Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Quotes of the Day: Jack Kerouac

"I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion."

"Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk — real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious."

"Let nature do the freezing and frightening and isolating in this world. Let men work and love and fight it off."

"I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives, our actual night, the hell of it, the senseless emptiness."

"We turned at a dozen paces, for love is a duel, and looked at each other for the last time."


"Eat a virus, bro - I'm on a Mac Pro"

Monday, December 28, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Books are notes from the field, bound and domesticated, life brought into narrow focus. Get rid of a book? No way. Every one is a brick keeping the building standing. Books are my life. I leave and come back, and the books I find there tell me I’m home."

- Joshua Ferris (from the post "Books You Can Live Without" from the NYT Editors' blog)





(1 of 4 bookshelves in my apartment... and his quote couldn't be more true)

Choke

Just watched the movie Choke, which makes me want to read the book. In the meantime...

The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it's only intangibles -- ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies -- that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create.



Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday morning brain teaser

For all of you suckers who are at work today unlike me, this brain teaser from Mental Floss is great, I'm working it out right now. Starting with the O, add the next letter in each line and rearrange the existing letters to form a new word. Repeat until you get all the way down to "REDUCTIONS." Enjoy!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

$25,000 cupcake

I don't know why, but this video of David Letterman riding around in a cupcake is hilarious to me.

Abbey Road

I know I'm late to this party. But a week ago yesterday I spent seven - yes, SEVEN - hours playing Beatles Rock Band with probably my best friends in the world besides my sister, and now I am a little bit obsessed... not just with the game but also with The Beatles. Don't get me wrong, I've always had an appreciation for them. But I kind of knew only the most popular songs, and I used to listen to Beatles Anthology I (not II or III, I only had I) in middle school, and I also appreciated the part the band played in the most fascinating time period ever (the '60s, and especially the cultural revolution in '68), and that's about it. Well, let me tell you what. Over the weekend I bought The White Album, Rubber Soul, and Abbey Road. ABBEY ROAD IS OFFICIALLY THE BEST ALBUM I HAVE EVER LISTENED TO IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Seriously. So if you haven't listened to the whole thing, or you haven't listened to it in a while, take it back out. Because it is unbelievable, and I can't believe this took me nearly 27 years.

And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Good News Friday part II

1) This list of 10 toy crazes from Mental Floss Blog makes me really happy for some reason. I mean, pogs... wow... flashback. :) They ask at the bottom what your top must-have toy was of your childhood. Mine was definitely Teddy Ruxpin. (Which I never got! But I think that's a good thing because looking at him now I'm sure it would have been fodder for some severe nightmares due to my overactive imagination. I mean, check out the picture below. Plus he talked and blinked? Yikes.) What was yours?


2) I just opened my mail and saw handwriting that I recognized on an envelope, and the handwriting wasn't my mom's. This might not seem weird to you, but as someone who gets most of my correspondence electronically, it was weird to me. I couldn't figure out who is a person whose handwriting I would recognize who could be sending me something. I opened the package, and there was a note from my friend Ben, along with a pin that says: "I like bookworms! even though they make the pages slimey." Quite possibly the cutest pin ever. I've already pinned it to my purse. Along with the pin making me happy, something else made me happy - I remembered the reason I recognized Ben's handwriting. Back in middle school, Ben and one of my other friends (whom I was "going out with" at the time, whatever that means in junior high) used to hang out all the time. They used to write me notes after school, and I saved a bunch of them (I still have them to this day). :) Oh, old times and good friends. Indeed worthy of a Good News Friday post. Thanks Ben. That was so nice. :)


Quote of the Day

"Now I knew he was being sarcastic. At least, I think He was. You can never really tell with God. I mean, just look at Pluto. Or New Jersey. Or Tom Cruise."
- Mark Morford (here)


 

Good News Friday

'Nuff said. :)



(via Once Upon a Win)

Dealbreaker.

There are numerous reasons I hate sushi, not the least of which is because I have serious issues with food consistency, most especially rubbery foods, and sushi has the weirdest consistency of like almost anything ever. I can't stomach it. But the biggest reason I hate sushi, and the thing I really can't stomach, is the attitude most sushi eaters (at least the ones in NYC) have about it.

In the last couple months, there have been three guys (at least three, could be more) who clearly see my not liking sushi not only as some horrible personality defect that's worthy of judgmental condescension but also apparently a dealbreaker when it comes to dating.

Now I could see a dealbreaker having to do with food being something more like, oh say, someone who eats an entire diet of Spam, and only Spam, and refuses to eat anything else. If you don't want to eat, see, or smell Spam on every date, I could see that understandably being a problem. But just because someone doesn't like raw or basically raw fish blubbering slipping and sliding around in their mouth, and the fact that you have to chew through THE WHOLE PIECE if you don't want the slimy seaweed and whatever else to fall apart (I have a small mouth!), and the fact that the other ingredients often in sushi besides weird-consistency fish are all also things I don't like (cucumber, avocado, other fish, seaweed, etc... I'm not even crazy about rice...), and the fact that I don't see how sushi could possibly fill you up, especially if you're drinking sake on the side (sounds like a good way to get wasted) -- should NOT mean that the person is not datable. But that is indeed what it means for NYC sushi-eaters.

The conversation always goes something like this: "Where do you want to go for dinner?" "Really anywhere, except just no sushi." (If you are a non-sushi eater, you always have to clarify this up front, because 9 times out of 10, in New York City that's where you're going to end up if you don't speak up.) "Well I don't really care either. Wait. You don't eat sushi?" And that's pretty much the end. At that point, I really should just go home. The night's officially over.

Do you think I'm exaggerating? I must be, right, considering the fact that it is so ridiculously absurd? But I'm telling you, I am not exaggerating. If you are a non-sushi eater, without fail sushi-eaters somehow make OTHER judgments about you that have nothing to do with the fact that you don't like the consistency of one certain food. They think they're better than you, for one thing. You must be some quaint person from the back country who hasn't lived a stitch of a life if you're not hopping on the trendy sushi train, right? It can't possibly simply be that any kind of rubbery food at all triggers your gag reflex. (Seriously... don't try to make me eat a shrimp either.) They think it must be that you're a boring non-adventurous person set in their ways and clearly non-compatible with them because you are not willing to try new things... even if you've tried sushi a million times and still don't like it. They say, Well, you must not have tried the RIGHT kinds. You must have only had a California roll. Or, you must not have ever had a California roll. Or, you must have only had cheap sushi, you need to try the good stuff. Or, I know this one place, you'll like THEIR sushi, you've never had sushi like this. Hello, is it sushi? Then I've had sushi like this. What is hard to understand about the fact that I do not like sushi? Cheap, expensive, your place, her place, California roll, non-California roll, I have tried all of these things. The bottom line is that sushi is what it is no matter where you get it, and I do not like it. Unless you've turned it into a food with a different consistency and different ingredients, I'm not magically going to like it.

The judgments people make about what this says about someone are unnecessary, unfounded and unreasonable. They act like you must be a person who eats doughnuts and TV dinners and McDonald's for every meal. They act like you are uncultured, unsophisticated - a stupid classless idiot. They act like you're the biggest loser they've ever met in their life, obviously not a cool person worthy enough to interact with since you don't eat sushi. And they act like they don't know how you duped them for this long into thinking that you WERE a decent person, just to find out now that you're a sushi-hater who they never could possibly associate with. I have actually had someone say to me, "but you seemed so normal."

In my opinion, this criticism of my food preferences is wholly unwarranted. I do not like melted cheese. This is weird (and related to the very same food consistency issue), but it has nothing to do with what class of person I am, does it? I don't like red peppers either. This seems like it should leave a neutral impression on you. And I also like a lot of foods that other people don't like. Broccoli drowned in vinegar, for example - this is not a popular choice in the general public. I also like bleu cheese on basically anything, whereas a lot of people think it's moldy and gross. I'm obsessed with Indian food, but a lot of people don't like the spiciness of this cuisine. There are a billion other things I eat which some other people don't. But I don't make judgments about you because you don't like the same foods I like. It does not indicate anything to me whatsoever about your personality. Even something terribly widespread, like pasta. I love pasta. If you and I were going to dinner and you said you don't like pasta, I would shrug and pick someplace else and never think of it again. I would not try to convince you why you SHOULD like pasta. I would not make a judgment call about your personality and your lifestyle because you DON'T like pasta. I wouldn't tell you, well, you've never had THIS kind of pasta. And it would certainly NOT be a dealbreaker.

And so I plead with you, dear sushi-eating friends, please leave the attitude at home. Congratulations to you for liking a food from another country that is overwhelmingly and almost desperately trendy in this country. That's completely fine with me, I honestly 100% do not care whatsoever whether you like it or don't like it. What I don't like is your attitude toward me about the fact that I don't. THAT is the dealbreaker.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wear sunscreen, part deux.

1) Yale's list of top 10 quotes of 2009 includes some good ones. My personal favorite is number 6, but 10 (which I hadn't heard before) is pretty damn good too. Check it out.

2) My sister sent me to the website "Fun With Words" today - which is right up my alley. http://www.rinkworks.com/words. Several of the categories are really great (commonly confused words, commonly mispronounced words), but my favorite is the eponyms section. Did you know that "dumpster" is a trademarked brand name? So is laundromat. Who knew.

3) Hollywood.com made a mashup of 150 films from 2009 in 90 seconds. Pretty cool. My favorite of the year so far is Star Trek. And yours?



(via Mashable)

4) Gotta love Colbert's take on Alicia Keys' new song. Hang in there - he shows up about halfway through. "Better for my asthma!" So great. I can't embed it here for some reason, so I'll send you where I found it - Ben's blog.

5) I don't know how many times I have to tell people this, but please please please update your Facebook privacy settings, especially in light of the new updates Facebook made this week. Switched tells you exactly what to do and how to do it in this great post.

Theaters near you

These are the three movies on my mind lately. I can't wait to see them. Enjoy:





Wear sunscreen.

1) This video, called "Everybody's free (to wear sunscreen)," is definitely worth a watch. The lyrics are taken from a famous essay written in 1997 by a Chicago Tribune columnist, and the video was directed by Baz Luhrmann (of Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet fame). It made me tear up... but I'm a softie. Enjoy.



2) I don't know about you, but I hate first dates. I think I might start employing this tactic. Hilarious, and also obviously fool-proof. What could possibly go wrong?



(via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)

3) I heard that.



(via Toothpaste for Dinner)

4) In case you have an iPhone or are into video games, Boing Boing released THIS list of the best indie and iPhone games of 2009. I wish so many of these didn't cost $2.99 because I really want to play them, they look fun.

5) Will you be participating in Operation Chokehold on Friday?

6) This is such a cute video! It's a tribute to Glee made by Mark Salling - he plays Puck on the show. I can't help it, I love Glee. "It's a crazy world, and we don't know where we will go. But I will be your friend when we get there."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Frosty the Inappropriate Snowman

This video takes video clips from Frosty the Snowman and audio clips from the character Barney (played by Neil Patrick Harris) on How I Met Your Mother and mashes them together. If you're a How I Met Your Mother fan, you'll enjoy this. As they say in one of the last frames of the video, some classics are better left untouched. :) But I say it's Legen... wait for it...


Yes, honey.

Okay, so just so you don't think I'm a reactionary, I do think people overreacted on the Method "shiny suds" ad. The lurking bubbles were creepy, yes, but it was part of the message. (While I think a bit overdone.) The commercial didn't seem to be condoning sexual predators or violence against women in my estimation. If anything, it was trying to position the ad against them.

Keeping that in mind, I'd like to draw your attention to the worst ad I've seen in recent memory.

It's the new Dockers "wear the pants" "MAN-ifesto" ad campaign pictured below, which I read about via the Daily News:



Are you KIDDING me right now? Not only is this ad blatantly sexist, but it also is homophobic and reinforces negative gender stereotypes of what it means to "be a real man," (and woman) at the exclusion of anyone who doesn't fit into this limited view. I'm outraged, to be honest. Discos, non-fat lattes, salad bars? As if gay men didn't have enough to be angry about lately. "We need grown-ups"? I need people to grow out of this kind of frat boy mentality. Insinuating that women and gay men and men not being "real men" are at fault for cities crumbling and children misbehaving? Come the hell on. I know it's just an ad. But this kind of thinking (endemic to the advertising world) whether or not it's tongue-and-cheek and whether or not it's just trying to sell a product is dangerous. It represses not only women and the LGBT community, but also MEN. Men, you should be outraged at the suggestion that you are not real men if you don't fit into this narrow box. I find this ad to be hateful.

The creepy thing is, do you know what this reminded me of? An article I read at Slate yesterday, about the Promise Keepers. The Promise Keepers is an evangelical men's ministry, which is now inviting women in to the group despite its overly patriarchal and repressive message. This is a quote from the article:

Women, many of them volunteers, have always attended rallies, but they've played a secondary role. Much has been made of the organization's overall stance toward women and its expectation, some argue, that women continually take a back seat. The Rev. Tony Evans advised men on how to reclaim their leadership roles: "The first thing you do is sit down with your wife and say something like this: 'Honey, I've made a terrible mistake. I've given you my role.' … Don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. I'm not suggesting that you ask for your role back, I'm urging you to take it back."

Take it back. The implications of that make me extremely uncomfortable. And the similarities between the message of this extremist (in my opinion) evangelical religious group and the message of the new Dockers ad should make you a bit uncomfortable too, whether you are a woman or a man.

Oh, excuse me. I meant whether you're a "real man" or a "real woman" -- or one of those "androgynous" people they mention in this ad.

Reject these kinds of stereotypes for your own sake. Have the courage to be yourself and to respect other people for who they are. And please encourage the ad industry to do the same. Because I'm not buying what they're selling.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Let me guess... FOLLOW UP POST

To follow up on my "Let me guess..." post earlier today, we had to turn in the presents for Winter Wishes at 3pm. On my way down, someone in the elevator said:

"That's either a guitar or a machine gun."

Aaaand that rounded out the day!



(image via xkcd)

Imagine

Today marks 29 years to the day since John Lennon was shot and killed outside of his apartment in NYC. It also marks 40 years to the day since John Lennon and Yoko Ono launched their WAR IS OVER campaign. I couldn't possibly compete with the tribute post so beautifully written by Gala Darling -- read it HERE -- so instead I decided I would go the more topical/seasonal route and include some of the lyrics to one of my favorite Christmas songs, which I have been listening to over and over for about a week without even knowing today is the anniversary of John Lennon being shot. The song is called "Happy Xmas (War is Over)," by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. (I love Sarah McLachlan's version on her Wintersong album.)

So this is Xmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Xmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young


A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear


And so this is Xmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Xmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight


A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now


"Let me guess..."

My company does a program called Winter Wishes, where you can pick up a letter from a child from a low-income family and get them whatever Christmas (or Hannukah, or Kwanzaa) present they are wishing for. The 9 year old girl I chose loves music and was wishing for a guitar. So I got her a cute guitar with a sparkly strap, some Hello Kitty picks (god I hope she's a girly girl), and a kids' guitar book.

Let me reiterate though. A guitar. Which means that I had to carry a big heavy wrapped box to work with me this morning. You might think, oh come on, you only live three blocks away from your work. Three. What's the big deal?

In my paranoid brain, all I could think was that the security guards at my building were never going to let me in because it would look like I was carrying a well-cloaked gun in a wrapped box. This is the way my mind works. Well, that didn't end up being the problem at all.

Instead, every person on the streets of those three blocks felt the need to make a comment about what I was carrying. I got three of these: "Let me guess - it's a guitar!" Three of these: "For me?! You shouldn't have!" One "Merry Christmas!" (from my doorman, that was kind of nice), one: "Want me to help you carry that, mami?" and one: "Goooooood morning!" as well as a slew of looks from mothers pushing their children away from me and gay guys shielding their dogs from me. I couldn't tell whether that was because these people thought I would drop the cumbersome guitar on the little runts' heads, or because they thought there was a machine gun in the box.

Then I got to my building and the security guard said, "Hello!" and let me pass with no problem.

At least I came to work early. Imagine what would have happened if I was walking over during rush hour.



Monday, December 7, 2009

They had an inkling...

I took a class in college that I did not appreciate enough at the time. It was a class for my Honors program, and those classes tended to be pretty difficult and time consuming. So I used to get mired down in the amount of work and fail to enjoy what I was learning. Typical plight of the undergraduate, I suppose. But the lessons in my Honors classes were by far the most valuable for "life" in general than the more technical lessons in my journalism classes, or the more theoretical lessons in my liberal arts classes. It's a shame I didn't appreciate them more.

Regardless of that, one of the more interesting classes (less applicable to life -- especially less than, say, my Terrorism and World Religions class -- but nonetheless very engaging) was called "The Inklings." In case you don't know about this, The Inklings is a group of writers who were friends and used to have meetings at Oxford during the 1930s and '40s. They used to read their work to one another and discuss literature in general. The founding members were J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams. They started out going to each other's dorm rooms at Oxford, and also met at a pub (which is now called The Eagle and Child - I've been there! It was across the street from my dorm when I studied at Oxford).

Something about the story of these so-very-famous authors getting together and discussing Narnia and Mordor and all their inhabitants is grand and appealing to me. The mere fact that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien - two of my favorite writers of all time - used to hang out at all is unfathomable for some reason.

We read a bunch of books in the class -- it was focused on the work of The Inklings themselves but was also about fantasy/adventure/science fiction novels more generally as well -- along with The Inklings' own work, we also read books that influenced them (such as The First Men In the Moon by H.G. Wells, that one was fantastic). I have listed out here the ones we read in class that were written by the actual founders themselves :

C.S. Lewis:
The Chronicles of Narnia (all 7 books)
The Screwtape Letters
The Great Divorce
Out of the Silent Planet

J.R.R. Tolkien:
The Hobbit
The Adventures of Tim Bombadil
The Silmarillion
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (translation)

Charles Williams:
Descent into Hell

Earlier today I was looking for a book on my shelves and picked up The Golden Key, by George MacDonald, which we also read in the class. Unfortunately another downside of having taken such a cool class junior year in college (when I was super busy and had no time to focus on it) is that I skipped some of the reading. The Golden Key was one that didn't make the cut, which I really regret now. Just from reading a few pages, I can tell this book is one I am going to love. The fantasy-ish genre of the books by these authors draws me in -- there's something about it that's very nostalgic, as if I am still a little girl being read a fairy tale.

If you haven't heard of The Inklings, check it out. And in case you haven't read their work, many lands of adventure await you.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.


Perspectives

In this post from yesterday, felixwas talks about the Tiger Woods saga as well as the White House dinner-crashers. But unlike most posts about these media circus stories, felixwas takes a new slant -- the importance of gathering multiple perspectives on the news. I've been trying to sum up what he said, but I can't say it as eloquently as he did, so I'll just quote him. I thought this was important to share:

"...All of us, as media creatures, need to seek new perspectives on the news that are as diverse as possible. We also need to be skeptical (which is a good thing, as opposed to cynicism) about all of those perspectives, too. In a society that’s is becoming increasingly diverse by the minute, we need to understand how all of our fellow citizens are thinking so that all of us can work together to make our world a better place. My time at The Root provided me with perspectives I would not have reached on my own, and the questions about if/how racism is affecting these two stories have been lingering in my mind. For me, nothing but good can come from trying to work my way through those questions."


Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday roundup

1) Do you judge a book by its cover? This essay by Joe Queenan in the NYT indicates you might. I actually think this factors in to at least my selection of a book from my bookshelf, if not my enjoyment of the actual book. For example, the two bindings in my eyeline right now are Dubliners and Lord of the Flies. Dubliners' binding is pale peach with a tiny sketch of Dickensian-looking people peering out. But Lord of the Flies' binding is a striking forest green, with foreboding, all-caps font sandwiched between two tiny red accent lines. Based on that alone, I'd much rather pick up Lord of the Flies. Hmm.

2) The Onion's AV Club released their list of the best films of the decade. Eternal Sunshine (one of my faves) reigns as number 1, and two of my other personal favorites are also in the top 5 (No Country for Old Men and Memento). What do you think of the results?

3) Two work-related comics for you to enjoy in the face of the weekend. Happy Friday!!! Woohoo!




(via PHD comics)



Thursday, December 3, 2009

iPod battery myths

When I got my first iPod, I was dating this guy who was great but a total know-it-all about Apple technology. He told me I had to do about 800 different things to my brand new iPod in order for it to work properly. About 750 of those things related to its battery life. I was so happy to find this article on Switched yesterday: "iPod Battery Myths Debunked." You learn something new every day!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Group Projects

The guy in the bottom right corner was me. (And Ryan.) This is why Group Projects were (and are!) the worst. Enjoy.




(via ToothpasteForDinner)

Quagmire

Yet again, I agree with Fred Kaplan.

"Confessions of an Uncertain Columnist: My Mixed Feelings About the War in Afghanistan."

Let's put it this way - I'm so glad I'm not nor will ever be the President of the United States of America.

For some reason tonight a scene from Sports Night came to mind. (Sports Night is one of the best TV shows of all time in my opinion.) Casey, a sports anchor, had been ragging on the football coach (Rostenkowski) from his alma mater on the air every day for several days straight for a call he made in a game. Someone on the set started talking with him about it and the conversation went as follows:

Gordon: By the way, for what it's worth, I'm right with you on this Rostenkowski thing. It was a terrible call.
Casey: Lost the game!
Gordon: I don't know how he makes that call.
Casey: Yeah!
Gordon: Any idiot knows you hand it to Germane, send him up the middle.
Casey: Well, you're not gonna go up the middle against an 8-man front, but still.
Gordon: Still. Well, maybe you run a play action fake, you toss it off the tight end on the flat.
Casey: The problem with that is that without establishing a running game first no one's gonna bite down on the play fake.
Gordon: But still.
Casey: Still.
Gordon: A post pattern. A slant.
Casey: He'd be going against a defensive back who is second-team All-American as a true freshman.
Gordon: What would you have called?
Casey: Me?
Gordon: Yeah.
Casey: The thing is, I haven't watched film all week, I haven't seen scouting reports, I don't have an offensive coordinator talking in my ear, I don't have 80,000 fans screaming in my face. So, it's easy for me. I don't have 10 million people watching at home on TV including a pack of rabid alumni. I've had 3 days to think about it. He had 7 seconds. So it's a lot easier for me to make that decision than it was for him. But, since you ask me what play I'd have called, I'll tell you. Now that I think about it, I have no idea.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"What are you gonna do, turn off your tv AND your computer?"

Three things of note:

1) GE is selling NBC to Comcast. My biggest concern? That Comcast is a cable company and has it out for Hulu, which now it would own. Hulu is basically my favorite site in the entire world, so this news is tragic to me. And makes the title of this post (from Hulu's Superbowl commercial) all the more appropriate. But this article from Mashable explains why Comcast probably wouldn't dissolve Hulu, and what it will likely do instead.

2) Saul Griffith explains at Boing Boing what the carbon reduction promises at the upcoming conference in Copenhagen will really mean. I found this article to be informative -- typically articles by scientists about climate change are complicated and full of equations and unrelatable explanations. This one made sense to me.

3) Best for last: Zuma is expanding HIV treatment in South Africa, announced today on World AIDS Day. HALLELUJAH! All children under age 1 will receive free treatment, and pregnant women and people who also have TB will get expanded treatment. It's a small step, but a serious step in the right direction. And Zuma also agreed to get tested himself, which makes a great statement to the country. Read more here.


World AIDS Day - Dec. 1

Today is World AIDS Day. AIDS is a preventable and treatable disease. With two pills a day, @ 40 cents a day, for 60 days, a person living with HIV in Africa can stay alive and well. But every day 4100 of them die.

What are some things you can do to help?

1) Shop (RED) for Christmas. Really get in the holiday spirit and give two gifts at once - because the products cost the same as always, but the companies donate to The Global Fund to end AIDS in Africa for every purchase made. And 100% of the money goes directly to work on the ground - no overhead taken out. Talk about getting into the holiday spirit.

2) Donate. Help fight AIDS with just a small donation to the United Nations Foundation. $24 can help keep one person alive by paying for 2 pills a day for 60 days. And again, 100% of the money donated goes to work on the ground. No overhead.

3) Spread the word via social media:

- Help turn Twitter (RED) - follow @joinred for more info.

- Help Turn Facebook (RED) at http://facebook.com/joinred. On that page, you can also change your profile picture to spread the word. Here's my favorite option, clearly created just for me:




4) Educate yourself. Watch the vid below, and share it with your friends.

Work Quotes of the Day

Jess: "You can friend me if you want."
Rob: "No, I don't friend people. You can become a FAN though."

Jess: "What nationality is that?"
Jason: "Jersey."

Roundup

1) Penelope Trunk posted yesterday about leveraging the advantages of being an introvert at work. I don't really consider myself an introvert per se, I'm just really sensitive (an HSP). But I guess, actually, compared to extroverts, I definitely am. Which is probably why in the Myers-Briggs personality test, my personality type starts with I (introvert) as opposed to E (extrovert). She does have some good tips, and talks about career choices for introverts - that you should know whether your introverted personality type is an artist or an activist (activist is my type - INFJ), and then move to a career that better suits your personality, to avoid a lot of baseline heartache. Interesting food for thought, as always with her blog.


2) I played World of Warcraft last night for the first time in quite a while. It really is a lot of fun. I've gotten my new character, a hunter, up to level 23, and I'm kind of excited about leveling her up even more. I know, I'm a nerd. But I took this quiz this morning about the game, and I only got one question right. So I can't be THAT much of a nerd. I also stumbled on this article about the types of players in MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games -- which is what World of Warcraft is). I'm having a hard time figuring out which kind of player I am, but the fact that my favorite part of playing is questing with my friend Anthony makes me think maybe I'm a "socializer" in that game. Which makes sense, since I started playing the game in the first place in order to play with friends. But to be a true "socializer" you probably have to want to play with and interact with strangers inside the game. I'd much rather play by myself than interact with someone I don't know, and I pretty much avoid it at all costs. Maybe that makes me an introverted socializer.

3) Sunday I went to Colony Music and bought some Christmas piano books, because the ones I have are at my parents' house. I played Sunday night and the last two mornings. It has started off my week in a holiday cheer-y way, which makes me happy. I've also been listening to Sarah McLachlan's "Wintersong" CD - it's great, I highly recommend it.

4) Today felixwas posted a quote on his blog, which is appropriate in light of the announcement that's going to come tonight about sending tens of thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan.

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” — President Dwight D. Eisenhower, quoted by columnist Bob Herbert in today’s New York Times

I watched Bill Moyers two weeks ago, and he played recorded phone conversations between LBJ and his advisers regarding Vietnam. Painful. I do not envy these men these decisions. But the whole thing does make me very sad.

5) What doesn't make me sad is this picture. I want this lawyer! (via zanypickle)


Monday, November 30, 2009

Watch out!

Okay, here are three TV shows you should be watching, and one show you should start watching again:

1) Modern Family, ABC, Wednesdays @ 9

This is a new show about a modern family: the patriarch (played by Al Bundy) with his new, much younger, very Latina wife and her son; one of the patriarch's grown-up kids, who is gay and has an adopted daughter with his partner; and the other of the patriarch's grown-up kids, with her neurotic husband and three hilarious children. It is indeed a modern family, and a modern tv show, which lacks a laugh track but never lacks of hilarious situations and sarcastic dialogue. I promise you, you'll love it.

2) Parks & Recreation, NBC, Thursdays @ 8:30

I liked but not loved Amy Poehler on Saturday Night Live. But I love love love her in Parks & Recreation. She plays Leslie Knope, who reminds me of a more lovable version of Michael Scott from The Office. She gets herself into ridiculous situations because of the things she says and does, but ultimately she has a good heart and is just trying to do the best she can for her beloved town of Pawnee, Indiana. Give it a few episodes, and you'll start to get the humor of the show and fall in love with Pawnee just like Leslie.

3) Community, NBC, Thursdays @ 8
I've always loved Joel McHale, but I thought Community - a show about a Community College Spanish class - would fall flat. Boy was I wrong. This show is often my favorite of the Must-See-TV lineup. The script is genius, the acting is terrific, and the situations are hilarious. Basically it's about a former lawyer, Jeff, who is forced to go back to Community College and there meets a bunch of funny classmates. The cast of characters includes Britta, who Jeff has a serious crush on but who calls him on his bullsh*t; Abed, who has asperger's and who matches wits with Jeff week after week; Pierce (played by Chevy Chase) who is a needy older man who wants to be cool like Jeff when he grows up; and Senor Ben Chang, their Asian Spanish professor who hates his students almost as much as he hates his job. It's fantastic. Watch it.

4) Grey's Anatomy, ABC, Thursdays @ 9

Seriously. If you're like me and got completely sick of the Meredith/Derek melodrama, good news! They got married. McDreamy drama gone, the show is much less whiny and has the chance to focus on other, better relationships. On top of that, guess what else? George and Izzy are off the show. Hallelujah. (Well, technically Izzy is still on the show, but she's only been in like one episode for like 5 minutes since she quit her job at Seattle Grace.) So if, like me, you were tired of the attitudes those two drama-wielding divas were bringing to the show, both on and off screen, it's gone. Along with the weekly hour full of cancer we had to weep through last season. As well as absurd flashbacks/ghost sightings of Denny. I've never been so glad to see a hot guy leave a show. This season the writing is smart, the characters are likable, and they've added some new characters and storylines that I can get on board with. They consolidated Seattle Grace and Mercy West (its sister hospital), which has added a new cast of residents and a new boatload of drama. They brought on the blonde girl from 24 as Cristina's mentor and romantic rival, adding a juicy love triangle - and who doesn't love that? And last but not least, they added Arizona, the pedes doctor, as a regular on the show. I was wary of her at first, but she has definitely added something heartfelt to the show. Grey's is back to how it used to be in its early seasons. So for any fellow defectors, now is the time to come back on board. Seriously.

Evolution

As you all know, I am obsessed with Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. I've written about it several times on this blog. I know Dove is obviously trying to sell products, but they're a company - either way they're going to be trying to sell products. They could just as easily subscribe to the classic beauty industry advertising that makes girls feel horrible about themselves, but instead they are sending out positive messages to girls. And plus they are contributing a percentage of products sold to the Self-Esteem fund, which provides self-esteem workshops for girls. I could not feel more strongly about the mission of Dove. If you're with me, VOTE HERE for the Dove Evolution ad as the best non-Superbowl ad of the decade. In case you don't remember the ad, I've included it below, along with two other Dove ads that I love. Enjoy.

Evolution:


True Colors:


Onslaught:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quote of the Day

From Albert Einstein:

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices, but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thought in clear form." (New York Times, March 19, 1940)

"If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Good News Friday

I can't wait to see New Moon tomorrow, did I mention that? Not to mention that we're doing double-duty karaoke. That's right. Karaoke, Twilight, dinner, karaoke. The fact that we can do that at all makes me really love NYC.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quote of the Day

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show." — Andrew Wyeth

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thoughts of the day

A couple things:

- I might have a commitment problem. I work from about 8:30am to 8 or 8:30pm every day (lately), often with work to take home. And things at work during the day are so busy and stressful that I rarely even have time to check my personal email. By the time I get home, I'm absolutely exhausted, eat dinner on my lap on my couch, and crash. That's my life. And on the weekends I'm sooo exhausted from the week. I honestly have no idea how a person with a schedule like this could possibly complete NaNoWriMo. That's right, you knew it was coming to this, didn't you? I've only logged about 6500 of the required 50,000 words that are supposed to be written two weeks from today. Obviously it's not going to happen. Which is too bad, I liked my characters. But I'm just flat-out exhausted.

- I quit Spanish class for the same reason. It was stressing me out.

- I am a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP, it exists, look it up!), and this means I am not suited for a lot of things in my life. Especially everything at work. This career is not a good one for an HSP at all. This tires me out more than a normal person, which makes the above even more relevant. I'm trying to find ways to deal with it for now, but it's difficult. I need to figure out my life.

But on a better note:

- I can't wait for the new Twilight to come out this weekend. Call me a nerd if you want. I think I'm going to re-read New Moon in celebration.

- I'm going to be a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding, and she is going to order the dresses from either Ann Taylor or J.Crew. So hopefully they won't be hideous like most other bridesmaid dresses in the world. Hooray!

- I also can't wait for Thanksgiving. A lot of my cousins are coming to town, and I'll get to see my friends from home. Plus, a week off of work. YAY!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Quote of the Day

Today is To Write Love on Her Arms day. (Another link here.) For some reason it reminded me of the quote below.

Lelaina: I was really going to be somebody by the time I was 23.
Troy: Honey, all you have to be by the time you're 23 is yourself.
Lelaina: I don't know who that is anymore.
Troy: I do. And we all love her. I love her. She breaks my heart again and again, but I love her.
(Reality Bites)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Quote of the Day

A poem, by W.B. Yeats:

Though you are in your shining days,
Voices among the crowd
And new friends busy with your praise,
Be not unkind or proud,
But think about old friends the most:
Time's bitter flood will rise,
Your beauty will perish and be lost
For all eyes but these eyes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Quote of the Day

"I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger than reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls." – Anais Nin

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Two pics

Just for you. One educational (thanks, Ben!), and one humorous (from NatalieDee). Enjoy!



Sunday, November 1, 2009

Slutty pumpkins

I do love Facebook for many things. Mostly for the spying capabilities it gives me, which at this point it would be hard to live without. But do you know when I don't like Facebook? November 1. Why? Because it forces me to deal with a part of life that I just try to ignore the other 364 days a year. What, you ask? Open up your Facebook account and see if you can guess what I might be talking about.

That's right, you guessed it. Apparently all of my female Facebook friends who went to a Halloween party this year had the same costume. Hooker. Which leaves me confused as to why they post captions like, "Snow White!" "Batgirl!" "Cat!" "Lion!" "Referee!" and a myriad of other ill-conceived polyester nightmares that clearly they purchased at Ricky's, along with a package of fishnets and way too much black eyeliner. If you're going to dress up like a hooker, why not just call it what it is?

Halloween makes me hate humanity. I don't dress up for Halloween anymore, and I haven't since college, when my friends forced me to dress up for college parties. In college. But now I'm an adult, living in an apartment, and no, I did not have a Halloween costume. Everyone at work acted like I am the devil incarnate for not having a costume. They all had one. But surprise, they all had the same one.

If you're wearing a costume to a costume party, fine. But what happened to creativity? And why all the cleavage?! My family was never one to go out and purchase costumes for Halloween. We cobbled together what we had, either from dance costumes or clothes lying around, and went each year as something modest and wholesome, like a chef, a monk, a beauty pageant winner (in a DRESS, not a bathing suit), Steve Urkel, Hillary Clinton, and a myriad of other simple and sometimes topical bursts of creativity, usually on my mom's part.

Which is why when someone at work told me they were going as a referee I thought, okay, cute, maybe her dad has an old ref shirt she's borrowing. Much to my surprise, her pictures on Facebook reveal a very different pair of referees, if you know what I'm saying. She went to the party dressed as a hooker.

While I'm on the topic, one of the most infuriating slutty costumes on Halloween to me (besides the sluttification of a myriad of beloved Disney characters) is a cowgirl. Now I went to a college party dressed as a cowgirl once. Do you know what I wore? Jeans and a flannel shirt. Why? Because that is what "cowgirls" look like. Have you people ever been to a farm?! Cowgirls have mud on their face, not glitter. A real cowgirl would never wear a mini-skirt, high-heeled boots, and a bathing suit top. Another infuriating costume is a cat. Sorry, but slapping on a hot pink bra, the tightest, shortest, most see-through dress you can find, fishnets, and 6 inch heels does NOT make you look like a cat, no matter what kind of ears you are wearing. Unless by cat you mean prostitute. Oh, and another good one I saw on Facebook. Army soldier. In hotpants, fishnets, go-go boots, and clown makeup (I mean, I'm sure it was regular day-to-day makeup, but it sure looked like clown makeup to me). Soldier? Have you ever seen a movie in your entire life? Or the news?

And in case you are like me and do not have kids to dress up for Halloween, guess what you have to look forward to? You guessed it. They're starting them young. Check out the picture on this page. Please parents, do NOT buy hooker costumes for your little girls.

As more and more pictures get posted on Facebook today, I get more and more upset. To all the women who went out last night dressed as hookers, have a little self-respect! And besides that, you're making yourself look like an idiot who can't come up with any creative ideas except taking off all your clothes. Grow up. And please for the love of all that is holy, put on a ******* jacket.

As Ryan says, better luck next year, Halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

A Halloween comic from xkcd.com:

Good News Friday

Here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again:

1) My mom sent me a cute Halloween card with a gift certificate inside for Dunkin' Donuts. And that's what I had for lunch today. DUN-DO!

2) I look and feel kind of crappy today (I have a cold and look like a complete mess), but one guy applauded for me on the street, another said hello dear, and another one offered me Skittles. RANDOM!

3) Next week I'm taking Thursday and Friday off, as well as the following Monday. Woo hoo!! VACATION!

4) My eyes have been driving me crazy lately. I probably haven't been to the eye doctor in like 3 or 4 years, and it shows, because both my contacts and glasses prescriptions are wayyyy too weak - I can barely see anything these days. But I didn't have an eye doctor in the city or know how to even begin trying to find one. Guess what? Today Union Square Optical emailed everyone at my work letting us know that they accept our vision plan and are open for appointments. I called and made one for Thursday. AWESOME!

5) Today it feels like fall in the air, and this morning I drank apple cider. Tomorrow is Halloween, which is exciting - I love seeing all the little kids, and I'm planning to give out candy and watch The Exorcist and Cape Fear with my sis. And Sunday, NaNoWriMo starts. FALL!!

6) And last but not least... FRIDAY!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gangs

I promise I will write an actual blog post soon. But in the meantime, I watched a special this weekend about the Crips and the Bloods which seriously freaked me out. I became paranoid that everyone I ran into on the street was a gang member in disguise and at any moment I could get caught in crossfire. Healthy, right?

Well, the video below on So You Think You Can Dance this week went a long way to lighten my mood about gangs. Plus, it's an awesome dance. Wade Robson is such a great choreographer. Enjoy!

Quotes of the Day

From Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the Stern Fact, the Sad Self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from."

"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Her hair was long and lustrous black; and her eyes were great big blue things with timidities inside. I wished I was on her bus. A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world."
- Jack Kerouac (On the Road)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quote of the Day

I have two for you. One humorous, one poignant. Enjoy.

Overheard in the Newsroom #2046:
Guest on newsroom tour: “How many people work here?”
Editor: “About half of them.”

"The person who thinks 'I would like to do this' is wasting the day, because she/he can do this, and is not doing." - Paulo Coelho

Monday, October 26, 2009

Suggestions welcome

Okay folks, it's that time again. That's right, Sunday is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, or as it's known to its participants, NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. That's about 175 pages. You "win" NaNoWriMo if you complete 50,000 words, counted by computer robots. That's it. No judging, no scores. Nobody even reads it, unless you show it to them.

You might think that sounds simple, but believe me, it is not. As my loyal followers may remember, I have tried to do this for the last 2 years and have totally wimped out both times, not even *starting* a novel, nevermind finishing one. I'm a huge perfectionist and without a good enough idea I always find myself completely unable to get started.

Which is why THIS year, I've decided to solicit story ideas. Charaters, parts of plots, anything. I've started to try to think of some on my own in advance of Nov. 1 this year, but I could use some help. So if you have any good ideas and don't mind me stealing your intellectual property, leave them in the comments section. If not, leave some encouragement for me to actually do this this year. It will be such an accomplishment if I even start it, seeing as how I've failed miserably in my last two attempts.

If you want to sign up for NaNoWriMo yourself, click here, and get ready for Sunday!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Good News Friday

For lovers of Michael Jackson's music, anyone who loves a capella, or anyone who just loves things that are cool, the video below is fantastic. It's the same guy singing all 7 parts. Enjoy, and happy Friday. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good News Friday

I've had quite frankly a horrible week (yet again). Things have just been going wrong and upsetting me right and left. You know what a great cure for that is? Kelly.

That's right, Ryan. This week's Good News Friday is dedicated to our girl, Kelly Clarkson. I just love her. And in the video below, she is singing one of my favorite songs, "That I Would Be Good," which is SO appropriate for when you're having a horrible week. I could not love this video more right now. I've included lyrics below, for your Good News Friday enjoyment.



That I would be good even if I did nothing
That I would be good even if I got the thumbs down
That I would be good if I got and stayed sick
That I would be good even if I gained ten pounds

That I would be fine even even if I went bankrupt
That I would be good if I lost my hair and my youth
That I would be great if I was no longer queen
That I would be grand if I was not all knowing

That I would be loved even when I numb myself
That I would be good even when I am overwhelmed
That I would be loved even when I was fuming
That I would be good even if I was clingy

That I would be good even if I lost sanity
That I would be good
Whether with or without you

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reading material

As you all know, I love great articles. That's why I always check out Give Me Something to Read - I highly recommend it for anyone else who loves great articles. I just wanted to share the three that I read tonight:

- "How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect": This one caught my eye because over the weekend I read Kafka's The Trial. Easily one of the best books I've ever read. And definitely what you might call nonsensical, or at least absurd, about a man arrested and put on trial for a crime he knows nothing about. I read about the study they reference in this article recently and think it's fascinating. I always knew all my nonsense must be making me smarter. :)

- "Behind the Autism Statistics": This article from The Atlantic talks about the rising numbers of children diagnosed with Autism - and a possible explanation for why that might be. It's written by one of the creators of the documentary "Autistic-like: Graham's story." Read to find out more.

- "None of the Above": This article from the New Yorker is written by Malcolm Gladwell (author of Blink and The Tipping Point). I read this in grad school, but completely forgot. Definitely give it a go - it explains the problem with IQ tests, why IQ scores are higher from generation to generation, and what it means for race.

If you don't like any of these, just pick up The Trial and read that instead. It's a quick read and totally worth it. "Someone must have made a false accusation against Josef K., for he was arrested one morning without having done anything wrong."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Good News Friday

I've had a horrible day (week?), but what better day to do Good News Friday than a bad one?

1) Awkward Yearbook Signatures.com. Check this out. It's a relatively new site, but definitely a funny one. It is exactly what it sounds like. And it's wonderful.

2) Power. It's all about power.



(from xkcd.com)

3) Pile. :) Obviously. (So cute.)



(from NatalieDee.com)

4) One of the best Toothpaste for Dinner strips I've ever seen. (Besides Pan Flute, of course.) Enjoy.