Friday, December 29, 2006

Flickr (Sad Face)

You know, I like Flickr. I really do. It's clean. It's white, the logo is well designed with two main colors, and they're beautiful.

But it saddens me that Yahoo owns it.

Sure, I'm a brand man (and in a minute I'll qualify that). And Yahoo is on my bad list. The list you get to be on after screwing with people. The list you get on for offering inferior products.

Mapquest sucks. Geocities sucked. Yahoo Chat sucks. Yahoo itself is just BAD. I hate it. Up until now I've vowed never to use something Yahoo-based. I think our list server for the Low Brass & Woodwinds section was with Yahoo -- something I've despised. I think I set it to basically not e-mail me unless someone used the list to spread information of the apocalypse or the second coming of Christ.

But then comes Flickr.

Now, before, I said I was a brand man. I would like to point out I don't blindly trust one brand until I own all of it and one day my posessions either all fall apart at once or rise up against me in some science-fiction b-movie.

But if I find a product I like, I will explore other products by the same manufacturer, and often will be swayed to use them over competitors due to factors of interoperatability or similar design.

Apple is about as good an example as I can think of. I love the design of, well, every single product they slap their name on, and I can't think of an instance when I would buy a third-party keyboard over an Apple one, even if the Apple keyboard costed a little more. This is also relevant toward Mail over, say, Thunderbird, &c.

Another good example is Duracell. While I can find no scientific proof Duracell lasts longer than Energizer of Rayovac, I find myself buying exclusively Duracell. Perhaps something left over from my childhood.

Google is the example relevant to this entry, though.

Three years ago, I thought "Gmail" was some seedy Hotmail-replacement. Then I read up on it, and was angry I had to place my name on some waiting list for an account. Much to my joy, I was e-mailed a week later with an invitation.

And I've used Google pretty much exclusively ever since. I haven't really used Calendars or Writely, because I have no use for them. But I had a Blogger account (until they came out with Blogger Beta, and allowed me to sign in with my Gmail address... Another reason why I love Google). I have a Picasa account, and I deeply wish more people would use Gmail Chat instead of AIM.

AOL is another brand I loathe. And while their current slew of television commercials lead me to believe they may be sucking less, they have a lot more to make up for than a little rebranding can do.

But that seething pile of venom-soaked opinion is for another day.

Back to Flickr.

I love Flickr. If I didn't know better, I would say it's a Google project (or, at least, a Google-absorbed project, much like Blogger, Picasa, Docs, &c.)

Heck, Flickr is more Google than Picasa. Flickr is truly free. There's no limit. There's a bandwidth limit, that's all. Without paying, you can upload as many photos as mankind can comprehend, as long as you only uplad like 2GB per month or something like that.

Not so with Picasa.

But I come to learn Yahoo have got their slimy hands on it. Now, you have to understand. Yahoo is the kind of company that, when you want to download a television-listing widget, you get a third-party piece of complete horse diarrhea that loads up your system with half a dozen Yahoo-brand "widgets," which do NOT run through Dashboard, and just eat up system space, memory and it just freaking pisses you off.

They think they're doing you a favor. They think you're a computer user too stupid to use anything, so they'll do it for you. "Don't worry, we'll take care of it."

Screw you, Yahoo.

But this doesn't seem to be happening with Flickr. Yahoo hasn't even put out a Flickr-plugin for iPhoto. They list one on their Web site, but it links to a third-party page where you have to purchase the widget from a developer. Something of which I'm glad.

I don't know about the straight Flickr-uploading software, that may be tainted with Yahoo's bile. I don't plan on using it.

Part of my interoperatability speech included iLIfe (which is a word I use to clump every Apple app that begins with i followed by a majuscule character), so I like iPhoto.

To end a painfully long rant, I'm thinking of switching to Flickr.

Google got Picasa wrong. Or, at least, Flickr had the layout first, and Google had to design something else.

Picasa's photos are square in Album view, which is ugly.

There's no easy way to post a photo on another page using PIcasa, unless you want to post a painfully small version, which links to the actual photo.

But with Flickr, I've found people posting huge images on pages, which still link to the Flickr version, but are also large enough for people to actually see.

It's a sad day when I decide a Google product just isn't working.

It's a sadder day when I'm forced to log into something using my Yahoo ID, the username and password I keep locked in a drawer somewhere, for fear they may infect my other logins.

Sad face.

Post-Christmas, Pre-New Year Limbo

So I went to Alabama for Christmas, to see my family (read: the 34 people crowed around my Grandmother's living room Christmas Day).

They tell me all of us hadn't been in that house at the same time since my Grandfather died, and that was like 10 years ago.

It was really nice to catch up with everyone. I still feel like a little kid when I go down there. There's just something about that house, the area.

Sure, it didn't really feel like Christmas. In Alabama, I think it may have snowed (flurries) once during all the times we went down there. All the other years, it's cold, but not too cold. Think of a brisk late-October day in Northeast Pennsylvania. Instead of snow, all the grass dies. All the grass. It sort of looks like a fall wasteland, but without the pretty colors. All the leaves are gone, so it looks sort of like a perpetual day-before-the-first-snowfall.

But I like it.

I flew down this time. It's only the second time I've flown intra-nationally (We flew out to Los Angeles with the Concert Band two years ago). So it's the first time I've flown to and from the same coast.

I like to fly. I think it gives you a sense of importance. Well, it gives me a sense of importance. I drive everywhere. I drive to and from work, I drive to the lake, I drive to catch a train into Manhattan. I drive to Washington, D.C.

So when I have to go through the trouble to haul my bags on a shuttle bus, stand in line and check in, and then get violated by security, it makes a person feel like they're going somewhere important, to do something worth-while.

Now I'm not saying if I weren't flying the trip wouldn't be worth-while, and I'm not saying people who don't fly aren't important.

But you cannot deny the man who flies from JFK to Heathrow three times a week, first class, is not more imporant -- at least in his mind -- than the shlub sweating in a metro car on his way to work.

Plus, even though the flights (there was a connecting flight each way, so I was on a total of four planes) were only an hour and a half, they serve you free soda, give you airline peanuts, or Sun Chips, and provide you (at least in Delta's case on the way from Atlanta to BWI) with non-stop, heart-pounding, back-to-back episodes of Alias.

I read. I finally finished Murder on the Orient Express. It ended like I thought it might, having had the plot ruined by a stray episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I also had the delightful experience of feeling uber-important by opening my laptop once the stewardess (flight attendant, my left foot!) told the plane us important people could. I didn't really do much. As I've found, most of my idle computer use relies heavily on an Internet connection. I watched a movie in the background while working on the masthead to my Web log at work. Then I closed the computer up, and went back to being a normal, regularly imporant person.

The one thing I've found, though, it you don't really have a sense of how far you've traveled when flying, because for the flight you're in a tin can, rustling through the upper atmosphere. Sure there are clouds, but I think I would be able to comprehend the Atlantic Ocean better if I would be forced to traverse its vast expanse by steam boat.

But in this limbo of a week between holidays, I find myself (at the end of it, but also) wishing I was little once again.

Or, maybe, older. If I were younger I would have this week off. Everyone between the ages of 5 and 21 usually has this week off. Public schools are not in session, and colleges are in winter-break mode.

If I were older, I would perhaps have accumulated enough vacation time to take this week off, like Caitlin's dad.

Instead, I am in the very heart of the grind. The slimy, greasy spot of the machine that forces its workers to, well, work. Plus I'm in an industry on which not putting out a product on holidays is generally frowned.

Check it out, no preposition at the end of that baby.

The week went fast though. Sure, one day was basically travel. Even though the flight was four hours, if that, time spent in line, security, layover, and baggage claim, plus driving to and from the airport... It's pretty much a day.

But, I think I've rambled about my mind enough to become thoroughly separated from the point I began to make, so for now adieu.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ear Candy

"Some more music courtesy Facebook's Apple Students group: "Stay" by Small Sins.

Now, mind you, this isn't music I'm getting now. It's music I downloaded two months ago, and am only finding now.

You see, when I plug my third-generation iPod into iTunes 7, the program kind of freezes in shock that I would be using hardware that old.

(Actually, it's because it's trying to determine if the 778 songs should be played gapless or not. I shudder to think what would happen if I had all 10 gigs of my collection on the player. Something involving smoke and fire, I assume.)

So Stay is sort of that happy alt/pop where the recording is intimate enough to pick up the singer's breathing and voice nuances. He sings in that hushed sort of hoarse loud whisper-but-not.

The kind of music that's cheery and happy and about love and life.

There's a bubbly arpeggio throughout the song that lends a lot to this feeling. That and the backup singers use their falsetto to chorus the lead with "you can stay if you want to."

All in all, you really only hear the arpeggio and the heavy boom-buh of a bass drum and snare. And now that I listen closely, the drummer's other hand is ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ing on a closed hi-hat.

It makes for a well-put together song, with a minimal amount of instruments. keyboard, trap and singer. Oh and the backup singers.

Check it out.

It's a shame that in this day and age people can't tell other people to go download this song or that song to listen to. The best you ge without committing to buy is a 30-second span someone somewhere decided was the part of the song you should hear in order to decide if you liked it.

May I recommend Pandora? Sure you can't buy the songs, but search for the song and -- usually -- Pandora will bring it up for you to listen to before departing on its magical voyage of discovery.

Headlines

I think headlines are my favorite part of my profession.

Take, for example, this story about Britney Spears' divorce. The headline on Google reads "Brit Poised For Comeback; K-Fed Now Fed-Ex."

I love puns.

A restaurant in the area closed recently. The Victory opened in 1941 just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
So named to give its support and knowledge that the United States would prevail, it has served Hanover for like 68 years or something.

Sadly, it closed. Immediately, I suggested "Victory: defeat" as the headline (I think the one that ran was something like "Lost battle for Victory").
Also sadly, I have absolutely nothing to do with the headline process. As a general assignment reporter I keep my punny musings to myself. Or tell them to everyone around me.
Either way...

It took 'em almost 70 years, but the 'Japs finally won, as my grandfather would have said.

You see, he could get away with calling them that because one of them shot him in the head...

But you know, if I had the capital I'd rent the building and open a sushi bar.
Not because I particularly like meat and rice wrapped in seaweed and more rice, but because the delicious irony would make up for the fishy taste.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Compatibly Connectible

Hey so you have to love those commercials for Mercury, I think, where the guy and the woman are walking out of some office building, and he -- very dorkily, I might add -- has a pair of white earbuds draped over his shoulders, iPod in hand.

The woman says "we can take my car, you can plug that right in" and then the announcer (or maybe text flashes up on the screen, or both) says "iPod integration."

But then they get in the car, and, just like the Nissan Sentra and its slew of commercials featuring a John Heder-like dude who decides to live in his car for a week (Happily, of course, to allow a full film crew to "document." It's about as real as those sappy Coca-Cola commercials about "a group of friends who set out to make a movie."), he is presented with a stereo mini-jack to slap on his plastic-and-metal status symbol and rock away with the woman.

But wait, you ask. If the plug is all it takes to integrate your iPod, why do you have that silly white cord Apple put in the box? Oh yeah, for connecting the mp3 player to a computer.

There are cars that offer true integration. All of Honda's cars do, as well as other that escape my train of thought at this time.

The point is, those cars have software on-board to allow you to plug in the iPod and control your player through the car's sound system. In other words, not having to stare at a tiny LCD to navigate your playlist. Safer, yes. Apple-specific, yes.

Good, and bad (if you prefer any of the other mp3 players out there).

Sure, Mercury doesn't play favorites in that sense, but then why show an iPod in the commercial?

Well, for one thing, you aren't cool if you don't have an iPod. It's standard graphic design. Think back to your favorite television shows, and if those shows happen to be CSI: NY, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, The West Wing, Sex and the City, How I Met Your Mother, and others I can't think of, then listen up.

Also pay attention if you watch TV at all.

Next time you watch, look at what computers are shown. Example: those annoying Vehix.com commercials with the Good Idea/Bad Idea guys.

The guy that wants to put a talcum powder ball on your notebook? PC
The guy that annoyingly suggests "Vehix TV, cool video test drives powered by wheels TV?" 12" Powerbook.

I just saw a commercial for Lexus, or something, that had a Mac in it. They don't display it prominently, but it's there.

Look at print ads as well. Nine times out of 10, if the ad isn't for computers or software, but it has a computer in it, it's a Mac.

CSI: NY has Macs at all the detectives' desks. Now come on. Who networks one department with brand-new Macs, and then integrates it with the PC-driven real world? No one. Set designers.

I won't deny Apple products are chosen often because they are just plain beautiful. They have the industrial design part of the business down to a big freaking T.

But with iPods its different. Sure it's 80% or whatever of the mp3-player market, but you cannot deny its a status-symbol.

Moral of the story? Don't confuse compatibility with connectivity. You can get any 15-year-old kid working at Radio Shack to install a sound system in your car that has an auxillary line you can connect to a stereo mini-plug and bypass the tape adapter.

Also, seriously look at all the shows you watch. Betcha there's a Mac in them.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Ad-nauseum

To borrow from The Daily Show... (^).

So we've all been plagued by those ads featuring some old dude's shoes slowly stomping across some dusty floor while a voice tells us that black telephones = the man and the man is bad, and black telephones are a sign of our repression by the evil telecommunication companies or something like that.

The only problem with the ad is I can't really tell which side of the argument its on, and what it says doesn't quite make sense to me.

For the first time, I saw today an ad (I guess) from those evil telecommunication companies against (they say) evil Silicon Valley companies.
Like it's antagonist, this new ad doesn't really make sense as you watch it, and it kind of makes you wonder if this isn't some big joke.

The major difference is the ad rather blatantly directs its anger toward Google. It begins with "Do you feel 'Google'eyed about new telecommunications legislation?"

It then tries to tell you that by keeping the Internet free, it will cost YOU more. PITY the THOUGHT. Freedom costs something sometimes, and I would much rather pay a little more and get all my Web pages to load at comparable rates.

But I digress. Then the ad puts up a bunch of text in Google's signature font and signature basic colors.

Then it mentions "those evil silicon valley companies" and how they want to charge you for EVERYTHING. Oh no!

But wait, I find myself pondering, aren't all of Google's plethora of services free?? Why yes, Brendan, the voice inside my head affirms, they are free.

So when is Google trying to charge me money for what?
Their e-mail service? Nope. Free.
Must be the maps and directions. Oh wait, free.
Hey well what about the satellite images on those maps? Free.
Documents and Spreadsheets? Free.
News service? Free.
Well, they just bought YouTube, maybe that's it. Nope, YouTube is free, too.
The new application for checking your e-mail via mobile phone/PDA? Free.
Searching images is free, searching the Web is free. Hey, nowadays you can even create a custom search tailored to your specific interest and plop it on your site. But that doesn't cost money, either.

So with which bill, exactly, is Google trying to foot me?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Yarrrrrrr

If you have a taste for bubbly, happy techno music (like Royksopp's radio-edit of "Remind Me," heard in the recent Geico commercial showing a caveman rolling down an airport conveyor), you should check out AGK's "Deeper" off their "The Liking of Things" album.

I think I got this song free from iTunes for being in the "Apple Students" Facebook group and redeeming some stupid coupon every week throughout September.

Actually, most of the music I got from that stupid redemption code (a slew of rap, hip-hop, alternative, rock and techno) is sort of like a radio station intermittently breaking through my iPod's songs to surprise me.

You see, 90% of the mp3s I own came from 2002-2003: freshman year. Napster had fallen the year before, Kazaa Lite still worked, and trading music digitally wasn't something about which college kids were worried.

ShipSearch was a great program, somehow taking everyone on Ship's intranet (i.e., anyone who plugged into the RJ45 outlets in the dorms, Seavers or Stone Ridge) and placing their shared folders in a searchable database. You search for a song, and browse the results. Grab what you want and it downloads amazingly fast.

Yeah, ShipSearch was great. Then the MPAA and RIAA started bison-hunting college kids for their participation in "music piracy."

That issue still gets me so mad. But another time...

Anyway, so I have a pretty good idea of what songs I have and what I'm used to, and what I've never heard.

The new music is kind of like a "hey, what's this?" moment. Which encourages me to use Pandora, and download more music I've never heard.

Of course, at 99 cents per song, iTunes isn't exactly the poor man's solution to building a 90,000-song music library.

But, at the risk of repeating Dwight, there's this Russian site where songs are only 2 cents a piece... Unfortunately, this Russian site is also under investigation by the FTC and what have you.

But I've never downloaded anything from there. I don't know what you're talking about, officer.

If your tastes run more toward techno infused with Duran Duran, check out "All This Love" by The Similou.

Monday, October 30, 2006

At the Lake

You know, I love going home, but everytime I do it makes me nostalgic. I wish I had my old life back. The college life. The one where home was a weekend and four loads of laundry and football lights across the lake. But now I know I have an actual apartment, not just some place I rent for the year and when the semester's over I move out.

Sometimes I feel like I didn't spend enough time in college doing college things. I don't think I took enough road trips, if any. I just don't feel like I should have had to graduate just yet.

But I guess everyone feels that way.

May it's because up until last year I had planned to stay for a fifth year. Then I looked at my credits and realized I could graduate in four. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I didn't have to go for five, and yet I wish I could have stayed there forever.

Sometimes I wish I could be that kid, the one who goes to grad school right out of college. But then I know that that would be bad, that I should get experience.

I want to be a professor, so I need to work as a reporter for five or ten years, so I have stories to tell my students 30 years from now.

Wow, when I say it that way, it seems just around the corner.

Driving back down here, I just got incredibly homesick for college. Maybe it was the route I took -- the drive back to college was straight down 81. Maybe it was just going home and seeing my family for the first time since moving away and getting a job. (Caitlin and I went up to the lake in August, but no one was there.)

But then I got back here, and walked in the apartment complex, and smelled the hallway, and it smelled like it did when we drove down to Hanover in the summer and first saw the place. And then it made me glad that we actually found jobs together and a place we could afford and a cat and a life. So I guess it isn't all bad.

But I do miss high school and Lake Wallenpaupack and going off to college and stuff.
As much of a loser I was in high school, I still have very fond memories of being ridiculed in those halls.

And college probably was (Warning: Horrible Cliche) the best four years of my life.

So I don't know. Looking through all my stuff this weekend (I had to repack a bunch of boxes) I just got all these memories flooding back to me. Like looking through my Boy Scout stuff.

Yeah, go ahead, mock me. But camping with those kids and learning all that outdoor crap, it was probably the coolest thing ever. I got to backpack on the AT. I got to camp every weekend, in the coolest places.

In the summer I got to spend two whole weeks at scout camp learning more outdoor crap, sleeping in a canvas tent and goofing off in the woods.

It was like Brendan Heaven.

I even found my OA sash. I made brotherhood, bee-hotches. That's what I got for being an Elangomat five times and donating my weekends in the fall and spring to working in silence all day with a bunch of other kids, eating little balls of wheat and orange juice. But that's another story entirely.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Is Your Galaxy in Good Hands?

It's sort of creepy-yet-humbling that this will happen to our galaxy in a bazillion or whatever years.

Creepy because I cannot imagine looking up into that far-futuristic sky and seeing a slow-moving apocalypse, knowing maybe in 30 years, maybe in another 100, our planet would be a casualty of what that article calls a "fertile marriage."

Humbling because, well heck, the universe just is that HUGE.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

10 Things You Will End up Doing in: Hollywood

1.) You can see the Hollywood sign from, literally, everywhere. Regardless, you will take two memory cards-worth of pictures of the sign, and then regret it later.

2.) Hollywood, like Los Angeles that surrounds it, has a subway system. Or so it claims. The system is a primitive model of a proper mass transit system. Think toothpick Eiffel Tower. You'll take the bus.

3.) The Beverly Center is meant for people driving cars. Your bus-taking self will walk around it for twenty minutes before finding a way up to the parking garage, and then spend another 10 minutes trying to find how to get up to the actual stores.

4.) No matter what angle you look at it, you will not be able to visualize how the Acadamy lays out the red carpet for the Oscars in front of the Kodiak Theater.

5.) You will mispronounce Graumann. And I'm not giving you a hint on how to pronounce it, because every should go through the embarassment of being an ignorant tourist.

6.) You will see one-half of every famous pair on the walk of fame. But only one half. You will never find Penn's Teller, or the Shatner to your Nemoy. Or Ozzie's Harriet.

7.) If you try to find Cecil B DeMille's grave, you won't be able to. But you might find Mel Blanc's grave. And all of the eastern-orthodox graves in California. And you'll take a picture of the Hollywood sign, because you can see it from the cemetary, too.

8.) Bob Barker, you'll discover, is actually orange. Secretly, you'll wonder if that's why the set to The Price is Right is so colorful -- to mask his freakish hue.

9.) You'll see George Hamilton in the Beverly Hills The North Face store, but you'll be too afraid he'll yell at you to go up and say "hi." Later, you will learn Hamilton is actually very nice to fans. You will kick yourself.

10.) Ever since your pilgrimage to the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica, you will say "hey, I've seen that coast!" to every Hollywood beach shot you see. Trust me.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Television

So, in my spare time, I watch a fair amount of television. OK, a lot of television.

I wanted to talk about one show I've been watching in particular, The Class. It started out in the slot right before How I Met Your Mother on CBS. CBS moved it shortly thereafter to after How I Met Your Mother, obviously to try and get the established audience from switching channels.

Now, a little aside. How I Met Your Mother is probably the best thing to happen to the sitcom since the first season of Scrubs. I don't really like sitcoms. They all seem cookie-cut. They all seem laugh-track-y. Scrubs, in its first season (and first season only), didn't have a laugh track, in a time in sitcomland where it was unheard of not to tell the audience when they should laugh. Yes, Scrubs did substitute the laugh track with whoosing sounds to emphasize a character's hand or head movements, but it worked. For the first year. Then it sort of wet crazy, and the Scrubs that's on television now is not the same show as the first season. But I don't really know where it changed, so I hesitate to put a label on seasons 2, 3, or however many they have now.

How I Met Your Mother is this great little show that dragged Alyson Hannigan back to television, and it's narrated by Bob Saget. Also making a post-Harold & Kumar appearance is Neil Patrick Harris, in what is probably the funniest character he's had a chance to play. It -- very uniquely -- tells the story of how Bob Saget's character (younger Bob saget is played by Josh Radnor, who's like a pretty, likeable version of Jimmy Fallon) met his wife. It's narrated in second-person, and the audience takes over for the spot of "Ted's" (Saget/Radnor) two children. It's in its second season, and is really growing into a fantastic show.

Back to The Class. I have some issues with The Class. I like the show, in fact (in a rare moment) I laughed out loud. Namely when Sean Maguire's (who plays Kyle) boyfriend is stuck "entertaining" Kyle's flambouyant husband, The flambouyant husband makes him say "Welcome, to Fantasy Island" over and over again. Oh yeah, he has a latino accent. Or Spanish. Or Ricardo Montalbanish.

Anyway. My biggest nick pick with the show is the writing, because the acting is phenominal. But the writing treats the audience like idiots. First, the show recaps every previous episode, which is fine for a new show, because hey, people who don't catch the first episode are always curious to find out what happened. But in tonight's episode...

Well, OK. Let me start from the beginning. The show stars Jason Ritter as Ethan (Yeah, John's son, and a pretty good actor. But he doesn't have his father's charisma), Lizzy Caplan (you might recognize her as "that lesbian chick from Mean Girls") as Kat Warbler -- a name which can only be some weird allusion to a bird like quality she possesses), Jesse Ferguson as a very funny, very neurotic Richie, who we learn was trying to commit suicide when Ethan calls him up to invite him to a reunionish party he's throwing for his girlfriend. You see, everyone in the show went to high school together, and they all get back in touch with one another because of Ethan and the party that turns out to be a complete bust because his girlfriend goes "oh that's so sweet, we need to see other people).

SO. Richie falls for Kat's twin sister Lina (played by Heather Goldenhersh, who is a capable actress, but I can't stand her voice, it sounds like a bad impression of a character), and then he runs over her, and Kat yells at him and he feels bad and goes home and swallows pills. And then she -- Lina -- wants to talk to him. Anyway, Richie, we find out, isn't as sympathetic as we think, he's married and he hates his wife. Who hates him, rather vehemently. Yet I know in about five episodes she's going to want to hang on to him when something comes out about it, or when she realizes she's still in love with him, or whatever. Drama, it's what makes the (Neilsen) world go 'round.

The whole point of this blog was to address this interaction. It turns out that Richie's wife works as a janitor in the office building in which Lina works. Lina, now bound to a wheelchair for six months, has spilled water while trying to put a new bottle on the water cooler. Lina remarks to Richie's wife (while on the phone with Richie... ooooo..) "I spilled something over there, you might need a mop" or something like that, to which the wife responds "It's OK, I'm not in any hurry to get home," in a very very mean way. Like the audience is too stupid to realize the janitor and the mean wife are the same. It makes me angry. It makes me angry that the wife, obviously depressed that her life sucks, wouldn't be moping around and just say "OK." Instead we are conditioned to hate the wife more and more. She's a bitch. She isn't worthy of Richie. She's mean. I hate her. You hate her. We all hate her. Hate her. Come on. That just isn't realistic.

But it's really an OK show, and I suggest it. Actually, I suggest clearing your timetable Monday nights and watching How I Met Your Mother, The Class, Heroes, and Studio 60 in the Sunset Strip. But that's just me. And Caitlin.

Now excuse me, Aaron Sorkin is calling my name...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Just Like Riding a Bicycle

So it's been a while, but I think I've finally settled into my life post-college. For one thing, I'm not working in a factory 40 hours per week, like I was last month.

I'm the southwestern Adams County beat reporter at The Evening Sun. So I'm in the business, making $.36 more per hour than I was at the factory, but with infinitely more satisfaction.

I'm living in McSherrystown, Pa., a place with a traffic light at each end of town -- a sort of modern-day city gate. It's right outside Hanover, so it isn't total bumpkin-town. Although Hanover itself isn't Metropolis, it's actually quite nice.
I'm only like an hour north of Baltimore, and 2, 2 and a half hours from D.C., which is probably the place in which I most want to live some day.

So for now, I'm writing about herb farms and robotic milking machines, but it's O.K. Life is pretty good. I can pay the bills each month, and I can still exercise every morning (that is, every morning I get myself out of bed early enough to do so).

Plus, it's Fall, so it's my favorite time of year. Hanover may be surrounded by corn fields, but the trees still change, and I can still wear sweaters and sportcoats.

Maybe I'll begin blogging in earnest again. Though with the advent of MySpace, I doubt many people take the time to actually click on links anymore. Oh well, it's better off if no one sees the musings of my mind.

So did you all see Bono and Oprah launched (Product) Red? I think it's actually a really neat idea. According to the stuff I've read, you basically choose to buy a red shirt at the Gap instead of a regular one and Gap gives like 50% of the profit to African AIDS relief efforts. In Apple's case, it's 10%, but I suspect that will outweigh Gap and American Express.

So if any of you feel the need to buy an iPod Nano, get the red one. It doesn't cost anything more, and you're doing the world a favor. And if you want a new RAZR, get the red one. If you're the SLVR kind of guy, well, move to the UK. Or wait a couple weeks and look on Amazon. I'm sure some will be there.

There isn't anything on television, so I'm being forced to watch Ghostbusters II while I type. Bad movie, but better than Rat Race.

Oh yeah, I have a cat now, too. His name is Remus, he's a tabby with white legs. He followed Caitlin and I home one night when we were jogging. He was only 4 months old when we found him, so we took him in. He's actually the nicest cat in the world.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Johnny Coltrane

So Maynard Ferguson died. One of my friend's IM profile says that it's a sad day in the world of jazz.

He's a big Maynard fan, so I'll cut him some slack.
I saw Maynard, he and his Big Bop Neveau played at the PAC last spring in Ship. He was OK.

I think the coolest thing about it was I got to hear the voice that is on the end of my recording of Coconut Champagne. He actually sounded exactly the same. Other than that, the entire thing was a jazz group with a propensity to let an old fat Italian guy blow really high notes from his trumpet.

Maybe the screeching is just not my kind of jazz. Maybe I’m more of the Coltrane, Miles Davis kind of guy. I like my jazz cool and sophisticated. Maynard was neither. And he was old.

All of his solos, sad to say, sounded the same.

Oh well, what can you do.
Yes, I will grant the world the fact that a member of the jazz canon is no longer, but a sad day in the world of a musical genre 50 years dead? Nah.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Rain

It looks like a bottle of white paint fell, and stained a steel-colored sky. But it isn't raining.

It's just threatening to rain.

Like a rich father, threatening to "cut off" his Yale-bound son.

The farther away from here, the darker the sky. It's raining somewhere.
A summer rain.

It smells like before, though.
It smells like eight months ago.
Everywhere.

It smells like August and last year and four years ago.

I think I'm afflicted with an overdeveloped sense of whatever it is that ties smells to memories.

It's so humid it might as well rain. It hasn't been humid like this since September.

I'm ripping the colors off my walls, and finding a bunch of holes behind them.
And everything I own conveniently fits inside stolen milk crates and brown cardboard boxes and big rubber tubs.

Oh well.

It still isn't raining.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Speedbumps

Personally, I'm rather indifferent to the existence of speedbumps. I drive a '91 Ford Tempo (presently), and I doubt the presence of a 3-inch-wide strip of raised asphalt changes my speed as I drive out of Bard Townhouses.

But I do recognize that people with newer, nicer cars may be a little hesitant to pass over what they must perceive as a Himalayan-sized bump. Then there are the newer not-so-nicer cars, the ones with body kits. I can also see where speedbumps would hinder their Fiberglas vanity should they drive over them without reducing speed.

I recognize these things, but they still annoy me. They annoy me very much. It's sort of a pet peeve. But I have many pet peeves, so it's no big deal.

Then I found myself driving behind a Honda CRV, and getting slightly annoyed that it, too, was slowing to cross the bump. Then I stepped back, mentally, and re-evaluated what was happening.

A Honda CRV was slowing down, because the driver was worried that the speedbump would damage their what? Shocks? Tires? Brakes? Undercarriage?

You're in an SUV! What could a tiny little chunk of concrete that has been paved into the ground do to you! Contrary to popular belief, I'm pretty sure Honda still designs it's SUVs for utility like functions, i.e., going offroad. Even though the American public has gobbled them up for driving to-and-from its suburnban homes, they retain things like shocks that can handle rough terrain, undercarriages built to take a beating from a stick or two.

Why are you slowing down for a BUMP??

This, I concluded, was unacceptable. Unnacceptable.

Here's to you, Mr. Slows-down-for-speed-bumps-in-his-SUV- because-he-thinks-it-might-hurt-the-car guy.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"Well, at least that wasn't weird."

I find it HILARIOUS* that in Dodgeball, the chest of winnings at the end of the movie that saves everything for Peter La Fleur and his team has the words "deus ex machina" written on it.

In fact, I think it's the funniest thing I've ever seen in a film.


*The word ironic has been replaced by hilarious. Apparently, I'm an illiterate baboon...