Goodbye BVIMy time in the BVI has come to an end, and while I'm looking forward to getting back home, I'll miss the beauty of the sea, the warmth of the people, and that certain je ne sais quoi that makes my hair look much better here than it does in New York. It's a shame that I spent more than half of my time here indoors writing b school applications, but if I had to be stuck somewhere writing these essays, I suppose this is just about the nicest place I can be.
Labels: crapPermalink • 0 comments •
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
so meta(12:42:55) Keshav Lall: what are you going right now?
(12:43:16) Blake Stuchin: sitting at the office typing an IM to keshav
Labels: crapPermalink • 0 comments •
Monday, November 19, 2007
Reason #4,918 that I can't live in Southern CaliforniaHow do you make smalltalk if you live in San Diego? How do you awkwardly talk to strangers when it's always nice out? "Nice day, huh?" Maybe talk about the Padres? These are things I think that I'd like to learn. Permalink • 0 comments •
Weather BabbleIt's 4:25 in the afternoon, why is it pitch black in midtown? Winter sucks. It's 39 degrees outside, it's dark by 3pm and it's been raining at some point every day for a week. Permalink • 0 comments •
Sunday, October 07, 2007
surf dudes with attitude... kinda groovyTonight at a party I made references to Kris Kross, Joey Lawrence's music career, and the TV show California Dreams. No one had any idea what I was talking about. I feel old.
Labels: crapPermalink • 0 comments •
Friday, September 21, 2007
Last Person WatchingHas there ever been a bigger trainwreck to a live reality TV finale show than Wednesday's conclusion to Last Comic Standing? What happened to this once watchable program? The show hasn't had any credibility in the comedy world since Dat Phan won the first season, but at least they've traditionally had good talent leading up the finals. The first four seasons brought us Rich Vos, Todd Glass, Kathleen Madigan, Alonzo Bodden and Jay London. Even Gary Gulman seemed funny when I first saw him do his I-am-a-gigantic-Jew routine. And at this year's auditions we got the amazing comedic stylings of Mel Silverback, the world's first stand up gorilla, whose act was easily the best two minutes of the entire season.
But back to the atrocious season finale of this year's garbage fest. After eliminating all the good performers in the early rounds (thanks America!) we were left with the funny-when-you-can-understand-him LaVell Crawford, and the not-very-funny-but-certainly-quite-excitable Jon Reep. The two hour I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Cable schlockfest featured special guest performers Carrot Top, a bunch of puppets, and some guy whose entire act is an impression of John Madden. I couldn't make that up if I wanted to. This is NBC, the network that gave Jerry Seinfeld a show, and this is the best that they could come up with for guests on their season finale. Carrot Top? Really? Was Sinbad not available? And the guy who did the impression of John Madden... I spend half my week thinking about fantasy football and I don't even find that guy funny.
Oh and Dane Cook! They had Dane Cook! The internet loves Dane Cook! What does this say about the LCS season finale that it was so grossly unwatchable that I found myself actually thinking "gee Dane Cook is coming up at least he's a real comic, maybe he'll be good." And I hate Dane Cook. But I digress... so when Dane Cook came on, he didn't even do his act, he just showed a clip of his new movie with Jessica Alba, did 30 seconds of unrehearsed talk show style blather with Bill Bellamy, and then walked out. I actually felt cheated. What's worse - thinking that I was about to see totally unfunny stand up from totally unfunny Dane Cook, or actually feeling gipped that totally unfunny Dane Cook didn't even bother to do totally unfunny stand up, he just stood there.
Thank God they gave five minutes to Robert Schimmel. At least one person at NBC still understands that if you're going to do a show about stand up comedy, it helps to have funny comedians.
TVSquad panned the episode, too. Permalink • 0 comments •
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
This Week in crazy
Two fun stories about crazy people today. In celebrity crazy, David Hasselhoff lost visitation privileges of his children "for two weeks after the public leak of a videotape showing an apparently drunken Hasselhoff struggling to eat a cheeseburger while on the floor of his Las Vegas home."
And in sports crazy, Devil Rays rookie Elijah Dukes served up a
delightful pile of unrelenting nonsense crazy on a Tampa radio station. Among the gems:
"Ni'Shea Dukes, who you also called ... featuring as a good wife and a stand-up type of person, is not so stand-up after all," Dukes said. "First of all you need to get a little bit of her background. She was not born as a Paris Hilton or nothing like that to be trying to talk all proper. ... You all need to go to the house and see what I've done for my kids. ... If she wouldn't have been trying to steal my money the whole time we've been trying to talk, we would probably still be together right now. Everything is about money."
On Gilbert's claim that Duke told her his mom had a crack problem, Dukes said: "First of all, I never said nothing about crack because I don't know nothing about crack. ... I never told anyone my mom smoked crack."
On the alleged report that he impregnated a 17-year-old: "Me and her did something one time, and it was not even close to the time she conceived this baby. I know for a fact it's not mine."
Thanks to Danny for the tip on this one. 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 •
Trying to get work done here at home and it occurs to me that I'm totally unproductive when there's music on in the background. TV doesn't bother me in the same way, especially live sports that are not in the last two minutes of a game, but for some reason I get really into music and find myself focusing on lyrics more than on completing whatever task on which I'm working. 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 •
Thursday, March 15, 2007
How to Fix Everything: BlackboardBlackboard Learning System, an online learning tool designed for students and their professors to be able to share documents and collaborate. Blackboard is used by hundreds of universities, and smartly fills a necessary niche in the world of academia.
Its design and interface is terrible, however, and seven years since I was first introduced to Blackboard as a freshman, I don't see a single upgrade to the core application. The app is using the same horrendously ugly navigational elements, with the same mid-90's-style page refreshes on each click. The discussion tools have not changed at all, and searching to find documents is a nightmare. The nav tools still don't really mean anything. This stuff reminds me why I always hated it when classes used Blackboard for anything (and this is despite being a huge nerd myself).
I genuinely hope that there are better tools than Blackboard out there now to college students, but in lieu of that, here's what I'd do if I redesigned Blackboard:
- Build in social networking features. One of the biggest problems with Blackboard as a student is that rather than being something cool, it's an educational tool that feels like one. I'd integrate Blackboard directly into Facebook (something every college student uses constantly now anyway) so that student responses to reading and homework that used to go on Blackboard's communication pages (often a requirement for liberal arts classes) would now be posted on Facebook. For privacy's sake, the material would function like a Facebook wall viewable only to those in the class, and would also appear as a new item in students' news feeds.
- Rebuild the entire thing using AJAX technologies. This one's a no-brainer. Blackboard is and has always been hideously slow, owing to the fact that as far as I can tell, it hasn't been recoded since about 2000. I'd rewrite the thing to make each "class site" navigation function without any page refreshes. Use ajax, use flash, whatever. I don't care, just fix it. I'd give noogies to every programmer who insists that each course page needs to spawn its own window. This is an educational tool, not a mid-90's banner ad for a porn site.
- Fix the awful navigation and use taggging to make files easy to search and sort. This is sort of a corollary to #2. I remember that as an undergrad, my professors who used Blackboard would invariably post all course files to one nav element, such as "Course Documents" or "Assignments," but almost never filtered appropriately. I could never find any of the course docs, and the subnav elements don't even make sense. Why is the "Announcements" list in the left column nav and then also as an element in the sub nav for "Communications?" I'm not a UI designer, but there's got to be a better way to organize this material.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Pete Rose is an idiotthis ESPN story, Pete Rose admitted not only that he bet on baseball, but also that he bet on the Reds to win every night. Appearing on the Dan Patrick/Keith Olbermann ESPN Radio show, he said that he hopes to be reinstated in baseball so that he can manage again. Says Rose, "[It's] all about dollars, Dan and Keith. If I was ever reinstated. If an owner don't want to win and draw people, don't call my number," Rose said.
Pete Rose is a lying, cheating, greedy man. I'm not sure what book he's promoting this time that he's coming forward and coming clean, but I'm sure that he has some kind of ulterior motive in doing so. At least he could have the decency to do something really crazy to merit falling into that "wacky ex-athlete" category of celebs that we love or love to hate, like Mike Tyson and Charles Barkley. Permalink • 0 comments •
Monday, March 12, 2007
At least some channels still show music
The first concert I can remember that was this dizzying was Britney Spears' Onyx Hotel tour, which I remember being a big, splashy, nauseating HD mess. And yes, I watched it. Go ahead and judge me, I don't care. Permalink • 0 comments •
But do they have TUP?
Doug Gottlieb just said that he likes that a team plays "inside out" when discussing three consecutive matchup discussions. I love March Madness.
Also, Wikipedia just taught me that Doug Gottlieb is a convicted felon. Thanks Wikipedia! Permalink • 0 comments •
Friday, March 09, 2007
what's in a name, or why i shouldn't write stream of consciousness
When I was working in pharmaceutical marketing, I always laughed about drug names, which I still believe are generated by throwing anywhere from 5 to 14 darts on a consonant dart board and then adding vowels where it seems appropriate to form a new fake-word-slash-drug-name.
I learned today that the FDA's website contains a searchable, sortable list of all drug name filings. Sure enough, looking through the site confirms that most drug names are terrible. They don't describe the product, and they sound almost as arcane as the scientific names of the active ingredient from which they're based.
For example, Novartis received approval on Monday of a drug called Tekturna which, according to the impossibly difficult-to-read label information, is some kind of renin inhibitor. The active ingredient is Aliskiren, which sounds kind of like either a girl I had a crush on in middle school, or a German lager that's rich in hops. I have no idea what renin is or why we want to inhibit it, but it's one syllable away from a Russian revolutionary, and clearly communism is not the answer, so let's go ahead and block it.
I prefer the non-FDA approved names like HeadOn. Got a headache? Go for HeadOn. Simple and to the point. If I could rename Viagra, I'd call it PenisUp. Then when the revenue started to flatline, I'd add an exclamation point to the name and introduce "PenisUp! Extreme." Also this reminds me that I think websites could have an amusing extreme spinoff division. Amazon Extreme! for example, would be like normal Amazon but obviously much more extreme. I think that just means it would get a bike rack, but I'm not sure. 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 •
Saturday, March 03, 2007
how to fix everything: pandas for peace
I'm not a political blogger, but I have the solution to how we can get out of the war in Iraq. Instead of 20,000 more troops, 20,000 pandas. We get thousands of pandas and drop them into the heart of the Middle East. Would anyone ever shoot a panda? No. They're adorable. Israel-Palestine? Pandas. African civil wars? Pandas. North Korea? Communist pandas. Panda politics will save the world from itself with bamboo shoots of love. 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 •
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
don't copy that floppyFrom 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. Permalink • 0 comments •
dave lerman: our pillow paparazzo
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. Permalink • 0 comments •
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Baby Tyrwhitt: Now with irony
Source: Charles Tyrwhitt Rose Double T-Shirt.
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
Labels: crapPermalink • 1 comments •
This post has been removed by the author.
Come Fly With Us, Martin TupperToday 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.
Labels: crapPermalink • 0 comments •
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Drink Liquor, Capture SharkCANBERRA - A fisherman fueled by vodka caught a 4-foot shark and wrestled it onto a jetty on Australia's south coast, suffering only small tear marks in his trousers, media reports said on Friday. ...
"It's not something I'd recommend to do," he said. "When I sobered up I thought about it and I said, 'I'm a bit of an idiot doing it'."
Link (Reuters via MSNBC)
Labels: crapPermalink • 0 comments •
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Can Kevin Mitchell Come, Too?
I'd like to have 1989 Will Clark walking around with me everywhere I went to give me advice and drive in the runner from second. I'd walk around the streets in normal clothes, but Will would always be in his uniform with his spikes and eye black on. He seems like he would give good advice. Permalink • 0 comments •
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Better than anything he ever said to Winnie Cooper
I believe that everyone should have a favorite Fred Savage line. Mine is "you said no new games!" from The Wizard. Permalink • 1 comments •
Mine isn't so much a quote, as it was simply the time in "The Wonder Years" when FredSav made out with a hot, gum-chewing blonde who was supposed to be dating his brother, and when they finished kissing her gum was in his mouth.
For a young teenage boy, that's pretty much the 2nd awesomest thing that could happen, short of watching the debut of Super Mario Bros 3 in a major motion picture.
My favorite Van Peebles is Martin.
Labels: crapPermalink • 0 comments •