Monday, December 29, 2008

Best?

As 2008 draws to a close, we are inspired to look back at the year that was... and people all over the interwebz are scrambling to catalogue the best and worst, well, everythings that were.

Among the many lists, three of my favorites:

Best Movie Posters of 2008

MAGNET's Top 25 Albums of 2008

Sin's Top 20 Best Songs of 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Zombie Jesus Day!

Yay for self-explanatory blog posts! Today, as we all know, is the day that zombie Jesus rises from his hallowed grave and brings holiday joy and cheer to the masses! Good stuff, good stuff.

As for me, I'm just fine watching movies and eating bagels. And hangin' with zombie Jesus and zombie Moses.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter Break

School is out. I am relieved. I have no school until January the 5th - that's 12 whole days for me to sleep like a normal person and hopefully catch up on some well-deserved and greatly-needed relaxing. Just some good books, my new iPod touch (yay!), friends, and family.

I love winter break.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chanukah

Happy Chanukah all of you crazy Jews and gentiles. Tonight marks the first of one crrraaaazzzyyyy eight nights. We're talking candles, spinning tops, chocolate coins, presents, and best of all, an emphasis of fried potatoes even greater that you would find at McDonald's.

Happy Chanukah, and long live the latke.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Zeitgeist

As 2009 draws ever closer, the world has a bit of time to look back and reflect on how the past year went. And what better way to do that than to get up with the spirit of the peopla and the times by finding the hottest search terms on Google?

I introduce Google Zeitgeist, Google's explanation of the most popular and fastest-rising search trends of 2008. If you're wondering, the word 'zeitgeist' is a German word meaning "the spirit of the age and its society". Definitely one of my new favorite words.

Cool stuff. CHECK IT!

Monday, December 15, 2008

It is Possible to Win Without Winning

Well, I competed at a debate tournament on Saturday. Prelims passed by nicely, and I broke into the Super Session of Student Congress, with 15 people and myself going for the top. Pretty much... I mostly dominated. I made 3 speeches about 2 bills, and most people in the chamber were telling me that I had won.

So, naturally, I got 2nd place.

I was pretty frustrated - in my event, you can get ranked from 1-9, with 1 being the best and 9 being not-ranked. There were three judges, who gave me the ranks of 1, 1 and 9, respectively.

I will kill the third judge.

That is all.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is power. The old saying has been around for centuries, I'm sure, but never has this been more true than in today's society. The proliferation of education and innovation have created a better world in which we solve problems that face us faster, and increase the standard of living for everyone. Obviously, this includes the reduction of poverty and crime, disease and disorder, and an increase in global competitiveness as our populace becomes smarter and more innovative, and realizes its potential for becoming productive and successful.

Information is at the heart of all of this. A well-informed citizenry was the key to our Founding Fathers' vision of democracy, in which the people hold absolute power, and dictate the fate of their nation for their benefit. The proliferation of information allows us to understand the world around us, and become better suited to serving ourselves and those around us. One who embraces the power of information (especially through education) tends to find themselves successful. Those who ignore it often find themselves left behind.

No one thing has provided such huge, all-encompassing access to information as the advent of the internet. Never before has such a vast compilation of information been available to the public. And with the invention of search engines such as Google, it is possible to sort through this information and find what we are searching for in seconds. Never before has it been so easy to better ourselves through the acquisition of knowledge. With a world's worth of information at our fingertips, the internet truly has the power to change the way we think. And that has great consequences for the way the world will work, and for the better.

If you ask me, the internet is one of the greatest and most consequential inventions in all of human history. It informs us, it connects us, and possibly most importantly, it allows us to respond to what we see and share our own information. For too long mankind has relied on one-way mediums for its information such as radio and television. While very informative, they are not very useful in creating a well-informed populace because they only allow its users to receive information, and not contribute to it themselves. Only the very rich can influence what is seen over these mediums, and as a result, a very small group of people has the power to influence hundreds of millions. This is not acceptable. A well-informed populace needs not only access to information, but also the ability to respond to that information. This "conversation of ideas" is what fuels innovation and free thought, and what we have seldom seen since the days of the Revolution. It is time that we realized what a great thing the internet is, and started using it to its full potential.

Slowly, the world is starting to adopt to this new infrastructure of free-flowing and fully accessible knowledge. In Estonia, internet access is a basic human right by law. Today, it is one of the most modernized, well-informed and in-touch nations in the world.

The world will change as the internet becomes a more dominant medium in our society, and undoubtedly it will be for the better. We should try to hasten this new age of free information and knowledge by encouraging the proliferation of technology throughout the nation, and the world. Bringing this technology to the people of the world will undoubtedly help us stay connected, well-informed, and better able to cope with the problems of the 21st century. Perhaps if we could bring internet access to everyone, we couldsee the benefit in society. Maybe bringing the net to the secluded parts of the nation, from rural South to the Great Plains, could allow us to truly accomplish greatness.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Singing

With no one in the house, about an hour ago, I set to work tackling my AP Calculus homework. Admittedly, differentiating and integrating various permutations of natural logarithmic functions, e^x, and inverse functions is not exactly the most... thrilling work in the world. So, bored about halfway (more like two-thirds) to tears, I began humming to myself an odd, shapeless tune.

This eventually developed into a full-blown, endless beatbox-style song about my current topic in calculus, essentially integrating (ouch, calculus pun) each step of the problem I was doing into lyrical and melodical form. After about twenty minutes, the tune became completely nonsensical, with regular modifications to the rhythm, and lyrics that made no sense at all.

Nonetheless, it was quite amusing. I suggest that, if ever you're alone and are partaking in some sort of boring or mindless task, start singing about it. Don't try to make it very musical - just go with the flow and essentially start speaking in rhythmical form. It's pretty interesting.

And yes, it does mean you're crazy, or close to it, if you do.

Just like me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Glass of Water

Well, Coldplay recently released a new EP, entitled Prospekt's March. It's a random collection of a couple of B-sides and remixes, but there are a couple of very nice tracks on there.

In particular, a song known as Glass of Water. Personally, I am in love with this song - nice lyrics, full sound, and a powerful driving chorus make this my current favorite in my library.

If y'all are interested, here's the link to this latest song. Enjoy:

Linky

Friday, December 5, 2008

SATs

Taking the SATs tomorrow for the first time. A bit nervous, been preparing quite a bit over the past week, as evidenced by my lack of updates. Hopefully it'll go well, and I'll be without that big burden for a little while, which is good.

In the meantime, physics is weird.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Soft Power

They say that, today, America is the world's sole superpower - a nation far above the rest in terms of influence over the others are overall global superiority. But let's ask ourselves, what exactly is power? In a nutshell: It is the ability to get others to do what you want them to. In today's society, because of America's overall dominance, we can get other nations to do our bidding easier than others can.

So how does one exert power over another? Think of it in terms of carrots and sticks. There are three ways to get someone to do what you want:
  1. Hit them over the head with a carrot until they give in to your devious demands
  2. Dangle a carrot in front of them until they acquiesce to your devious demands
  3. Attract people to you by example by showing them how many carrots you have, and showing them that if they follow your lead, they'll end up with the same fate. (And not be a jerk.)
The first two are the quintessential examples of hard power: Using military force and economic coercion or dominance to achieve one's aims. This has been the staple of America's foreign policy lately. Unfortunately, it's led to the decline of our global image and legitimacy in the global community: In other words, people don't like us anymore.

The third, however, is soft power: The power to influence others through cultural and ideological means. In other words, this means the power to attract other people to your ideals. It means diplomatic cooperation, taking the lead in global issues, and sensible foreign policy. And it means making sure that your country is viewed well by others.

Now, clearly, a country needs to use both types of power to achieve success. You can't conquer your way to success anymore, but neither can you just waltz around getting everyone to love you.

Nonetheless, America needs to focus more on improving its soft power if it wants to keep its role as a global superpower. We need to boost our legitimacy in the world if we want to stay competitive.

Besides, in the end, it costs you a lot less in carrots and sticks.

(If you're interested in this, read more about it at this link.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day

Just checking in to wish my somewhere between three and seven loyal viewers a happy Thanksgiving. Even in the somewhat troubled times that we live in today, there really is so much that we have to give thanks for: Health, happiness, freedom... and, of course, food. Lots and lots of food.

That being said, I also encourage you all to take a look at our President-Elect's Thanksgiving Address. Good stuff.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prospekt's March

On Novemer 24th, Coldplay will grace the world with yet another release in 2008, as they release a new EP entitled Prospekt's March. It includes never-released material from the recording sessions of Viva la Vida and a bit of other stuff like remixes and such. It's eight tracks long and solid.

I myself have actually had the opportunity to listen to this little gem of a release. While it's not quite the brilliance of Viva la Vida, personally, I'd say it comes awfully close. Personal favorites include Life in Technicolor ii (a lyrics-added version of the instrumental Life in Technicolor), Glass of Water (a dramatic, powerful ballad), and Prospekt's March/Poppyfields (you'll just have to listen for yourself.)

That being said, if you'd like a listen before the actual release, head on over to this link where you can hear a full stream of the album.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blarg

Ugh, speechwriting is quite the heavy burden on a debater's life. Quite the burden indeed...

On the other hand, I can now knowledgably engage in conversation on such enlightening subjects as blocking Georgia and Ukraine's admission into NATO, offshore dilling, foreign relations with Azerbaijan, Social Security privatization, amnesty to illegal immigrants, Carbon Taxes, making college tution tax deductible, tranferring troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, and diverting biofuel research funds to nuclear research.

So. Fun.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Pretty Cool Future

The past few years haven't given this nation (USA, to our international readers) a whole lot to be hopeful for in the coming years. Threats of economic turmoil, terrorists abroad, shady governmen behaviors, and just an overall decline in America as a whole have lead to some pretty bleak prospects.

Still, the election of a new, inspiring president gives the people of this great nation, and the world as a whole, a lot to be hopeful for. Imagine, for a moment, that in one day, though, everything went right.

This giant link is a fake Special Edition of the New York Times. I suggest you read it - realistic it is not, but inspiring, it is. One can only hope that a fraction of this stuff pops up in headlines in the coming years... but, hey, we can hope.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Like Meat

Vegetarianism has always made a lot of sense. Big agribusiness treats animals horribly, and I've always been in favor of only killing when necessary. I mean, I don't step on spiders. Mosquitos are the only bug that I'll kill 100% of the time, and that's because they actually do cause harm. Yeah, the whole killing animals thing never made much sense.

But oh my God, I could never give up meat. It is so amazingly tasty. I mean, big juicy hamburgers, steak, even chicken, it's all just like... I live for several things, and delicious food is a big one of them. And meat is at the top of those.

I like meat a lot.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations, Barack Obama

Congratulations to Barack Obama, the next President of the United States. I'll keep it brief: I hope that he can deliver on his promises. I really, really hope so.

Good night, and good luck.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Judgment Day

Well, there may not be fire and brimstone hailing down from the heavens, but yeah, it's a pretty big day. Today millions of Americans go to the polls to decide... the future of their nation.

Admittedly, I'm not hugely thrilled with either candidate. They both have their flaws, whether it be a questionable economic policy (Obama), a questionable foreign policy (McCain), etc. etc. etc. etc. The point is, neither one is the new Lincoln or FDR... but they both represent a hope for a brighter future. And right now, that future is pretty dark.

It's been a rough eight years - at the turn of the millenium, things were really looking up - we had a budget surplus, a rapidly growing economy, and, well, no wars. I'll admit - things weren't perfect, and the seeds had been sown for many things, including our current economic troubles, even before then. But, well... things have gone pretty badly in these last eight years.

So here's to a brighter future. Let's hope that America makes the right choice... and that whatever the choice be, that it all works out okay.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The World is Full of Jerks

My iPod got stolen yesterday. My $400 iPod touch. My baby that I used to take with me everywhere, which had all of my music, and also my personal calendar and various other doodads. It was also shiny. And cool.

I am very annoyed that someone would have the indecency to nab this from my gym locker. I am very annoyed that I can no longer listen to my music anywhere but on my computer speakers. And I am very confused because I no longer know what I'm doing this Wednesday or when I'm teaching my next piano lesson.

Curse you, world! Or at least, Curse you, jerky inhabitants of the aforementioned world!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Possibly the Greatest Animation Ever

Four years ago, the popular Flash animation site was hit with an animation called "Fallen Angel Teaser". The animation (which can be seen here) was a 3-4 minute action thriller set in a post-apocalyptic landscape, where a random girl comes in and causes some extreme havoc/carnage. Fantastically animated, it was rated among the top animations of its time.

Four years later, the teaser has finally bloomed into a full-blown animated feature, Episode 1 of a continuing series. I do not estimate by saying it is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Flash animations that I have ever seen. Trust me, you will NOT be disappointed.

It comes in 3 parts, and is about 12 minutes long, total.

Fallen Angel, Episode 1, Pt. 1
Fallen Angel, Episode 1, Pt. 2
Fallen Angel, Episode 1, Pt. 3

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Musician's Nightmare

Anyone who has ever even dabbled in the performance of music can appreciate this. I dare anyone to attempt to play the first two lines. Or any two lines, for that matter.

Monday, October 20, 2008

SCHNAUSS'D!

I've been listening to a good amount of ambient electronic stuff lately, especially while doing schoolwork. Specifically, the work of Jon Hopkins and The Field. Very good, innovative, relaxing stuff. Today I've found a third artist to complete a trilogy of ambience. This guy's been categorized as ambient, although he's a bit... frankly, louder and beatier than the others. Nonetheless, it'll do just fine.

Oh, and his name is Ulrich Schnauss.

Hehe. Schnauss.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Heima

Trawling through IMDB, I discovered a documentary called Heima, purported to be the highest-rated documentary to date on IMDB. Curious, I took a look - as it turns out, it's a 90-minute documentary by an Icelandic post-rock band that I am currently obsessed with - Sigur Ros.

Heima, at its core, I would describe as a pure work of art. It combines a couple of videos of live performances with a lot of really cool nature shots, and a couple of interviews with the members of the band, explaining what it was like to return home after a long time touring the world, the benefits and letdowns of success, and other random things.
The music itself is so amazing and artful that a music video itself would suffice. But the beauty of the shots that they blend combined with the raw honesty of the band and their sound just makes Heima a gem. There's no plotline, no story: Just an hour and a half of satisfying elegance, filmed entirely on-location in Iceland.
Disclaimer: I would probably listen to Sigur Ros's music before you watch. If you don't like them, this might not be for you. But if you can appreciate (or, like me, love) Sigur Ros's music, then give it a go. It's great stuff.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Diversification

Never hurts to try something new, right? I've recently been diversifying my musical tastes a good bit... From a pretty solid backgound of rock, alt and indie rock into the more... eclectic... genres of electronica (with trancey music from Jon Hopkins and The Field) and post-rock (with several not-so-well-known bands including Cordis, Mono, and Clogs). Today, however, I've decided to open up a new horizon, that being...

Classical music. Or, in 1800s terms, music. Pretty much, it's what we had up until about a hundred years ago. So it's bound to be worth something, right? I've gained a pretty strong appreciation for classical music through my high school orchestra, so I figured I'd get some stuff for my iPod. I've just gotten some Vivaldi, Yo-Yo Ma, and three 15-20 minute pieces that all sound pretty good. It's... interesting music, to say the least. Takes a while to get used to, but it's really good stuff when you listen to it, especially while you're working.

I feel like it's weird to listen to classical music, though. Pretty much, nobody does, so, well, yeah. Oh well. Screw you, convention!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kakistocracy

I recently learned a new word: Kakistocracy: Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens. I'm prayin that that's not where we're headed, although with Sarah Palin on the G.O.P. ticket, I haven't exactly been put at ease. Nonetheless, one can at least hope that we'll make the right choice come November 4th.

Also, atoning for one's sins on an empty stomach is hard work.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Presidential Debate, Round 2

And the second of three debates between Barack Obama and John McCain is now underway. The format is a bit more interesting - not just a straight-up moderator Q&A session with the two candidates. It's a "town hall format" - with a live audience asking questions in addition to a moderator, and the candidates standing up (without a podium) and addressing the questions. It seems a bit more personal and engaging, really.

Well, we'll see how this goes. They say that McCain is losing speed, and that a bad showing here would just about seal the deal for the Obama campaign. We shall see.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Phightin' Phils

The Economist is really a great newsmagazine. If you want to stay up on current affairs, and just be a generally worldly person, I'd definitely recommend it. 'Course, you could just go to newyorktimes.com, as well. But, if it's a weekly, more portable scoop you need, is good.

Also figured I've give a shout-out to my home team, the Philadelphia Phillies, who have just won their first playoff series in 15 years. They'll face the LA Dodgers in the NLCS. We rock the house.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rosh Hashannah

Well, the Jewish new year has come and gone. We Jews dipped apples in honey, threw bread into rivers, and blew oversized ram's horns all over the world, and thus ushered in a brand new cycle in the neverending circle of life. Fun fun fun.

The great thing about his time of year is that it gives us a time to zoom out for a second from our daily concerns. We get so caught up in our lives, with school, work, friends, social pressures, and so much more, that we almost neve have time to just take a minute and take a look at the bigger picture, to be thankful for all that we have. The truth is, it's not often that we have some time to look back on the past year and reflect on what we've done, good and bad. And more so, it's not often that we take a look at how much we have to be grateful for, and realize how incredibly lucky and blessed we are to have all that we have.

Gratefulness, I think, is key to a happy life. Rosh Hashannah, in many ways, gives me a reason to look at this again, and I hope to make it a core part of my philosophy. Consider it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

VP Smackdown

Watching the VP debate right now: Biden vs. Palin. Admittedly, Palin has looked a lot stronger and less... flustered than I thought she would, but nonetheless it seems like Biden is strongly in the lead here. Palin doesn't seem to want to give straight answers.

Personally, I think that Sarah Palin is an aberration in this country that cannot possibly be allowed to gain any real political power in this nation. Doing so would be a huge mistake. So I'm siding with Biden on this one.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yale

Well, back from Yale. Debated quite a bit, made it to semifinals (and almost finals), and had a nice time. I also went to the famous Sally's Pizza, which is not only famous for its fantastic pizza, but also for its amazingly long waits. (3 hours. Urrrrgh.)

In addition, I'd like to wish everyone a happy new year. Yes, that's what Rosh Hashannah is. Shame on you if you didn't know.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yale

Well, tomorrow I'm leaving for a debate tournament up at Yale - won't back until late late Sunday, so you won't here from me for a little while. Considering the amount of work I've put in (countless hours and counting), one would hope that I can at least make finals in my event. Or so I'd hope.

For kicks, topics that I will be debating include... Plug-in hybrids, offshore drilling, tightening Myanmar sanctions, privatizing Fannie (Mae) and Freddie (Mac), World Bank/IMF reform, eliminating water subsidies to agribusiness, the FairTax act, Georgia (the country), and FEMA reform.

Exciting. I know.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Hate Economics

My head hurts. So badly. I need to write a speech on why it's bad if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac tank (and therefore why they should stay nationalized), and why/why not the US should cut funding to the World Bank and IMF. Also, once done, I need large amounts of research on Ntl. Sales Tax, Disaster Relief, and Georgia. (The country)

I am busy. I am tired. I am going to Yale on Friday. Grah.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cannabis

Well, I've a debate tournament to go to at Yale on Friday, and I have until Thursday to write between 6-10 speeches, with research on four more. Curse my accursed to desire to succeed. It's always wreaking havoc with my free time.

Always amusing to find a proposed bill to legalize marijuana, though. If there's one thing you can bet on debating at around half of all forensics tournaments, it's pot. Because we really want our pot, don't we.

I also happen to have a really, really strong, 4-point affirmative speech prepared on it, that ranges from topics of medical benefits to economic benefits to deterrance of crime. I am set.

It's funny, too, because as not-serious of a topic it is, there really are a lot of arguments for legalizing marijuana. It really isn't as bad as it's made out to be. The problem is that stupid people always end up abusing it and throwing their lives away to get cash for it. The actual physical detriments are pretty slim - the main thing is that you're liable to do stupid things when under its influence. But the same can be said of Valium, and it is much more legal. In all truth, prescription pot makes perfect sense. It's just a matter of cleaning up the messy undeground use.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jammy

Friday night was one of the more profound musical experiences of my life thus far. Me 'n a friend decided to have a jam session, him on the acoustic gui-tar (which he rocks at), and me jamming on piano along with him.

Conclusion: Acoustic guitar and a grand piano do not rock very hard together.

Conclusion: Acoustic guitar and cello gel extremely well together.

After a bit of experimenting (including a semi-failed attempt to play a cello guitar-style), we finally realized that acoustic-cello improv sounds awesome.

If you hear of a band called the "Kaetan-Jon Connection" or "The G String" or something like that that involves a really talented guitarist and some random cellist improving, it's probably us. Go check us out, future people.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bored

Is it a bad thing to say that you actually want to go faster in a class? Because, right now, I actually want all of my classes to get harder and start getting challenging. In all of my three major courses (AP Calc, Honors chem, Spanish III), I've essentially learned nothing new. Calc, it's all about limits, which I already knew about. Chem is as interesting as a coma (dimensional analysis is so stupid.) and Spanish, well, nothing new yet.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but someone please throw something hard at me! Make me do derivitives, solve crazy chem equations, and teach me how to say "the world will end on the day that the Flying Spaghetti Monster descends from the heavens" or something like that in Spanish. (Not true, but nonetheless, you get the point.)

Of course, I probably won't be saying that tomorrow afternoon, when I'll have to write something like ten 3-minute speeches before Friday. But for now, I'm bored.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chocolate Rain

Well, I was recently approached with the weird idea of our school chorus singing a version of "Chocolate Rain" at their spring pops concert. One issue: They need a keyboardist to play the crazy accompaniment. (If it actually ends up happening, anyway.) Suggested keyboard expert: Me.

I am actually about to go learn Chocolate Rain for the piano. That's just a little creepy. Oh well. It's an 8-measure phrase repeated endlessly, with verrry minor variation. I'm sure my crazy improv skills can take care of that.

Oh, and if you've never seen it before, here you go. It's quite insightful, and also very funny. (Hint: Replace the phrase 'chocolate rain' with 'racism'. Gasp!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mobile

Well, this marks my first ever attempt at mobile blogging from my iPod touch. Granted, it's not as fast, convenient, or feature-filled as using a good old computer, but it seems to work just fine. Plus I've included a stylish drawing that I made myself. So very stylish. Oh, wait, no, Blogger isn't good enough to do even that. Hm. This post is somewhat lacking. Oh well.

Oh, and Michael Phelps is a great swimmer and all, but seriously, stick to swimming, Mike. Acting just isn't your forte. (See: SNL, 9.13.08)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sleep is Bliss

One of my favorite songs, Rebellion by Arcade Fire, starts with the lyric "sleeping in is giving in." If that's the case, than giving in is bliss. For someone who gets an average of about 6-6.5 hours of sleep a night and rises at 5:30am, sleeping for nearly 11 hours until 10:30am is like... So, so, so very good. I love sleep.

In other news, the LHC Rap (Large Hadron Collider) has taken the internet by storm. Watch and be educated, amused, and slightly embaressed by the sheer amount of nerdiness. Also, just be thankful we haven't been turned into seventh-dimensional spaghetti or something.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spreading the Gospel of Pastafarianism

I'd like to announce that I have become a follower of the Pastafarian movement. For those of you unfamiliar with the movement, we Pastafarians believe that the universe was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He and his Noodly Appendages are responsible to all that you experience about you. There are many of us; millions of supporters, in fact, and, no, I assure you, I am not joking. To all skeptics: He is invisible, of course, and that's why you've never seen him. Have you ever seen the Christian or Jewish God?

A little background: In 2005, the Kansas State Board of Education voted to require the teaching of intelligent design. In response, one Bobby Henderson sent this letter (which I strongly encourage you to read) to the School Board in response. Two years later, the decision was repealed. No, the Church of the FSM does not necessarily require that you believe in its deity, but rather the principles behind it: The opposition of the intelligent design movement, the defense of science, the opposition of religious fundamentalism, and the support of a fully secular government. Religion should be fully separate from politics, although this is clearly not the case today.

Remember, the majority support of a theory does not justify it. For all its support, intelligent design cannot be taught as a scientific theory in schools, simply because there is no evidence supporting it. One could argue that there is no way to disprove it; this is a weak and overall stupid argument. If the theory that an omniscient, all-powerful, Judeo-Christian-Islam God created all we know can be taught in schools, but is impossible to prove scientifically, then it only makes sense that other beliefs should be taught as well. You cannot disprove the belief that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created all that we know.

Many people that would advocate such a "ridiculous" theory as this would be marked as crazy, even heretics. Apparently, one need not have justification for a theory to be taught, only have it described in ancient books, taught as a sacred truth on Sundays, and instilled into the minds of children in school for it to become acceptable.

I encourage you to check out the Church's website. It's one of the more sensible beliefs out there today. And no, this is not an athiest/agnostic manifesto. I continue my Jewish faith: I only consider myself a Pastafarian because I reject mindless worship, and fully support a secular govenment.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Apple

Well, this is going to be an exciting week for Apple. The uber-famous electronics company is holding an event this Tuesday with the title "Rock On". Unsurprisingly, the blogosphere has gotten some near-404s with the sudden influx of Apple fanboys and girls drooling all over their keyboards in anticipation for the next generation of iPods.

Nonetheless, there is, actually, a 99.999999% chance that Apple will, in fact, update the iPod line. Rumors point to an updated, slimmer, taller, and bigger-screened iPod nano, and an iPod touch with... something new that no one seems to know yet. iTunes 8, with cool new features, is also in the mix.

In other news, I downloaded a $9 album from Apple, which iTunes now says I'm not allowed to download. It refuses to tell me why. Hopefully, Apple will answer my email and solve my problem before this Tuesday. Or else I might just have to angrily crash the event and eat Steve Jobs.

*Cough*

Saturday, September 6, 2008

If R.E.M. Was Right...


This is apparently a simulation of what would happen to the Earth if a giant flaming meteor the size of Texas hit us. Somewhat unlikely, yes, but we might want to think about ways of avoiding this. This would bring whole new meaning to R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)".

In other news, I've started school. That means homework, lack of free time, and stress, stress, and more stress. Though it is nice to see the friends again.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Assault on Reason

I recently started reading Al Gore's The Assault on Reason. It's a really fascinating book, which takes on the notion of an emerging trend in U.S. politics toward ignoring facts and analysis when making policy decisions. He argues for a free, open "marketplace of ideas" that has not been fully present since TV and radio replaced print as the dominant medium. Also, he heavily criticizes the Bush administration throughout.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have disagreed with the GWB administration on quite a few things. Just for starters, the war in Iraq, massive tax cuts to the wealthy, fueling an unprecedented national debt, the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, and the Guantanamo Bay incident, just to name a few. No, I don't like him, but that doesn't mean I hate him as the rest of the public seems to. But if half of what Gore writes has some inkling of truth to it, then I've got reason to worry.

Gore asserts that the Bush administration has been knowingly and willingly subverting the truth, spreading false doctrines and propaganda to the public, and ignoring blatant truths and then making decisions based on their ignorance. He argues that Bush enforces an extreme right-wing agenda, and will go to any means to advance that agenda. Case and point being Iraq: Gore asserts that Bush was looking for ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq well before the September 11th attacks, and used falsified evidence to "prove" that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons (which was soon proved by the United Nations).

He also says that Bush is not, as the public portrayal goes, stupid. This, I can agree with. Still, reading stuff like this makes me worried about the state of our country. Read The Assault on Reason. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Don LaFontaine (1940-2008)

We've all heard it before: That chilling, deep voice that comes on in the beginning of a movie trailer to announce that we're "In a world where..." and so on. Unfortunately, a great legend in the business has died: On September 1, Don LaFontaine, probably the greatest voiceover guy who ever lived, met his end at 68 of a blood clot in the lungs.

We may not have known your face well, Mr. LaFontaine, but my thoughts are with you and your family. I will never hear another voiceover again without thinking of this great man.

Now, for your enjoyment, a video tribute to the legend.

Monday, September 1, 2008

G.O.P. VP a BP: Bad Pick

Until very recently, I was undecided on who to support in the upcoming presidential election. Strictly speaking about the candidates themselves, although I was favoring Obama somewhat for his policies, I was planning on waiting until the debates to make a real choice. However, recent rumblings in the McCain campaign have pushed me far, far away from the GOP as I can get. That rumbling's name is Sarah Palin.

I can see Joe Biden in the Oval Office. He's a respected man with a long list of legislative accomplishments, a good set of positions, and a nice foreign policy agenda.

I cannot see Sarah Palin in the Oval Office. She has never held a real legislative position, and has no experience except two years as governor of a state that has a total population one quarter than that of Brooklyn. She essentially strikes me as a hockey mom that ascended into local government, as she put it, from her beginnings as a member of the PTA. Now I hear that her 17-year old daughter Bristol has been pregnant for 5 months. In other words, the child of a very conservative mother who advocates strong Christian values had not the morals to stop herself from becoming pregnant in high school.

This is totally aside from the actual socio-econo-litical issues in the election. To me, Sarah Palin is far too conservative for my taste, and puts too much stock in her Christian background. I see religion as something personal. It should not be used, or at the very least advertised as the guiding principle behind one's policies. But stuff like this worries me. I am simply unwilling to entrust a strictly conservative, right-wing person with virtually no experience and questionable judgment with the massive amount of power that the Vice President wields. Don't forget: Especially in John McCain's campaign, the competence of a VP as a potential POTUS is important. And the McCain/Palin 08 is seriously lacking here.

Also, just as a by the way, her childrens' names, are Trig, Piper, Willow, Bristol, and Track. If you're going to run the country, at least give your kids some decent names. Seriously.

Congratulations, Sarah Palin, you've managed to convince me that Barack Obama is the right man for the job.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bagels

Throughout history, the questin has been posed: Is (wo)man fundamentally good? Fundamentally evil? Or just neutral, a blank slate? To date, a clear, concise concensus has never been reached. Yet, today, we might just find the answer... in bagels.

Take Paul Feldman, former government employee-turned-bagel salesman. He sells 8,400 bagels a week to 140 companies, and he is quite content with his job, thank you very much. One little thing, though: Instead of overseeing every transaction, he uses an honor system under which he leaves a bunch 'o bagels and a wooden money box along with a sign that suggests that customers pay $1. It's practically begging them to commit a crime: A bunch of hot, steamy, delicious, Jewish bagels, and no one to call you out if you just happen to snag one.

Here's the thing: Mr. Feldman's data indicates that roughly 89% of his customers pay for their bagels. In other words: Even though they are not required to pay, only 1 in 10 people steal a bagel. Not the best evidence for innate corruption.

Personally, I feel like it's a bit of stretch to relate bagel sales to the fundamental human nature. Still though, it almost seems to shoot down a lot of negative arguments. Yes, people do crazy bad things. But, well, maybe they weren't just "bad" people right off the bat. It's not that simple. And it seems pretty hard to say that people are, well, bad.

This came from the book Freakonomics. Great book. Go read it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barack Out

Hehe, just starting to watch Barack Obama's candidacy acceptancy speech at the DNC. Unfortuantely, it seems that the crowd cheering for him and chanting "USA!" will simply be the context of his speech. They've been going for like five minutes and all he's said is "thank you". Hehe.

Oh, by the way: No I haven't chosen a candidate to support. But dude, everyone's watching this thing. Including the 80-friggin'-thousand people watching him in that giant stadium. He's like a black Ronald Reagan. Except a Democrat. Hehe.

Anyways, I'm leaving for Massachusetts tomorrow, and I won't be back 'til late Sunday. I'll be doing my first college tour at Williams College. Exciting. So, might not be in touch quite as much.

Keep on rockin'.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Zimbabwe: Crash and Burn

If you know anything about Zimbabwe, you probably already know that it's not a nice place to live. Crazy dicatator named Robert Mugabe, political oppression, mass AIDS/starvation, etc. Bad stuff. But their problems are just getting silly now.

Zimbabwe's current inflation rate, according to the BBC, is 11,250,000%. In other words, prices are doubling every 22 days. And, man, is it ridiculous. Z$100bn is worth approximately one British pound, less than $2 American. To give you an idea: it cost a BBC reporter Z$600bn to buy two dozen eggs. The day before, it was Z$375bn.

The bank just announced it was cutting 10 zeroes off of its currency. So, the old Z$10bn is now Z$1. So what do you do with all of the old banknotes? God knows.

Don't go to Zimbabwe. Seriously.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Arm Yourselves With Knowledge

Before checking any link, go to the Rickroll Database.

It might save your life. You can thank me later.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Buh?

Oh, where has the summer gone... it seems like it was only half way over a week ago... and now I start school in a week. Fantastic. Of course, this means that I have quite a bit to take care of, before that. Back to school shopping, haircut, and a trip to Massachusetts that will certianly include college visits.

Oh, and for essays for AP Microeconomics. Which I should get started on right after lunch.

*Sniffle*

At least I have The Flaming Lips to keep me company.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Home

Back home from the beach. Got in really late last night. Still really tired for some reason, plus the unexplained GI discomfort doesn't help. Curse you, stomach pain! Either I'm going to wash this out with a 20-minute shower, or I won't be quite as productive as I thought today.

Meh, I'll find a way to finish my summer math HW, anyway. Although doing it makes me depressed as to the fact that I have only slightly more than a week left in my summer.

Also, I'm spending the next week iPod-less. SADNESS!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cordless Charger / Death Ray

Apparently, Intel has their fingers in a bit more than computer processors. It's got its fingers in all sorts of shady projects of potentially unimaginable power. Prime example: The recently revealed "wireless power broadcasting system."

Here's the scoop: Intel has been testing a system that can proadcast up to 60 watts of power as much as 3 feet, with only 25% energy loss. In theory, this could spell the end of wire spaghetti, and a bright future for glowing, radioactive charger tables.

Still, I mean, look at that picture. Wireless power system!? More like super death ray prototype. Watch out for Intel, guys: In a year or two, these guys will have enough power to vaporize an entire laptop. Or city block. We'll find out soon enough.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oh Sweet Procrastination


I always thought that procrastination was simply a staple of the school year. I see now that it is not so - with a large calculus packet and three mini-essays to complete by September 2nd (actually, more like August 28th, due to a trip to Massachusetts, or however you spell it) I seem to be suffering from the most blissful of all ills at the moment.

I'll probably try to make a dent in the math packet tomorrow. The essays, I will probably leave to devote a day to in a week or something. Hopefully, it won't be that hard, hehe. GIANT PICTURE!

In the meantime, I'll keep listening to The Rhumb Line, by Ra Ra Riot. Go listen to it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Music Overlooooaaaadddd

My neverending thirst for new music seems to be driving me over the edge. I'm currently searching for new bands, and I'm downloading random things nearly indiscriminately, sometimes without even listening to a preview of a song first. So far, some of my recent pursuits have included...

Mono, Jon Hopkins, The Flaming Lips, Ra Ra Riot, Deerhunter, Monkey, Panda Bear, and probably a few others. On a tip, I'm also considering finding new albums by The Stills (Oceans Will Rise), and the Dandy Warhols, in addition to some funky Australian band called The Grates. No word yet as to whether I'll actually pursue.

Oh, and I haven't listened to any of this stuff except for Jon Hopkins, who is way cool.

Now when am I going to listen to all of this...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Composing is Hard

I clearly have creative inspirations above what I have the means to create. For the past week or so, I have been inspired with the idea of composing a song. About a week ago, I came up with a piano riff that I thought I could possibly run with. I have delusions of grandeur with this - two key changes, a string backing, and some inspiring lyrics.

Turns out it's not that easy. It's pretty hard to record a song, track by track, when you have no recording technology except a crappy laptop mic that does a pretty bad job at picking up spoken words. Recording a cello is out of the question.

Is it really worth it to spend a couple dozen dollars on something I'm not even close to needing? I think I have the potential to write at least one decent song, but does that really matter?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Volt

Some of you guys may have heard of the Chevy Volt, the first commercially available plug-in hybrid that will become available in the US in 2010. Translation: Electric car. Sort of like an American Prius, but backwards. (Instead of running primarily on gas and switching to electric, it's primarily electric and switches to gas if it needs to.)

That the major players of the automobile industry are heavily researching this, to me, is great. Plug-ins, at least in theory, get awfully good mileage, to the point where one might not even need gasoline at all, and are essentially zero-emissions unless they switch to gas. Since home electricity costs a fraction of what gasoline costs, it's a win-win for everyone. (Except for the oil industry. But seriously, who cares?)

Considering that, according to this graph on the Dept. of Energy website, the US uses 70% of its petroleum on the transportation industry (which in turn is 96% dominated by petroleum), this is a big step in the right direction. The US is the biggest consumer of petroleum in the world, thirstily drinking a hearty 20mil barrels per day. All day. Every day.

With gas prices skyrocketing as they have in recent years (we almost hit $150 a barrel last month. Oil didn't even hit
$40 a barrel until '04), the US's obvious addiction to foreign oil has become a problem. We import almost 70% of our crude oil from other countries, which puts us at the mercy of the market. As supply falls and global demand rises, prices are only going to get higher, and supply much more limited. And with over half of our imports coming from unstable OPEC nations, the issue is not only economic, but one of national security.

It's good to see things like this, though. Makes you think it might just be possible for us to get off of foreign oil dependency, eventually.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cellofourte

There are millions of musical artists out there, all with their own unique sound and twist on their own particular genre. However, one stands out to me as particularly unique and interesting, and that is the Pittsburgh quartet known as Cellofourte.

They pioneer a genre known as "cello rock", establishing their musical style by, as they put it, "boldly defying the boundaries of classical music and rock". Their music contains the subtle intricacies of classical music along with the catchiness, beat and groove of classic rock. It's lyricless, it's original, and it's like nothing you've ever heard before.

As a cellist, I am in love with their music. I highly suggest you take a look, if you're interested in hearing something a little bit out of the ordinary.

I offer two things - a
music video of their song Combustion, and a link to their website. You can find some cool stuff there. (You can also check them out on Myspace.)

I also highly recommend that you buy their new album Combustion,
which can be done here, for $10. Trust me, it's worth it.

The Vacation That Was, Part 3: Frieeennnddddssss

Sorry I haven't posted lately - it's been hard for me to log into my Blogger account for some reason. Stupid Google. Done with work, though, so I do now have some time on my hands, which is nice. Before school starts anyway.

Anyway, through the entire 10-day vacation, I did a lot of cool stuff. I saw bald eagles and seals, went kayaking in the glaciers, and just saw some overall amazing stuff. But the trip wouldn't have been half as amazing without the amazing people that I met there.

Y'see, there was sort of a "teen club" onboard the ship. Sounded a little cheesey, but I decided to give it a try. Very good decision. I made probably a dozen good friends on the ship, a few of which I think I'll stay in touch with for years to come.

It's hard to put into words, but I just met some overall awesome people. And throughout the ping pong tournaments scavenger hunts, wild dance parties, talent show, hot tubbing, and general coolness, we became better friends than you could ever expect from a weeklong cruise. I met people from all over the US, from California to Texas to Illinois. I also met a Briton, a Scot, an Aussie, and several Canadians. All were amazing. (Especially Joe, the Brit, and Hayden, the Aussie.)

So, this about concludes my vacation review. I hope you've almost sort of enjoyed. Now I can get back to my semi-regular blogging duties about things you might actually be interested.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Vacation That Was, Part 2: Cruisin' Through Alaska

Got a webcam today! Lots of interesting things to do with that, I think.

Anyway, today I continue my 3-part review of my vacation with the big part: The cruise on the Celebrity Mercury through Alaska. It'll be ultra-condensed, but still good.

Sunday we boarded the ship around midday. Let me tell you, the boat was huge... 14 floors of amazingness, complete with two-story restaurant, pool, game room, several nightclubs, bars, buffets, workout room, spa, basketball court... it goes on and on. Needless to say, it was somewhat overwhelming for the first couple of hours/days.

I'll use this post to talk about the places that I visited, however, so... Our first port of call was Ketchikan, Alaska. Lots of jewelry shops around, which tells you that the town was built off of the original gold rushes in the area. We decided to take a nature hike with the five hours that we had off the ship. We first visited a bald eagle reservation, which was amazing. Seeing bald eagles up close is pretty cool stuff, for an American, anyway. Still, we then took a nice hike on the Deer Mountain Trail. Uphill the whole way, but very scenic, at any rate. Overall, the town was nothing special, but it was just cool seeing Alaska in general.

The next day was the Hubbard Glacier. We didn't disembark for this one - instead, the ship got within half a mile of an enormous block of ice, really. It was freezing cold outside, but the views were spectacular. Seeing the glaciers up close was pretty humbling, really - witnessing a giant force of nature that carved the Earth into what it is today is pretty cool. There was also some calving going on, basically huge chunks of ice falling into the ocean. Good stuffs.
Next up was Juneau, and we spent our day doing one thing only - sea kayaking. Let me tell you, kayaking in crystal-clear water surrounded by mountains and glaciers is something that you should jump at the chance to do. I don't think I've ever tasted air that clean. Plus, we saw a ton of wild bald eagles just lounging around on sandbars. We got within like 10 feet of one before it spooked. Also, there were a bunch of seals that decided to chase us around. It was really fun watching the little guys pop up from the water and back down again. Great, great experience.


Our final port of call was Sitka. Warning: There is virtually nothing in Sitka but jewelry stores and totem poles. If those don't interest you, don't go. It was a pretty dreary day, too. Still, we made the best of it - we found this pretty cool aquarium that had some pretty exotic wildlife, and there was a quaint little nature walk that went for a mile or two. Not the most exciting day, but still worth getting off the boat, at any rate.

I'd rather not overload y'all with details, so my last post will be about the ship and the people I met. Until then, enjoy some of the pictures I've scattered throughout.

Pictures (top to bottom): The beautiful Celebrity Mercury, a bald eagle in Ketichikan, view from the middle of Deer Mountain, part of the Hubbard Glacier, some mountain in Juneau, some crazy sea star in Sitka, and kayaking in Juneau.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Beijing - 8.08.08

Sorry for the delays - work ahs been quite busy, and it looks like the rest of my vacation review will have to wait antoher couple of days. Still... currently watching the opening ceremonies. My TV provider seems to be unable to keep up with the demand of the olympics - the HD channel won't work, and the first hour that I recorded is unreachable.

Still, the opening ceremony is like nothing I've ever seen. Amazingly beautiful, really. If you haven't seen it, I recommend you flip the channel.

In other news... less harmoniously so, Russia and Georgia (the country, not the U.S. state) are now at war. What a great way to start out the Olympics, a great time of world unity.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Vacation That Was, Part 1: Victoria!

Today, I give you the first of my two-part, overly summarized review of the vacation that was, for me. This installment details the first leg of the trip, to Victoria, British Columbia.

The trip started at 4am, getting up for a 7:30 flight out of Newark, NJ, which we almost missed. Six hours later, we were on Canadian soil, and a three hour bus/ferry combo brought us to the beautiful city of Victoria.

Victoria, you see, is a tourist town. That is, everything looks nice... but prices are also notoriously higher than you'll likely find at your local shops. Small wonder that we still managed to buy quite a lot of stuff, including a stylish T-shirt and fuzzy fleece for myself.

We stayed at the Fairmont Empress hotel, essentially the swankiest, most historic hotel in all of Victoria. This year marked its 100th year in business, and it had played host to many a celebrity over the years, including the Queen herself.

Highlights... The Royal Wax Museum (and praying with wax-Ghandi), downtown Victoria (very nice waterfront, and a lot of great stores), Oh Gelato! (a gelato place with 66 flavors. Blueberry cheesecake=Heaven), the Victoria Parliament Building, and buskers. There were many of these talented musicians lining the streets, ranging from Celtic violinists to acoustic duets to some crazy reggae band that used six marimbas. Wild stuff.

Pictures, from top to bottom... Victoria Waterfront, the Victoria Parliament building at night, me praying with Mahatma, the Fairmont Empress, and a mime. Next entry: The real highlight: Cruising through Alaska!

video

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Un-Dead

Hold on to your seats, six loyal readers. This could be a long one.

Anyways, as you might know, I recently returned from Canadalaska, exactly a week ago. You may have also noticed that I have, for the most part, neglected to update this blog since then. This is due to several reasons, among them... Jet lag, needed recovery time, dark moods due to missing friends and a relapsing medical condition (I hate my kidneys), busy-ness due to work, and a host of other things, laziness among them. I can say for sure that I will be updating more frequently now, although I really wouldn't count on daily updates. Bit of a stretch, that.

Anyway, a review of my trip is forthcoming - not today, though. Too long to fit into this already crowded post. So, instead, I think I'll treat you guys to a small mix of songs that I've recently discovered. Hope y'all enjoy. For you we have...

Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) by Arcade Fire
I have recently come to love Arcade Fire, a somewhat nontraditional rock band that incorporates some nice orchestral elements. This one has a beautiful, swirling atmosphere, and some nice lyrics as well.

Rebellion (Lies) by Arcade Fire
More Arcade Fire, from the same album (Funeral). This song is just really cool - great lyrics, catchy main riff, and just a great one throughout. Fun to sing along to, as well. (Note the children's chorus.)

Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and Other Games) by Of Montreal
This song is just freakishly catchy. Very upbeat, with a bouncing, bright bassline. Just an overall happy and fun song that I have recently become addicted to. Check out the music video on Youtube as well - very cool.

Marching Bands of Manhatten by Death Cab for Cutie
Opening track to the album Plans. Very good album, by the way. Still, great lyrics, and a gradually building song that eventually explodes into sound, and a witty ending, in musical terms.

Present of Future End by The Most Serene Republic
Musically, a feast for the ears. Very energetic, explosive, and utilizing a lot of band instruments, which is always good to hear. Lyrics are extremely bizarre, which makes it more intriguing. I am currently in love with this song for its fantastic sound. Hope you will too.

Inní mér syngur vitleysingur by Sigur Rós
Before you ask - no, it's not in English. It's by an Icelandic post-rock band called Sigur Rós, and no, it might not be for you. It's all in Icelandic, and roughly translates to "Within me a lunatic sings". It is an extremely catchy and uplifting piece, with an amazing, building riff near the end that explodes into sound. If you're willing to try something new, give it a listen. Trust me. It can't hurt. Seriously.

Hopefully, that's enough to fill the gap. Enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sad

The river ebbs and flows
Shining brightly in the riverbead
Never slows, only rushes
Ever faster

The river is wide and deep
Dark and uncertain
An infinite bottom, and
Blind curves, unforseeable
Around every bend

And the penguins fly past
Graceful and free
Confined by the sides
Watch nightmare and beauty flow one and the same,
Meander hopefully on

They wake
They try to grip the sides
To slow the tide
To change the rules
And the river rushes on

The river is fast
The river is uncertain
The river is rough
The river is cruel
The river lives without a mind

The river ebbs and flows,
Shining brightly in the riverbead
Never slows, only rushes
Ever faster

Yet one grabs a hold
Lifts himself up
And sees another
And they are one
And they sink into the perfection

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Vancouvalaska


Aiight, y'all, I'm off to vacation tomorrow - and, I might add, waking up at 4am for it. V_V Still... I'm going to Vancouver, BC for a few days, and then embarking upon an Alaskan cruise for a week. Pretty sweet, yeah? No computers there, sadly. No, sadly, the computer has not yet crossed the border into Canada, I'm afraid. Fantastic culture, though.

In the meantime, to keep you happy, I give you... Coldplay on Shaun of the Dead!





Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Johnny's Gone... Jazz!

Well, Coldplay kicked off the first leg of their Viva la Vida tour last night, so I see it only fitting to post a funny video involving them.

I give you: Johnny goes Jazzy. Stop at 5:20.

"Chris! He's got jazz!"

Monday, July 14, 2008

Josh Hamilton is a Monster

The MLB Home Run Derby this year is particularly special - it's being held at Yankee Stadium in its final season. And newcomer Josh Hamilton (of the Texas Rangers) is making history along with it.

This guy is a monster - he hit 28 homeruns in the first round alone. The best previously was 24 by Bobby Abreau of my beloved Philadelia Phillies, a record I thought no one could ever surpass. Plus - it seemed like over half were over 500ft, the longest of which was 512ft - ridiculous.

I'm going to bed soon, so I can't watch the final round. But Hamilton has 32 homers through two rounds. The record is 41, also by Bobby Abreau. He might just break it, but even if he doesn't, his performance has been unlike anything I've ever seen.

Hats off to this guy. He is insane.

Check ESPN.com for highlights later on.


EDIT: Epic fail. 3 homeruns in the final round to fall to Justin Morneau. Still amazing.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hair

Couple things of note...

1) Went to see Wicked on Broadway yesterday. Fantastic musical, great effects, the whole package, really.
2) Also went to an interesting restaurant, review possibly to come... Joe Allen's, it's called.
3) Most importantly... I just got back from a haircut. I. Look. Like. Shit.

See, the "stylist", as they're calling themselves these days, discussed with me what I was looking for - a simple trim, leaving it pretty long, because I have good wavy hair. Instead, she trims me down to a buzzcut, length 3 (I asked for 6) on the sides before I realize what's going on. I now have fine hair on top, but hair that's half as short on the sides.

Why, God? Why must you test me so? Why must you make me look stupid?

Gahhhh.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Lol Beat

Well, today's the day! What, you didn't know? Today marks the release of the highly-anticipated, recently-updated, extra-featured, ultra-portable and kid-friendly iPhone 3G! Doors opened at the stores at 8am, to let a giant wall of human bodies flatten the store, sans iPhones.

However, apparently, the huge demand of iPhone activations... has led Apple's activation servers to crash. Translation: The peoples that bought iPhones can't make them work.

As a pure Verizon Wireless user myself, I can only offer my condolences by saying... LOL PWND! ^_^

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Man @ Work

Blogging from work. Ooooh.... eeeevil. I am such a bad employee. ^^ Nonetheless, I am nearly dying of boredom. Creating lists of newborn baby screening results is quite tedious.

2:47pm: Been entering data into a computer for five hours now. So... boring.

2:56pm: Eyelids getting a bit droopy... must fight it off...

3:02pm: Activated iPod, loud music now playing in my right ear.

3:05pm: Loud music stimulation obviously failing.

3:14pm: Feeling an odd warm, wet substance coming from my left ear... not sure if I should be concerned.

3:28pm: This is my last report... consciousness fading... heart rate slowing... speak well of me when I'm gone...

3:32pm: The magical elves have come. Must be off.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New Phone!

Well, it's official: I have now replaced my crappy Razr with a brand new LG VX8350! Finally, I don't have to worry about my battery running out in the middle of the day... after charging the phone up all night. It's great - it has a sweet battery, blazing fast interface, and is just an overall solid device. I love it.

Plus its name is super trendy.

My only complaints: I can't open it with one hand like I used to with my razr. The edges of the Razr sort of curved inward, making a groove that you could get your thumb into. The LG's edges are flush with each other, so leverage is impossible. Plus the flip seems to be made of freakin' lead. It's really strong. But, yeah, that's pretty much my only complaint. ^^

Yay.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Death and All His Friends

The latter half of Coldplay's new album title provides the closer for the album, and our featured song for today: Death and All His Friends. Personally, my favorite track.

The song starts very soft, with some gentle chords and a crooning lead singer, a little bubbly guitar here and there... and then basically EXPLODES into this crazy guitar and synth and everything melody, and drives on into this really cool synth part... and then fades away as quickly as it started, into a twinkling end, leaving you (or at least me) wondering what the heck just happened.

There's also a bonus, at the end: A hidden track, called The Escapist. I'll leave y'all to here it for yourselves.

Clicky!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

42

42. A very famous number: In fact, the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, if you believe anything that Douglas Adams writes. (Seriously, it's in Wikipedia.) However, there's another thing that this number is famous for: Being the fourth track off of Coldplay's new album, Viva la Vida.

Some of you may have noticed that my upload site didn't take too kindly to my upload of Coldplay's newest album. So, instead, I'll be uploading good songs from it, one by one here and there, which will hopefully elude the watchful eye of legality.

On that note: 42 is a really cool song - it's actually a 3-part rhapsody, you might say. It starts with a haunting piano ballad with a string backing, suddenly bursting into a really funky guitar jam session, and finally coalescing into a fast, driving and uplifting section of jamming guitars and crazy piano... all to end the last dozen seconds with the original, first section. In my opinion, a masterful piece.

Clicky!

Friday, July 4, 2008

America Day

Happy America Day, everyone! I've decided to call it that instead of July 4th because, let's be honest - who actually celebrates today about the signing of the Declaration of Independance. You just don't see it. No, today is a day to participate in the most American pasttime we can think of - eating our weight in food. I mean, I wouldn't normally eat two burgers, a hot dog and three slices of cake but, y'know, its the Fourth of July...

Still, cynicism aside, have a good holiday, everyone. Also, my apologies for a lack of posts - as it happens, a job that requires you get up at 6:45 and don't get home until past 7 is not a hospitable atmosphere for blogging. Or me. Stupid commute...

And props to me for writing this on a digital iPod keyboard!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

DOCTOROCTOGONAPUS BRAAAAAHHHH!

Commuting sucks. I hate trains forever. They're ruining my summer! So, instead of ranting, I will give you a random bit of insanity. Skip the first 30 secs.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Best Worst Birthday Ever

Today is the last day of June, which means it's ma birthday! Happy birthday, me! Well, not exactly. Y'see, today was also my first day of work - surprisingly not as good. I'm working at a Children's Hospital, but it's too far to drive. So now I'm commuting by a 1+ hour train ride. To accommodate it... I got up at 5:45 for my first day to make a 6:45 train. I'll not bore you with the nitty gritty, but basically, I was really excited, and then got slammed with eight solid hours worth of typing test results into a database. It was possibly the most intensely boring experience in my life, and I was somwhat crestfallen that I might waste my summer doing that.

By the time I got back, having basically been isolated from the world because of my young age, it was 6:50. I walked about a mile to a local Starbucks... and then waited there. For over two hours. I was feeling so miserable, and humming "happy birthday" to myself. I felt pretty crappy.

But... I got a call from my grandparents. Their goofy singing made me laugh, and I felt a little bit better, to know that people really did care. Then I asked the barrista about teas, and he entertained me for a solid 10 minutes, doing comedic interpretations of the different teas and their backgrounds. The tea he recommended was really good, and it kind of lifted me up. Then my dad finally came, and let me rant for a solid 20 minutes. Then, as a surprise, my little sisters came and gave me birthday cards and hugs, and, well... it kind of turned the day around. Now I feel better.

I guess it just goes to show you how fast a day can turn around. Two hours ago, I felt like shit, feeling like my summer was going to be horrible. Now... I'm a renewed spirit, I guess. ^^

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Boom De Yada Boom De Yada Boom De Yada Boom De Yada...

It's things like this that make me want to smile and give everyone a hug. I've watched this like twenty times, and it never gets old. :]

Rock on, world. And Stephen Hawkings.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Where the Hell Is Matt?

Well, if you've become used to my recent trend of very long posts... rejoice! It's short 'n sweet.

I found this site called Where the Hell Is Matt? It's basically this cool guy named Matt who travels the world doing his crazy version of a dance. He's made two videos that have basically become internet phenomenons, which can be found on his website... and now he's got a third, new one!