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!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Alphabet Universe

Why is life so confusing? I mean, even once you learn the necessary things there are to know, get into a routine, know how to meet the basic needs... they are so many complexities, so many variations, so many... possibilities. All of this makes for one complicated world.

Why can't things be straightforward? Let's say Person A has a thing for Person B. In a real, idyllic world, the Alphabet People could simply be together, simple as that. If they realized that things weren't working out, they could simply break it off and start over where they were before.

The real world isn't so simple. In reality, all potential outcomes should be predicted first, in the event that something doesn't work. If they break it off, it might lead to a dangerous rift and lead to pain for either one. But it's not even that simple: Person A might be unsure of his feelings, having gone through emotional turmoil. When a third Alphabet Person, Person C, is introduced to the equation, even the most experienced Calc major will lose his mind and resort to pyromania.

The point is, things are rarely simple. If one sees the universe as a single thread (or maybe several), split into various microthreads for each possible outcome of a situation, then one can see how amazingly complicated the tree of history really is - billions, trillions, quadrillions, quintillions... innumerable amounts of possibilities, all intertwining and intersected to form wondrous and confusing realities that no one could ever truly understand the width and breadth of.

It truly boggles the mind.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I like good people. I like people who are kind and intelligent and funny and witty and caring and generous and... yeah. So many people are underrated, unnoticed, never seen, even though they are the ones who deserve the most to be. So often, the people that get the most attention and admiration are the ones who deserve it the least. I mean, look at most celebrities these days. Or even the "cool" crowd in school.

I reject the classic definition of cool. A "cool" person isn't someone who wears brand-name and trendy clothes, who makes sure they're appearance is picture-perfect, plays the right sports, and what have you. A "cool" person is someone worth knowing, someone who's interesting for who they are, or is just a good person who you like to be around.

It helps when you realize that you're surrounded by people like that sometimes, people who don't always show everything on the outside, and sometimes even hide, but inside, are real gems of people. (This is a semi-shout out to a special friend, who we'll call M.)

The world works backwards sometimes. I should write a paper, or a book on that. About how backwards the world is, about the definition of cool and how it really should be. that would be cool.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Definitely Not Zagat: Becco

Well, today, I try my hand at restaurant reviews. No, this isn't exactly Zagat quality, but hey, worth a try. Y'see, before the Coldplay concert, my family decided to splurge on a nice dinner, which brought us to a nice homestyle Italian place in the Hell's Kitchen district of Manhatten called Becco.

Word of warning: This is probably the most upscale dining place I've ever been to. We're talking an $18 minimum per person, most entrees in the $20-$30 range. So don't go for it unless you're willing to splurge on good food.

The word Becco is derived from the Italian word beccare which means to peck, nibble, or savor. I don't know about the first two, but I did quite a bit of savoring. The restaurant is best known for its savory, home-inspired cuisine of its owner, Lidia Bastianich. It's signature dish (which I ordered) is called Sinfonia Di Pasta, and features a trio of pastas with unlimited portions, along with an appetizer. The pastas are handmade fresh each day, and there is a different pasta for each night. Great quality.

I found myself with an Antipasto Misto, a seafood appetizer beautifully presented with fresh vegetables and seafood. For the first time, I tried monkfish and... octopus, the latter of which is surprisingly chewy and, well, fishy.

The main course featured spaghetti with tomato basil sauce, a penne bolognese, and a Swiss chard ravioli. All were absolutely fantastic, and had a unique bite to it that, I'm told, was a result of its handmade nature. I finished them all, with seconds.

In conclusion, if you're looking for authentic homestyle Italian cuisine with a nice modern decor, Becco is definitely a great choice. I award this one a mutant three thumbs up.

Becco • 355 West 46th Street • New York, NY 10036 - Telephone: 212.397.7597

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

COLDPLAY @ MSG 6/23/08

Well, I just got back from seeing Coldplay at Madison Square Garden last night, and I am bushed. The concert was absolutely amazing. Here's the low down:

Coldplay opened up a contest on their website for people to win free tickets to a show at MSG. I didn't win, but a friend of mine did, and being awesome, he gave me the tixx. So, my family and I took the train into Penn Station, and went to the arena. I also got a stylish t-shirt beforehand.

The concert was... AMAZING. Extremely energetic - 10,000 screaming Coldplay fans make for some powerful singalongs. They played some old hits, including Clocks (complete with lasers), God Put a Smile Upon Your Face (very powerful), and Fix You (
hugely powerful). They had some really sweet new songs, including Viva la Vida (huge singalong), Lost! (with lots of handclaps), and Lovers in Japan, the closer.

There were some cool things included, too. The band moved to the middle of the arena and played two songs there, which was way cool. Then, later, they moved up into the seats and played a two-song acoustic set: A heartbreakingly beautiful version of Yellow, and a new song where the drummer sang. Also, lots of tech: Laser lights, confetti butterflies, and six giant magic balls that were huge spherical video screens.

What impressed me the most was how with the crowd Coldplay was. They actually messed up certain parts (beginning of Chinese Sleep Chant, end of Lost!, and some lyrics on Fix You), and handled themselves well, joking with the crowd and ad-libbing lyrics. At one point, with some technical difficulty, the lead singer said "Fuck it, we're cancelling the show. No refunds!" which got a huge laugh. He even made new lyrics on Fix You when he forgot a part.

Either way, it was a magical night. They were amazing. You can read my full review here, or if you don't trust me, search Google.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mellow Mongrain

Today marks yet another installment of Jon's Musical Menagerie. Or whatever the hell we're calling it now. Today's featured artist is a French Canadian by the name of Erik Mongrain. You'll find his music to be unique and interesting for a number of reasons, chiefly among them:
  • His works are purely instrumental
  • He plays only the acoustic guitar... but uses an interesting technique called "guitar-tapping" to make some pretty cool sounds.
To put it simply, his music is good mellow music: Stuff you might want to listen to when you're feeling thoughtful, or good background music for when you're working or have company over. I'd definitely give it a listen - it's a valuable addition to a good library. The album is called "Fates".

Alternate Link

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Yay for free wireless internet! Extremely awesome.

On an unrelated note... Cookie Monster (of Sesame Street fame) has apparently recently appeared on Comedy Central's Colbert Report. Hilarity ensued.Ah, fun stuff. Stephen Colbert is a genius. And yes, I know this made the page explode. DEAL WITH IT!

Friday, June 20, 2008


I often find that listening to music can help influence how I feel, or at least, I often listen to different kinds of music based on how I feel. Lately, though, I've been having a kind of hard time finding an accurate song. Last night, though, I finally found a good song: World Spins Madly On, by The Weepies. It's a really great song, I suggest you check the link. It's helped me a bit.

Also, I'll be leaving for a week at the beach in Delaware tonight, so don't expect as frequent updates. Still, I might be able to pop in once and a while.


Thursday, June 19, 2008


I just found this site called, and it's really cool. Here's what it is: It's a free, non-profit word cloud generator.

Yes. Exciting. So very. Very. Exciting.

But seriously, now, it actually is pretty cool. Basically, all you do is type in a bunch of words, and it makes this really cool collage of all the words in it. Take, for example, me: I copied an outline of a speech I gave about energy independence and U.S. OPEC dependence, talking about how we need to get away from foreign oil. Here's what came out:
It's totally free. I suggest you check it out! Plus it's fun to say. Worrrrrrdle! ^^

Truth or Dare

Well, I'm just about off to bed: it's 12:10 in the morning and I am dead tired. >< Still, good times, good times.

Truth or dare is now my favorite game ever. I went to a pool party, and we had some pretty crazy dares. Some of them included... licking of breasts (girl on girl), motorboating (also girl on girl), pole dancing, and me both getting a pseudo-lap dance and wearing a bikini (which didn't fit exceptionally well down low.)

Ah... good times. Can't beat crazy times with your friends.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

Remember when I blogged about Coldplay's new album a week ago? At the time, the album had illegitimately been leaked into the interwebz, and I wasn't too willing to share.

As of today, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends has been released to the entire world. As of today, it is also the major frontrunner for my favorite album of the year. That having been said, I know feel that you are all worthy of a free download:

Coldplay - Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

Standout tracks: 42, Lovers in Japan, Viva la Vida, Strawberry Swing, Death and All His Friends (Though, really, I love them all.) Also look for hidden tracks: Chinese Sleep Chant comes after Yes, and The Escapist closes out the album after DaAHF. Happy listening!

Seriously, though: I encourage you all to go out and buy this if you like it. I did. Stylish art insert if you do, good stuff.

Oh, and I'll also take this time to shout out to a freshman who requested to be codenamed 'M'. Instead, we'll call him/her Mycroft Oxley the Third. Jolly good!


Getting blood drawn hurts. Stupid pointy needles... Also, it kinda sucks knowing that you have a kidney disease without any definite knowledge of cures, with your own doctor confused about just what to do with you. Good thing it's not serious. ^^

On the other note, THIS is who I want to be when I finally decide to man up and actually put some effort into my guitar playing:
The rest of it doesn't matter. Just the original song. I just wanna be that d-bag.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cello Rock

Well, I play cello. And I love to play cello, which you can tell by going slightly earlier in the posts and finding out that I recently played in Carnegie Hall, which rocked. But, y'know, as far as classical music goes, I can play it, I can appreciate it... but it's just not something I'd listen to on my iPod.

Enter Cellofourte, a cello quartet of epic proportions. A friend of mine at UPitt pointed them out, and from what I've heard, this is crazy stuff. Warning: This may not be for you.

Check it! It's their first music video: Combustion

They don't seem to have any digital releases yet, so I'm looking into getting a hard copy CD... somewhere... But, if I get any of their songs, I'll definitely pass 'em along.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Party Shuffle Sucks

Most people, by now, have an MP3 player. If it's any good, chances are, it has a shuffle function. I don't know about you guys, but when I shuffle through all 1900 of my songs, there's a lot of crap that I have to sort through before I get to something I really want to hear. I listen to full albums, and even if I like the album itself, it doesn't mean I like all the tracks in it.

So... I make playlists. I just spent the better part of an hour yesterday creating three new playlists, so now I have about 10. I'm curious: Is that weird? I don't know how many people like to use playlists to determine what they listen to. Personally, I like shuffle... but I want to shuffle through certain types of songs sometimes. That's why I have playlists.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Portal: Wheeeeeeeeeeee

Now, I don't pretend to be a connoisseur of video games. Far from it. Nonetheless, I have, undoubtedly, discovered one of the greatest video games ever created. It's called Portal, and it is so, so very cool.

So very crazy. Here's the premise: You are some a test subject in a giant, mechanical test chamber. You have been given a portal gun, a device that lets you create portals and jump between them. In one, out the other, and your momentum carries through... which lets you do some crazy physics tricks... which is how you get through some giant puzzles. This whole time, you're being led through the course by a creepy, psychopathic, sadistic computer called GLaDOS.
It's just so cool. I suggest you get it, ASAP, from

Now you're thinking with portals!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Maritime - We, the Vehicles

Today brings another indie release by a band known as Maritime called We, the Vehicles. Personally, this is one of my favorites: A mainly guitar-based album with a lighter, brighter sort of feel. There are a lot of catchy guitar riffs and rhythms, but none of the hardcore, intense playing you'll find in a lot of modern alt rock. Serve hot, with a sprig of mint to garnish.

Recommended tracks: Tearing Up the Oxygen, Parade of Punk Rock T-Shirts, German Engineering

We, the Vehicles

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Okay, Now It's the End

It's over. I have conquered Global Studies and Spanish 2, and I am now officially done with school. Cooltastic. Coolriffic. Coolicious. Cooltasticrifficlicious. Teehee.

You'll probably be hearing from me more often for the next couple of days, though that's not to say I don't have a busy summer planned. Internship on a genetic research team at a children's hospital in the cities equals me being plenty busy.

On that note, y'all enjoy all of your summers. I'm off to listen to some new music (The Most Serene Republic) on the hammock outside. With sunscreen. (Thanks mom and fair skin. If you're wondering if the world has it in for you, check and see if you have pasty white skin. If you do, chances are the answer is yes.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The End

I am tired, I am overstretched, I am burned out. I have gone 179 days, not including the endless torrent of extracurriculars at hand. I am through with sophomore year.

Except for finals. Two two-hour tests tomorrow. Just Global Studies and Spanish 2. And then I'm free. At least for a couple of days, before work starts. I have paperwork to fill out, I have suits and ties to buy, I have AP course work for the summer, and whatever else the world wants to dump onto me.

But by noon tomorrow, if even only for a couple of days, I am free. It couldn't come at a better time. I just wish it could come faster.

Random Domo-kun attack!

Monday, June 9, 2008

iPhone: Reborn

Well, I'm pretty excited: Apple has just announced the new iPhone! It's got a bucketload of new features, with cool stuff galore. Very, very cool stuff.

The question is: Why am I excited? I'm with Verizon, and don't plan to switch to AT&T anytime soon. So, why?

Because it's cool. So very cool. And I like hearing about cool things. Here's the lowdown on features:
  • 3G support. Simply put: It downloads stuff WAY faster, so it's like iPhone on steroids. All the time.
  • New shiny plastic back... and it comes in white, too! No more scratches!
  • Lower price... $199 instead of $399! Sweet!
  • Built in GPS, which is cool for Google Mapsing stuff and such
  • International support: Works in like 70 countries
  • Apps: This is why I'm excited. See, Apple's letting people create real programs for the iPhone... and iPod Touch. Which I have. In other words, real applications and GAMES. Which is freakin' awesome.
There's also some other minor stuff that doesn't matter, like some weird software stuff and language support 'n such. Bah. Regardless, the fact remains: Uber cool!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Word of Warning

A word of warning: If you're taking the SAT II in physics or math, study. Also, go as fast as you can. Don't blow it off until the night before. Seriously. When you finish without even getting to the last three on physics, you realize that you've done something wrong. ><

I feel very productive, though: I wrote an essay, organized my Global Studies notebook, finished a study guide, wrote outlines for four speeches, and wrote a pictures-only notecard for a Spanish speech. Not bad for 24 hours. Feels really crappy during, but once you finish... it's good stuff.

iLive. iBreath. iWorkMyAssOff. Four more days...

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Big Push

It seems that for most undertakings of finite length, there's often a final push before the end. Whether making a birthday present, perfecting a musical piece, or, in my case, attending high school, there often seems to be a period near the end where you go into overdrive, desperate or forced to finish, where everything suddenly hits you at once.

This weekend is my big push. Two SAT subject tests, prep for a Spanish oral final, prep for a Global Studies essay final, an essay for a community service class and prep for a large-scale demonstration, and the beginning of studying for the full-on Spanish and Global Studies finals on Thursday. Oh, and I need to fill out a ton of paperwork for my summer employment.

Please, whoever's up there or out there, just get me through this weekend. (And week.)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Leaked: Viva la Vida

About a week ago, I mentioned a quote about Coldplay's new upcoming album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. Admittedly, I'm a big Coldplay fan, and I've been anticipating this for a while.

As it turns out... yesterday, an early copy of the album leaked to the public. Being a terrible person with no morals at all, I immediately downloaded it. And let me tell you, apart from the fact that the leaker screwed up the quality of the first track... It's definitely the best album I've heard all year, and possibly for several.

I'm not going to give you a link to the leak: I encourage all of you to buy this album when it's released on June 17th in the U.S. I know that I will. But man, this is one crazy good album. In the meantime, here are the two singles they've released so far:

Violet Hill
Viva la Vida

No I don't want to battle from beginning to end
I don't want a cycle of recycled revenge
I don't want to follow death and all his friends.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Back Home

Back from NYC. Carnegie Hall is undoubtedly the most amazing and magical music place in the United States. At least, that I've ever been to. The acoustics were ridiculous. It was so cool being able to play there as a high schooler. Someone once told me that the odds of playing in Carnegie Hall are 1:73,000. Guess I beat the odds.

While there, I also walked around Times Square... Couple of interesting pictures for you guys to take a gander at. Hopefully, that'll keep everyone busy enough while I go get some much
needed sleep. >.<

From top left, counterclockwise: Roryx!, M&M's World (greatest place on Earth), weird Target-sponsored rave at the top of the Rock, THE Carnegie Hall, Sunset from the top of the Rock(afeller Center), Exploding cars at the Guggenheim Art Musem