Web2.0 Applications I Couldn't Live Without
I love Michael Arrington's 2008 Web2.0 Companies I Couldn't Live Without list, so here's mine in response. With the exception of Kayak, which is a lifesaver for trip planning but I only use it a few times a year, I use all of the items on this list daily. Some thoughts:
- Without Google, I'd basically be incapable of functioning
- And it's really close to the same with SeamlessWeb, too
- I love Twitter even despite my failed efforts to get my friends to adopt it
- Speaking of one trick ponies, SimpleWeather is indispensible for its effortlessness
- As my regular readers know (hi sam!), my avid delicious use is far greater than my propensity for blogging
- Blogger, Picnik and Flickr are the backbone of this blog, although that will likely change in 2008
- At times, woot! is as much responsible for my lack of sleep as business school applications Permalink • 0 comments •
Thursday, December 27, 2007
The Points ListLike 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)
– Displaying an interest in the history of American presidents, particularly Teddy Roosevelt
– 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)
– 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
– 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
Labels: blakestuchinPermalink • 0 comments •
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Don't call it a comeback
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 Permalink • 0 comments •
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Here but not forgotten
Forgive me, fair reader, I've been neglect in fulfilling my posting duties. I'll be back soon. Permalink • 0 comments •
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Things I Learned in College, Part II
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 Permalink • 0 comments •
Friday, March 30, 2007
I like lists
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
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. Permalink • 0 comments •
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. Permalink • 0 comments •
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Longing for the days of Alex's MVP and R&L Galleries
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. Permalink • 2 comments •
While I am honored to be the cause of such jealousy...it's poorly directed. Very.
If my memory serves me, not only did I NOT have that card, but a certain friend of mine did. Blake Stuchin. He owned such a card, and what a glorious card it was.
If my memory serves me even more, my foolhardy friend, Blake Stuchin, traded the Frank Thomas 1990 Leaf for an Ernie Banks card. The trading partner in this swap? My brother. David Abramson.
Months later, Blake would realize his mistake. So silly was this was move that he would choose to block it out of his memory completely. He did learn one thing from this traumatizing ordeal....
When it comes to trading baseball cards, don't fuck with David Abramson.
Wow, really? I honestly don't remember that at all. I guess there are some memories so traumatic that they merit being bottled up forever.
I wonder if Dave will trade me the Frank Thomas now for a Tony Gwynn '87 Topps O-Pee-Chee, an bucket filled with Vanilla Wafers. I know I'd make that deal.
Monday, March 12, 2007
How I Consume Media
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. Permalink • 0 comments •
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Reasons to Watch Television
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. Permalink • 0 comments •
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
a hale & hearty birthday
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
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:
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,
It should come as no surprise here that I did not date much as a freshman. Permalink • 0 comments •
Monday, February 26, 2007
so much for having a good eye
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. Permalink • 0 comments •
Saturday, February 24, 2007
feathers of love
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.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
A Reason to Start Liking the Knicks
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. Permalink • 0 comments •
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Anyone out there seen 1998?Considering how much media content I take in from external sources daily, I decided to start a new blog a few weeks ago. I never thought it would be such a pain to get going. It's been at least 5 years since I've written anything more than the most basic of code, but this would have taken me 3 hours when I was 16. It took two weeks, and I'm not even working off an original design. At least I can work off of this now.
While the spirit of this blog is to write about things that I've learned, here's a list of things that I used to know and at which I'm now more or less a complete incompetent:
Rollerblading. I played inline hockey for six years, then I grew six inches and can now barely stand on skates. If I went to a rink, I'd probably look like Clyde Drexler in Pros vs. Joes.
Drinking 48 ounces of a cold beverage in less than 3 minutes. Actually, I don't think I could ever do this.
Watching the Knicks. Also "Rooting for the Knicks."
Labels: blakestuchinPermalink • 0 comments •
Thursday, February 01, 2007
My New HelloWorldI like learning things. I like learning about art, culture, sports, and politics. I like learning about what happens when you mix Diet Coke and Mentos. I like learning about Britney's latest flameup, Beckham's latest haircut, and how to make little origami gift boxes out a piece of 8.5x11. I don't want to be an Air Force Ranger, but I'd like to read about those who are.
This is my blog to write about the things that I've learned. I had an old blog, but this is my new one. This is going to be fun.
Labels: blakestuchinPermalink • 0 comments •