My parents loved a Korean painter who, we were told, “spends 17 hours a day on his works and approaches painting like meditation.” They were drawn to a piece that I guess can be called a hyper-realism still life of a stack of books. I’m doing a lousy job of describing the work, but it’s a stunning piece of exquisite detail.

Over at another gallery’s space, I was drawn to a piece that was made up of elaborate line drawings, sketched with graphite on looseleaf and small paper scraps. Put together, the collage looked like a beautifully detailed comic book montage. I asked about the artist, Zak Smith, took the gallery director’s card, and felt very good about myself for educating myself on a talented new artist. Then I got home and learned that Zak Smith is actually a Cooper Union and Yale-educated artist and porn star. His piece at The Armory Show was not particularly erotic, but I find this whole thing pretty entertaining. Ambitious (and clean) as the pieces were, I’m not expecting to purchase any of his art anytime soon.

feathers of love

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

Source: Dave Lerman.

Today I learned that few things are more fun on a Saturday afternoon than a massive, 1,000 person pillow fight. I was interviewed with Bob by a French TV show (I’m horrified about what might come of that), made friends with a bumblebee, and hit hundreds of people over the head with my 499 pieces of down cotton awesomeness. The center of the pillowfight felt more like the middle of a rugby scrum than it did some kind of ironic hipster joke; it was so packed that I could barely raise my arms over my head to strike one of my meticulously practiced pillow knockout blows. Perhaps I was too eager for the catharsis…

All was well and amusing as the 4 of us started to leave after our hour or so of pillow fighting. Then, walking back along 14th street, some crazed middle-aged woman began yelling at us and telling us that the feathers we were releasing into the air was producing “enough dust to cause air conditioner clogging for 3 weeks.” She then started yelling at us calling us everything from irresponsible to racist - with no basis for any of this - gradually raising her voice to the point of shouting at the end of her bizarre diatribe. The outcome of this is that going forward, anytime any of my friends does something stupid, I’m going to say that you’ve now clogged my air conditioner for 3 weeks. There’s potential here.

That being said, it was really fun. It felt like there were as many photographers as there were pillow fighters, and we thought that everyone seemed to have a great time. Lots of Dave’s pics are below, plus the full show on Dave’s photoblog.



















skip lines, piss off crowds

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

Source: FlyClear.com via Thrillist.

I just read about a company called Clear that, through a special partnership with the TSA, allows air travelers to register with them to bypass check-in lines at airports. As a Clear member, you pay $99 a year to have the right to go straight to a special Clear members-only check-in station at the airport, where your bags are scanned immediately and you can proceed straight through to the gate with no hour long waits to clear security.

Clear members are pre-screened before being able to join and provided with a biometric card, which is either a fancy way of saying “card” or it means that they employ some kind of fingerprint system, I’m not sure which. Regardless, this is an intriguing program to me. Post-9/11 air travel ranges from mediocre to impossibly horrible. In light of the hundreds of cancelled flights over Presidents’ Day weekend, JetBlue created a customer Bill of Rights and issued an apology letter from their CEO, which they emailed to all of their customers and posted on their website.

Considering that air travel does not appear to be getting any easier anytime soon, I think Clear sounds like a fantastic idea. At $100 a year, Clear is a relatively low-cost way to improve the hassles and expense of airport bureaucracy. Business travelers lose thousands of hours of productivity waiting in lines at airports. The ability to skip through those lines would seem to greatly improve that.

One thing that’s unclear about Clear is how effective it will be. Currently, they’re in just one terminal at JFK, as well as Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Newark. The promise is that more are on the way, but I’m not sure how long that will take and I certainly wouldn’t join until at the very least they’re in an entire airport in NYC and not just one terminal. I’m not sure how many members they currently have, but presumably their membership is still pretty low. I also wonder what they are paying to the TSA and their employees to stay in business.

Then there’s the civil liberties question. Say that Clear works as it should and costs what they’re selling it for currently. What rights will we be giving up to take advantage of something like this? All Clear members have to provide fingerprints and pass background checks. Does the “biometric card” that Clear provides its members allow the government to track people? What else is Clear doing with their members’ data?

I’ll be interested to follow this one over the next few months/years. It could take awhile for this to catch on, and there’s the possiblity that there will be backlash similar to the way Russians have reacted to the rent-a-motorcade service that allows the wealthy to steer clear of traffic there. We’ll see what happens.

Baby Tyrwhitt: Now with irony

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Is it mean to use a baby for irony broadcasting? Because it’d be totally funny to put “now 30% off” on the back of this shirt.

Link: Baby Tyrwhitt PE T-shirt

Come Fly With Us, Martin Tupper

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Today I learned that Delta has partnered with HBO to offer unedited HBO original programming on Delta flights. I’d have much preferred to learn that Delta has found a way to make waiting in airports not suck, but I’ll take what I can get.

A Reason to Start Liking the Knicks

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

Source: NBA.com

David Lee, the stellar sophomore who’s currently the only likable player on the Knicks, scored 30 points on 14-14 shooting and won the MVP of the NBA Future Stars game tonight at All Star Weekend. I’ve written already that I don’t enjoy watching the Knicks anymore, but if the Knicks can just get rid of the entire starting lineup, Isiah Thomas, and probably Jim Dolan, there might be hope yet. Plus, once the whole roster is gone, the Knicks will have the cap room to pursue LeBron.

On another note, I’m watching the McDonald’s Celebrity All-Star game right now. Following a Jim Gray softball interview with Barry Bonds, Tom Tolbert went off in no particular direction about the impact of Barry Bonds’ hitting 756. That’s three minutes of my life that I can never get back.

All Rights Reserved Copyright © 2008 Design by StyleShout and Clazh