Monday, November 30, 2009

AwesomeCard


Groceries from Target
$15


Mattress Pad from Bed, Bath and Beyond (a place that Yussi thought was made up until he got to the US)
$52

Beer with friend Yussi at the Wonderland Bar in Columbia Heights
$8

Walking on the Metro and seeing Joseph and Jane (who don't know each other at all)
Awesome

Talking to both Joseph and Jane on the Metro and getting called to by Lauren from down the car
Doubly Awesome


There are some things that people who are not awesome can't do. For everyone else, there's being awesome (like me).

Now accepted wherever being awesome is allowed.

Limited Awesome is available. Some restrictions apply, like the ability to be awesome. Brothers are obviously part of this promotion, but not often are sisters all awesome at the same time. Void in Utah, because they are not awesome. No, don't even try to argue with me about the awesomeness of Utah, because you will fail. Even their lake sucks so much it turned salty.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"The Iceberg"

Just to reiterate, Thanksgiving is the best American holiday.

Today, I had two thanksgivings.

1. Thanksgiving with the Peters'
Arriving at 8:15am, Kelley was confident she'd set an alarm. As it turned out it was already after 8, which is the time she'd sworn she'd set her alarm for. While Kelley got ready, I went to Beaners (a.k.a - Biggby) and got coffee and cider. Mrs. P and Lauren P. were running in the Turkey Trot that morning. The race began at 9am and we were told by Mr. P to make, "three points of contact," during the race. We arrived at 9:30 and made one point of contact. Kelley was blamed, the family laughed at her, and then made fun of Lauren so all was forgiven. After, we all returned to the Peters' so the runners could primp and the others could play video games.
This is when the story gets interesting, 14 years ago this week, the Peters' moved to Michigan. During the move they didn't yet have a dinner table, but across the street was a lovely restaurant called Old Country Buffet. This was their saving grace, and for 13 of the 14 years (they had a hiatus one year where Kelley prepared a meal that included a chestnut stuffing - discussed during "dinner" as a failure) and so, per tradition, we attended the Old Country Buffet today.
Before eating, Kelley talked about creating a dish with lettuce and soft serve that I dubbed "The Iceberg." A challenge was issued, and Kelley - with much protesting - finally took a single bite. She was not pleased. Other than that dinner wasn't as bad as I remembered OCB being from my teenage-hood. Plus, the people watching was pretty interesting.




2. Thanksgiving with the Dominguez's
This year, we opted for a more traditional Turkey Day. Mom was actually available - not volunteering with the garden club or somewhere else - to cook this year. For the few days leading up to the holiday, Mom cooked a variety of side dishes culminating in a 14-lb turkey during the holiday festivities. Sadly, Grandma came down with a migraine and dropped out, but with Kelley, Nick, Rebecca, Carmen and Danny PLUS the full Dominguez family, we had a full list. The food was great, as always, and Mom even got Nick to utilize his family's oven (across the street) to complete the squash casserole.



I just want to reiterate again, Thanksgiving is the best American holiday.


>> End (21/50)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Want for to watch a movie?

With all of that work to do you'd think I would spent all of my time working, working, working.

But does that sound like my style? Of course not.

Instead I spent most of the day before I left taking all my DVDs out of their HUGE wallet, putting them in piles by their genre and typing them into a spreadsheet for easy cataloguing. Yes, it is a little neurotic, thank you!

Regardless, I now know that I have 276 movies on DVD or Blu-Ray including: (randomly selected titles) Underworld, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Fall, Shawshank Redemption, Scream, the Santa Clause, Unforgiven, and a bunch of other films.


Now here's where this becomes interesting for you, the reader. I have a number of duplicates which I am looking to sell.

Here's the list, if you're interested maybe you should contact me and offer me some money!

Duplicates:
Batman Begins
Casino Royale
Jurassic Park
Matrix Series
Night at the Museum
Stargate
V for Vendetta

Look it over, let me know if you're interested!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Old Socks

What is it about old friends? I worked at olive garden for a year and a half and met some of the greatest people I've met in a long time.

Good friends are like old socks. Let me explain. New friends are like new socks. They feel great; they're soft and make you feel comfortable. But the real test of a friend is how they do after they've been through the ringer a few times. Old socks. Old friends. If you still want to wear them years later. They must have something that can keep them competing with the new socks.

Michigan is great. While the accent is really noticable, the people are really amazing people. Seriously, the guy at wendys talked the girl through the contents of the sandwhich she ordered. That is a rarity. Not something you'd see in DC that's for sure.

>> End (20/50)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Three Haikus and Making Fun of At Least 2 Countries

I am back in Michigan for the best American holiday there is. People say we have no true American cultural holidays, but no one celebrates this like we do.* In honor of my flight home and my lack of time, I wrote three haiku's today.


The Journey

flying in a plane

not a vegetarian

home for thanksgiving


The After


turkey is real good

the tryptophan makes me sleep

though football is lame


The Table


gravy, cranberry

stuffing and some pumpkin pie

eating till I pop


snap snap snap snap snap...


Thank you thank you, our next reading will be from a regular, Yussi Pick and is entitled, "Austria and Germany Are Different I Don't Care What You Say You Jerk. Autobiographical"


* Yes, I know Canada celebrates Thanksgiving too. But it's fake. It was created by an act of Parliament in 1957 to give thanks for the closing of the harvest season. Plus, it's a month early. It's like that kid that shows up for a party set for 9pm at 8:45 because his Mom told him to be early. Lame-o!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Day in PJs

There's something awfully satisfying about spending the whole day in your pajamas. You can get a whole bunch of stuff done because you can't leave the house – unless you subscribe to going out in pajamas, which is really trashy.


Today, I didn't leave the house. I slept in and spent the day working on homework, eating a baguette with some goat cheese that would have been bad before I got back from Michigan, and making deliverables in photoshop.

I'm getting a lot better at photoshop, I'm learning the shortcuts and what things mean, using layers and more than just a few of the tools. For the first time I can remember, I started with a blank canvas exactly the size I wanted and created something from nothing. That felt really good. I'd post it, but it's for a client so I can't just in case it is used, plus that would spoil the surprise for my classmates!

Last night we had a great friendly get together. It was one of those that later you'd refer to as intimate. We had music on, and some people played video games, but for the most part we just stood around and conversed. Literally talked to each other for hours and hours. Sometimes mostly listening, sometimes mostly talking. It was really a great feeling. I am definitely and extrovert because a night like that is far more relaxing then a day inside by myself.

Regardless, after a full day of an average amount of work I am sitting, still in my pajamas, and wishing that it was tomorrow night. Then I would already be back in Michigan with my family, beer in hand.

I can't wait for this week.

>> End (16/50)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

5 Random Lines at a Party

Trace: "the next five lines will be written by people at julies party on Utah ave."
Andrew: "it's a murder suicide! Bshh! Bkkkh!"
Corinne: "foxes?really? I see you two foxes and raise you alot of beer."
Nick: "to eliminate the confusion between bid light and regular budweiser, let's call regular bud diesel. Also, my favorite christmas song is the one that goes "merry christmas, merry Christmas, but I think i'll miss this one this year."
Candace: "the time has come the walrus said/to talk of many things/of shoes and ships and sealing wax/of cabbages and kings."
Dick Diggler: "my ass is hot... Yep this thing is on!"
Manda: "brownies in pans and thanksgiving hams. Celebrate oh celebrate, before morning comes..."
Julie: "reach in there and get my wallet, it's the one that says bad ass motherfucker on it. True story."
Joe: "watch out for the media"


This has been. Random phrases from Julie party guests. Thank you.

End (15/50)


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mr. Peoria Prepared Bullshit

Sitting in my basement place of residence, there is a rack. On this rack is my food. Written on the shelves of this rack, it says, Mr. Boston Prepared Cocktails.

I was curious as to what that meant. So I looked it up, while drinking Yuengling prepared traditional Lager. ('merica's oldest brew'ree they say)

I did some research and found out that Mr. Boston Prepared Cocktails are the convenient and efficient way to serve delicious cocktails that are perfect every time. Only the finest ingredients are used and every cocktail must meet the highest standards of excellence.

This got me thinking. When I make a cocktail would they be Mr. Trace's (*snap) prepared cocktails? Like that time we had that James Bond Party that one time?


The research concluded that Mr. Boston Prepared Cocktails offer a clear and profitable opportunity. The "recipe revolution" has led to increased interest in mixed drinks as women and young adults look for milder-tasting, more palatable cocktails.

The text here got to me. Women and Young Adults are the only ones in the world who want tasty cocktails? I mean, like my friend Marshall always says, "Oh, poor me. I get to order yummy pink drinks with chunks of real fruit that guys secretly like but can't order because they'll be made fun of... They're delicious!!"

Maybe someday when I open my bar (you know what it's called) then I can have my own Mr. Trace's (snap) prepared cocktails.

Here is the recipe for one of my favorite cocktails:

  • The Vesper
  • Three Measures of gin
  • One Measure of vodka
  • 1/2 Measure of Kina Lillet (a.k.a Lillet Blanc) - which cannot be substituted with vermouth

Shake or stir this over ice till cold and pour into a martini glass with a twist of lemon.

Yum.

Maybe they can get a prepared cocktail of this? Of course, then it would just be a vat of liquor. Who wouldnt like that?

>> End (14/50)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The First Half is Funny.

This might be a bit of a cop-out, but...

While watching Grey's Anatomy - is it just me or does the writing for that show mirror a steamy version of a 14-year old novel? WTF happened to people using their brains? Now the most popular movie in the country and some of the most popular television shows were written for pre-teens and they are capturing all the females' pocketbooks. Really people. Get over it.

But I digress, while watching a crappy late night Soap, waiting for another one to start (the better one, she said) my roommate Coline tore a page out of the Cosmopolitan she was complaining about and handed it to me.

The page was entitled, "+ your body" and contained titles like, "Feeling Dizzy When You Stand, and "Can a guy increase his penis size?" (all capitalization has been maintained - gotta love inconsistency!)

These articles were usual Cosmo fare filled with shady sourcing like The CBS Morning Show or Your Friends Say, blah blah blah... However, in the middle of the page in a bright blue box, was a story entitled, "Swine Flu: What's Risky?"

The "story" which was actually one paragraph accompanying a grid of pictures reads, "The virus everyone is talking about moves fast and can be lethal if a secondary infection sets in even if you're young." I liked that, it was simple and to the point. The lead also speaks truth about how the H1N1 (or the Hiney as my Dad called it the other day) doesn't kill you, it is a secondary infection. The second paragraph reads,"Make these tweaks to keep yourself safer, and see an MD at the fist sign of symptoms." Which is bollux because an MD can't do shiet for you if you actually have the swine flu. They'll just tell you to go home and sleep for a week. Ask Kelley she got it!

To the right of this is a grid that lists High Risk behaviors like "bear hugging" and "missionary position sex" and how to decrease spreading the Swine (or Hiney) by altering these habits slightly. Here's the exact grid reposted without the courtesy of the magazine, but I get nothing out of it except humor.



It is just as ridiculous as it sounds. Again, a publication that is written for a 14 year old. What happened to the days when the News was about what was happening in the world?

I shudder to think what we would do if another Joseph McCarthy hit the stage, gripping the country with fear. Imagine a nation of 14 year olds freaking out like that; the screech could be heard in Nicaragua.

Our society is entranced by sparkly vampires and adults that bitch at each other like catty teen girls. Our shows are populated by characters that supposedly went to years of college or med school and can't express feelings or thoughts with anything more than one syllable.

It makes me sad. Give me an Edward R. Murrow or a Walter Cronkite someone with substance over sensationalism.

>> End (13/50)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cupcakes vs Pie

DC is obsessed with cupcake shops. They are everywhere! If you do a search in DC for cupcake shops you will find dozens. I have only been to one so far. It's called Something Sweet and it's up here in the northwest DC area. I liked it, I had a couple of cupcakes and a piece of cake that I took to go.


What I like about cake is how light and sweet it is without being too much. Often people compare cake to pie, that's just silly. They are fundamentally different desserts!

Can someone tell me what the real difference is between a muffin and a cupcake? These days you can get a chocolate muffin with chocolate chips. Throw some frosting on there and it's pretty much a cupcake.

I'm hungry. This post is pretty lame, but I am not feeling particularly inspired. oh well.

I did bar trivia this evening, we tied for 4th! I used to be good at triva! I was on the QuizBowl team, which means when combined with Band and my generally nerdy demeanor I was pretty cool in high school. I offset that by lettering in Track and Cross Country and joining the swim team. Also by being awesome.

>> End (12/50)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hell Hast a New Name, Homework

I look terrible! I need a shave and a haircut (two bits!)

I just wanted to list exactly what I have still to do for the rest of my semester. Just for my own benefit, and as I didn't know what else to blog about today, now it can be for your benefit too.

Theory
  • A 15-25 page literature review concerning the saliency of YouTube videos and how internet video is changing and shaping messages.
Research
  • A class project based on the survey I wrote totaling at least 230 respondents
  • A group presentation on our class survey results
  • A 12+ page paper containing the information that we obtained in the survey
Principles/Strategic
  • Complete the Strategic Communications Plan for Fresh Start Catering [FSC] (our client for our group project)
  • Design the deliverables for FSC to be used for our Pitch to said client
  • Group Presentation to the Client and Class
  • Presentation on the Tipping Point's seventh chapter which deals with suicide and smoking (fun!)
Writing
  • Research for my Final Paper which is...
  • 10 - 15 page feature story on the Michigan Green Jobs Initiative and how one laid off auto worker (who is a composite character) got a Green Collar job
  • Re-writing everything I've ever written for this damn class. Everything.
So that might be the complete list. It's a lot, and it's due over the next 26 days. That doesn't seem so bad when you get it all out there... right? Maybe? Guys?

I need a drink.

>> End Post (11/50)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why don't you get the app for tha... AWW you only have a crackberry. Sorry.

For those that do not yet have the pleasure of owning an iPhone, I thought I would lay out some of my favorite apps. Just to brag. For those that do have an iphone, try these out. Maybe you'll like them! Btw, I only get free apps, and all of these here are (or were) free when I got them.

In no particular order:
SimplifyMedia, probably one of the coolest apps for the iPhone. It comes in two parts, one is the app, and the other half is on your computer at home.

The app pretty much destroys the idea that an 8Gb phone can only hold 8Gb of music. It does so by streaming the content from your home computer over (Wi-fi, 3G and even Edge) right to your phone! I tested it by streaming a short songs of my own and a Harry Potter book, and it is actually streaming the songs, not downloading them to a cache and then playing them, or using a central library. It is actually YOUR MUSIC. Very cool.

As if that weren't enough, you can also share with friends. Up to 30 people can use SimplifyMedia so play from your library and you can use multiple devices and computers on one account. Who needs a media server when you have this!
Download at: www.simplifymedia.com

Next is food related, I used it today giving me the idea for this post. It's the Chipotle Ordering app. Simple, you open the app, it finds the closest Chipotle and you order your food. You can either pay in-app with a saved credit card, or choose to pay when you get there, if you're wary about security issues. What a tasty idea!


I like simple games. I'm not simple minded, but unlike Steve Jobs and some of the other reviews I feel like the iPhone isn't a great gaming platform. The screen is just too small and it really kills the battery life of the phone. Now the iPod Touch, that's a different story. However, this game is really a lot of fun. It's also got a fantastic name. Trace. That's the name of the game. Trace.

Named because of the way it's played. You draw lines on the screen with your finger, erasing as needed. You can walk on the lines, but don't touch the obstacles or it puts you back at the beginning of the "level." Each "level" is one screen, and they do time you, but there isn't a running clock. I like the design, and the music is very whimsical.



On Twitter yet? Don't worry, you'll probably miss the boat. But thanks to an MA at the School of Communication, I am on it. TweetDeck is used by Cali Lewis (an AMAZING geek blogger - check out her site and get her GeekBrief podcast!) and I was exploring my options so I tried it out. It is still early in development, but it's really promising. It also links with Facebook and is slim and clean. The popups (every computer users bane) are minimal and it uses Adobe Air technology so it's universal. I first got to TweetDeck from their desktop app and then they launched an iPhone one. Another nice feature is they sync with each other automatically. If I search for Nobel Peace Prize on my phone, when I get home and start up TweetDeck it will ask me if I want to add the new search. Perfect!


=====> added after 12am <======

Note to reader: the 50 blogs in 50 days required me to post before midnight so I did, but I thought I would add a couple of other apps after-the-fact, because... I dunno maybe someone who gives a shit actually reads this and could benefit from it... Everything b/w these lines was added later.

One of my most used apps has to be Yelp's app. If you've never used Yelp, then you are missing out. It is one part social network and one part service/nightlife critic. The difference is, the critics are you! Crazy right? The website Yelp.com runs the app and provides the content. You can search for bars or restaurants in their list, sort the lists by average rating and all sorts of other fun things, or you can just type the name of the place you want to go. I have been scouring DC for some full on screamin' Mexican food, and Yelp has been my foodie friend. Well, Yelp finds 'em and Katie and I eat.


The reviews are posted and don't get removed easily, so even if the restaurant complains (as I understand it) Yelp doesn't take down the review. This can go both ways as sometimes people are stupid and post things that have nothing to do with the quality of the place and instead are just because they are... well, stupid. I love the app and use it whenever I don't know where to go or what to do in a new (or familiar) city. You can always find new stuff!


The newest app in my collection is Stanza. It's the most recommended e-reader online for the iPhone. Having only played with it for a day or so I'm not familiar with all it's features, but you can look around online and find out more. So far I'm impressed. It is easy to read and the interface, while a little slow on my iPhone 3G(sans the new S) is really very easy to navigate. The page turn animation is really beautiful and not only aesthetically pleasing, but it allows the reading of the last line as you turn the page AND makes it feel more like a book rather than scrolling on a screen, which can get tiring. (Note: I am proud to post this page-turning screenshot, it was a pain in the ass to get and took true multitouch span as I had to hit both the power & home buttons to snap the screen, and flip the page at the right time. Plus I wanted the pretty first page).


Now, before you get all judgy, the app comes with Alice in Wonderland and apparently books are free to download. As I said I haven't played with it too much so don't take that to heart. Either way the app is free.

=====> end of added bit <=====

There are lots of apps I'm not mentioning that I really like, NASA has an app where you can get photos and see mission logs, Discovery Channel has one for trivia, showtimes and fun facts, Facebook is pretty much the MUST HAVE app of my life, eBuddy logs you into AIM, ICQ, Facebook, GChat, Yahoo chat and a few others when you just HAVE to be connected. I even have an app called Legendary that is just quotes of Barney Stintson. Yea. I know. Awesome.

>> End (11/50)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The creativity train has lost its steam

I really don't know what to blog about today.

The more I talk to my classmates here at American, the more I get the impression that we are all burned out and ready for the semester to be over. Most of the students say the same thing, "I started out so motivated, so ready." We all agree that we read every page, took great notes, highlighted our texts and looked up sources. But not anymore.

Now we spend class trying to cram it all in the brains so we can use it for the next discussion. Compare what we've learned in Research and how it feeds into Theory and how we can take what we've learned in Writing and turn it around into a better grade through re-writes.

It's a lot of pressure and a lot of work that seems to be just free falling down onto us. "I'm brain dead." said Eve to me just this evening. "I want to go home."

I walked into the J-Lab last week, and Anna commented that "I looked tired. More than usual, actually." Which is when it really hit me, I don't sleep like I did in my big bed in Michigan, when the worst thing I had to worry about was whether I could remember if the Chicken Milanese was pan seared and what veggie options we could get when we substituted grilled veggies on the Mixed Grill. I slept like a rock. Asleep in one minute. Now I lay awake, my brain whirring like a grandfather clocks' innards. you can't see them, but they just go, and go.

I think the work is great, the topics are fascinating and often class discussions are amazingly in depth and nuanced. But as soon as we are alone together we have a beer and discuss how drained we all are; not necessarily physically but like our brains somehow leaked out our noses, Egyptian style.

I feel like my grandfather clock needs a good winding, and no that is not a sexual innuendo. Although I guess it could be, but that's a little viagra-weird.

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, not just for the break (since I am sure I'll still be homeworking in Michigan, but hopefully I'll sleep better. Even if just for a week. I'll get to play with Bear, and hang out with my homies who complain about customers constantly but don't all have a 25 page paper to write about the future of messages and how internet video is changing communication.

On a lighter note, Shefali turned 22, 2Amy's Pizza as great (and a floppy-haired dick made it dinner with a show) and I bought a new sweater at J-Crew.

>> End (10/50!) w00t!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ode to the 1990s Gen-X Film

Ripped button-up shirts with no sleeves

Big breasted babes with bleached blonde hair
Cut-off shorts that used to be jeans
Backwards hats that are faded and lame

Shallow messages
Pleather jackets
Boxey technology
Terrible fashion

Lots of layers
Shirts 'round the waist
Silly slang n' slurs
People gettin' wasted

You have to admit that when Bill and Ted meet
and Airheads rock out
the Hackers work the Usual Suspects
living on the Cutting Edge of Nirvana
in a Platoon of Motorheads
which makes even a Kingpin say Bull Durham.

I bet it stars John Cusack and Winona Ryder.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Packages of Crap

For those of you that have been following my blog, you'll notice the massive header is gone. I'm not sure how I like it... I made it last night at 2am.

Today, a saga has come to an end.

A month ago, I purchased this crap: The College Essentials DVD Pack from Woot.com.


Well, it arrived today. For those that haven't read the original post, the summary was. I purchased it after a night out that involved quantities of rum. When typing in the address, I used the incorrect zip code.

It was purchased on October 18th and arrived yesterday November 12th. Moral of the story? Sometimes when you drunkenly buy crap, you can inadvertently create a pretty good story out of it.

The DVD packs are pretty interesting, I've already watched Hackers and discovered Angelina Jolie's left boob, and now I am watching one of many Baldwin connections. This time it's Billy in The Usual Suspects.

Here's Katie looking through my latest crappy purchase. Anyway, I just figured I'd finish the story... don't want to leave you all on the edge of your computer chairs for more than I have to.

>> End (9/50)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chicken, Bacon, Barbecue. Can You Go Wrong?

Tonight, I will make a post that follows the format of the girlfriend's...

I was hungry, but had very little in the fridge with which to cook.


I knew I had this barbecue sauce from when I was last at Williams-Sonoma. I really wanted to use it with some chicken breasts. As it turned out, there were a few in the freezer!

Consulting The Girl, I began the exciting process of de-thawing the chicken. The sauce in question was...

It reads, "Balanced by garlic, tangy cider vinegar, spicy jalapeƱo and paprika, Smoky Bacon’s tender hand-cut chunks of wood-smoked bacon imbue chicken, pork and beef with hearty flavor." Needless to say, I was pretty excited.

What I used:

3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Chicken Breast
1 Le Creuset
1/2 Jar Smoky Bacon Barbecue Sauce
1 Empty Stomach

Take the Olive Oil and put it in the Le Creuset, heating it to medium high.
Press the chicken breasts flat on a paper plate and then throw it into the Le Creuset once it's all hot.
Sear the breasts on either side gettin' em nice and brown, but not too brown.
Dump the Sauce into the Le Creuset with the now seared chicken, reduce the heat to Lo, cover, and let simmer for at least an hour.

At this point I recommend finding something exciting to do, like watching the Discovery Channel, or streaming the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother or something. That's what I did.

Every so often, you know, when it's convenient, flip the breast over in the sauce... It's going to start looking yummy...

The sauce is going to get all bubbly and turn nice and thin and orange, just make sure you keep getting sauce on all the chicken. Use your spatula and get it on the top of the breast too. You want to make it all yummy.

An hour (or more) later, you can open that baby up and check the middle (if you need to) to make sure the chicken is done. If so, then you take the breast, put it on a plate and serve.

I have to say, it was very good. The little chunks are bits of bacon that are in the sauce. It was spicy, bold, and really made the chicken flavorful. Now my stomach is doing the I'm full dance, and my plate had that nice orangey color that plates get when they were covered in a good man food.

Yum.

>> End (8/50)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wave at the Monolithic Service Kids!



Recently, I received an Invite to Google\/\/ave (that is seriously how they type it) and after getting over all my old Gmail Invite nostalgia I started to watch the How To videos.

GoogleWave (I refuse to play the slash game anymore) is a very interesting and powerful piece of software. It is currently in the Preview stage... I am not sure if that is before the endless Beta stage or maybe after Endless Beta and before Ubiquitous Adoption? Perhaps it's like the health care debate and it has a Public Option? Whatever.

What preview means, is that they can change anything at any time. It's still experimental. It also seems to mean that it's slow. Not all the time, but sometimes it's really slow.

Another thing about it being experimental is is feels unfinished. It has context menus that don't go anywhere and some of the tabs and buttons don't seem to fulfill their functions like we expect from Google's other software - that is smoothly, simply, and with a little HJ to an advertiser.

One thing funny about Wave is when it crashes. Not like an inconvenient Windows98 crash that causes embarrassment and hilarity, but instead we see what I hope is as a Firefly throwback:

Dr. Wave is "The Man" of GoogleWave, he introduces you to your first wave and is kind of like the creepy Dad down the street who gave you your first Playboy. You're confused why he would want to, but you're so grateful you wanna keeping hanging to what else you can get.

The interface is pretty straight forward:
On the left is a Navigation Window, with an Inbox. Below that are your Wave contacts (automatically added from Gmail based on who already has Wave. Awesome!). The middle houses your currently selected Navigation thingy... you can search for Waves, Archive them, Delete them, et cetera. This makes it seem almost like GMail, but newer... future integration? On the right is the Wave itself. Now stay in your seats, don't rush the stage. Does it seem small? Don't worry you can minimize or maximize all of those windowpanes in your browser like this:

This makes your wave real big. As you can see. The Wave in this picture is also a Public Wave. Which is like the old AOL Chatrooms, only with fewer "a/s/l's" and more "W00t I'm using Wave!'s" This demonstrates that the Wave's can be populated with quite a few users (though again that slows it way down - preview remember? PREVIEW!) There are a lot of cool features, you can add images, video, GoogleGadegts and even voting panels (for collaboration sake). It has rich text support and can do a variety of fonts and colors.

However, just because it shows all that prettiness doesn't mean it will actually work. I copied text from a Word document into the Wave and was like a web page walked over a street vent... All the HTML tags for the document were showing and everything was a mess all down the page. I deleted it, made it plain text in TextEdit, and then re-copied it in; that seemed to work.

My classmate Eve and I played with Wave all during Theory (Oh, graduate school), making comments and sending each other funny pictures related to what we were talking about, all in "real-time." You can even see what you're typing - so don't accidentally type you have nice boobs unless you really mean it. Because everyone probably saw that.


Ultimately, I've only had Wave for a day or so, I've done some intense waving in that short amount of time and decided that it has a lot of potential. It could completly replace chat services and become a great extension for GoogleDocs, and any kind of collaborative work. It still needs a lot of polish, but it's got a lot going for it considering it's still a "Preview." Whatever the hell that means.

>> End (7/50)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When I grow UP!

People keep asking me what I want to do with my life. Am I supposed to know? I'm doing research for a feature story I am writing and we are told from when we are young that we will have 7 to 15 occupations (yikes!) throughout our lives!


Sure, I am getting a master's degree in Public Communication, but the degree is still broad. I could work in advocacy, marketing or advertising. I could work for a television channel, a newspaper, a gigantic Public Relations firm, the government or even a little boutique PR firm.

I just fail to see how/why I am supposed to have only one idea of what I want to do. I look at that as setting yourself up for failure. For example, someone who grew up their whole lives saying, "I am going to ___________" and they were very specific, might find out that the job market for that occupation is extremely small. Whereas, someone who thought, I could do any number of things and be happy, wouldn't that be better?

I think of myself as being happy in pretty much any occupation that I could care about. As long as I can be creative and use my skills I will be happy. So stop asking me what I want to do when I graduate, unless you're prepared to hear, "Be happy."

Monday, November 09, 2009

Lunch on the Quad

Anticipating problems with posting every day for fifty days, I thought it would be pertinent to find an iPhone App that made it easier to post on the go! Luckily for me, they have an app for that... About 30 actually! The apps range in price and silly features.



I went with BlogPressLite. Mainly because it was made in partnership with Google's Blogger, and because the price was right... That means free for those of you who have never hung out with my Dad.


But title of the post was "Lunch on the Quad," not "Hey, I Got This New App"

I used to be a questioning cheese liker. I mean, it was fine.

I wasn't an enthusiast. I had the ones I was in to: stilton, munster, sharp cheddar, irish cheddar, mozzarella, many others. I never associated this cheese enjoyment with me actually liking cheese. I'm not sure why. Probably some ancient mental block; yes, we'll say that's why.

I had cheese I avoided: stinky, semi-soft, cottage, american.

But that was before. I will be the first to admit the err of my ways. Recently, under the tutalage of Whole Foods in partnership with KKP, I've been learning. It all started with liking Goat cheese in my pasta at Carrabbas a number of years ago. I have never been one to turn down a new flavor or food. I had a grasshopper taco after all.

Today, I was hungry. From the girl's last visit I still had a large chunk of something Larencho or something and some little cut up bits of other cheeses. I wanted to get rid of them into my tummy. Visiting Whole Foods for a baguette I picked up a new goat cheese (capricho de cabra w/ fine herbs) and two locally grown roma tomatos! Combined with a blanket and a pocketknife it turned into a really nice lunch on the quad.



After sitting there for a while Yussi came to join me. He had mentioned online that it sounded like a date... I agreed, so as he walked away I yelled, "Call Me!" in the most desparate yell I could making the obligatory phone hand gesture.

I also used the iPhone to make this entire post. I utilized screenshots and the iPhone camera for the photos, Adobe Photoshop App for the photo editing and as I mentioned the BlogPressLite App for the posting.

I will leave the signature at the bottom just to show that the iPhone still kicks the blackberrys ugly butt all over the web. Download the apps from the iTunes App Store!

>> End (5/50 - 10% already!)


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Pig Pickin' in Middletown, VA



So last night I was incommunicado, mostly.

A group of us from PC+ (the plus is significant others and friends) drove our butts out to rural Virginia for a Pig Pickin'!

It consisted of a 350lb pig - smoked for 24 hours, a live bluegrass band - who, needless to say, could play some sweet covers of Journey songs, and about 160 of Eric's roommates closest friend all in tents across a large campground.


I had never been to anything like this, a bunch of 20-somethings by ourselves drinking the 8 kegs of beer and eating pork while listening to some young guys playing bluegrass.

There was hootin'. There was hollerin'. We whooped. We hopped. We boogied.


After we'd scoped the place out, we had to set our tent up in semidarkness, only to discover the 6-8 person tent had no rainfly.

As you can see, we improvised.

The night went well, we enjoyed the multitude of beer, Lidia's +1 (who is very French) stole the camera, took pictures of everyone in the campsite, and tried (in miserably hilarious fashion) to say "Howdy!" It came out as more of a "Wwhooo-Dee!"

City Folk camping is one of my favorite things. It's so entertaining, the girls with leggings, puffy jackets and headbands. The bottles of wine which Lidia managed, miraculously, to open. Always entertaining.

Just really quickly lemme get this out of the way.

[rant]
LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS. THEY ARE LONG UNDERWEAR. STOP PUTTING THEM ON WITH FUZZY BOOTS AND PRETENDING THEY ARE PANTS.
[/rant]

Thanks to this trip, I was able to play my harmonica while IN the Shenandoah Valley which suited me just fine. And I got to make s'mores, done while reciting Ham's lines from Sandlot.

Ham Porter: Hey, Smalls, you wanna s'more?
Smalls: Some more of what?
Ham Porter: No, do you wanna s'more?
Smalls: I haven't had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?
Ham Porter: You're killing me Smalls! These are s'more's stuff! Alrite now pay attention. First you take the graham, you stick the chocolate on the graham. Then you roast the 'mallow. When the 'mallows flaming... you stick it on the chocolate. Then cover with the other end. Then you scarf. Kind of messy, but good!


The bluegrass band was really great. I talked with the bassist for a while at 1am when it was 38 degrees. He was a good guy. The band was good enough to keep people warm and dancing in the cold - here's a girl dancing around her huge bottle of Seagram's 7: which was doing it's part to keep their group warm too.

The morning was pretty slow for some, as we were sleeping outside - something that not all are accustomed to.

I think the funniest part of the morning was the City Folk Breakfast we had. Eric had mentioned to bring breakfast food for ourselves in camp. My experience with morning after drinking, combined with my outdoor experience led me to PBJ. No fire needed, no cleanup.

My friends were thinking much more openly. We breakfasted on paper plates, sitting on a rain fly. Food was brought in two trader joe's bags: hummus, bananas, two types of breads, goat cheese, two avocados, applesauce, and beans (which remained virginal as no one had brought a CAN opener).

I did an inner laugh eating my pbj while the City Folk opened up their individually wrapped and packaged component breakfast, but I couldn't not join in! We laughed about it together and then packed a good size bag of trash after we were all pleasantly filled.

>> End (4/50)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Mac vs Windows (they are both PCs)

Recently, I switched from a Windows based computer to a Mac. PC means personal computer, so unless Apple is trying to imply that they are not a personal computer... I am going to use Windows as the comparison because Microsoft doesn't create hardware.

Right, where was it... I’ve been using the Mac exclusively since August. Having used a Windows based PC since I was 11 (and a Commodore64 prior to then) I was pretty interested in the new territory of OS X.

OS X is marketed as the “Most Advanced Operating System in the World.” I am not qualified to decide one way or another, but now that Windows 7 is out I decided I would weigh in with my own little opinion.

Thesis: Mac is an extremely easy to use operating system, but it cannot topple Windows because of Apple’s control of the hardware and OS - its not loose or open. Because of it's openness Windows can run on almost any hardware, and that makes it ideal for way too many people.

--

After using both systems, I have to say that Apple is on the right track. Build an operating system (OS X) that simple, attractive and powerful. Make it easy for a user to feel like they can’t break it and they will love it. Microsoft’s big downfall here is not that Windows is unattractive, Windows 7 is downright glowy! It’s not that it’s not simple. You only need one menu to access anything in the whole system. Nor is it not powerful. Windows can run on any PC, Netbook, Phone, anything. If it’s a standard architecture (or maybe not!) Windows will run - though maybe not well.

No, Window’s flaw, is that when it does crash (which happens less now than in the old days) it TELLS you WHY it crashed. OS X DOES crash. Shit happens. When it does occasionally it will pop up a little Window about telling Apple what happened. When Windows crashes you get a complicated informational Window about uploading information because shit in the fan and Windows didn't know what to do, blah, blah.

This gives a very negative impression!

So lets get to this comparison. How do I feel about OS X? I like it, I like it a lot. It works great, I don’t have to worry about it having problems or leaking memory or having system failures. Shit just works.

Admittedly, I haven’t used Windows 7’s “official” release yet, but I had a release candidate for a few months, and it works great. No crashes and no problems.

Now that I have a Mac I expected to change my opinions, but ultimately, it still doesn’t matter which you have. If you want to spend $1000 on a premium laptop, and don’t mind buying all new software if you are normally a Windows user, then get a Mac. If you have never chosen sides and you want a cheap computer for surfing the net and writing on your friends’ Facebook walls - get a frickin’ Netbook. If you need a computer for BUSINESS, word processing, gaming, ALL PURPOSE. Get a Windows machine, it will serve you better.

“ But what about viruses?” you blurt out.
“Sigh,” are you really paying that little attention?

I just have to vent for a second PC vs Mac Ads are funny, they are creative, but they are also misleading. The comparable Windows Ads where you can get a computer for less than $1000 are not at all, because you can. Apple’s Ads never tell you how the computer works, they just tell you what it doesn’t do. It doesn’t get viruses, of course not! No one writes a virus for a proprietary system that is only used by 9% of the computing populace. Hackers are just like anyone, they don’t want to waste their time on 9& when they can get the other 90% (I’m assuming Linux is 1%).

The Apple Ads are funny, but they don’t tell you that when their computers crash, you need to go to the Apple store (unless you paid in advance) make an appointment, and wait in line, only to be treated like an idiot and told blah blah blah...

Where do you take your Windows machine if it breaks? Depends! How would you hold Windows accountable for Compaq, Dell, Gateway, eMachine, BestBuy, CircutCity, Tom’s Discount Computer, ATI, Nvidia, PNY, and all the hundreds of other stores/components/software that your computer has in it?

You don’t blame All Clad when your food sucks do you? All Clad just helps your stove help you. Thats what an operating system does. In this analogy, OS X is All Clad, and Windows is ... I dunno Calphalon. It’s not as pretty, but it does the job really well. Just differently.

Anyway, the nut graph for this post is:

Mac: you made a great product, it’s beautiful and functional. I enjoy computing most of the time, but I miss the versatility of Windows. I feel somewhat limited by the prettiness of your interface and the lack of universal software availability.

Windows: you make a pretty good product, lets joke it’s a Windows 7 our of 10. It’s a shit-ton better than Vista, but it still needs that je nies se qua. Windows, you work hard. Even in a shitty Dell, you still can kick ass. On a netbook you don’t need a turtleneck to be cool, and while Vista wasn’t the best, it wasn’t as bad as Apple’s ugly OS 9. Windows, you’ve gotta face facts, you’ll never really be “Cool” because you’re “The Man” Until you say screw business, I want to make movies, edit pictures and make pretty things like Mac does. We both know that’s not going to happen, you’d lose serious coin! Mac is kind of flaming, but he’s popular. Just stick it out and know that you, Windows, will always be comfortably ahead because you work with anyone, not just the cliquy kids.

>> Post 3/50

Friday, November 06, 2009

A Prince(ss) for a Day (2/50)

I officially have a great current female partner. She complained to me that I called her that. She said it makes her seem temporary. I am here to say, "Internets, this girl has been around since January so I guess we can just call her the girlfriend."

The greatness of her was manifest last weekend during her visit. The Girlfriend was pre-pnumonia (as we found out later) and flu-esque, but still managed to create a set of costumes based on our theme: Princess Peach (Toadstool) and Mario.

I know what you're thinking, "Trace, that has been done before!" I know that. So, like a not-to-clever marketing scheme from an expensive cooking store, we put a new twist on an old classic.

That's correct, I was the Princess, and she was the hero. What do you think of that internets?

I'm not here to talk about the benefits of a good sewing machine, combined with a romantic partner - as she did construct the costumes at home, in her spare time, Sally Struthers style - but instead I thought I would point out what it was like to be a Princess for the night.

Halloween began normally. We watched some scary movies (abnormally we enjoyed some wine and ate bread and cheese with rosemary infused olive oil that the girl had taught me how to make the night before) and cuddled. As it turned out we didn't have a sewing needle to fix the costumes with... this is when my life flipped. I had a typical "Chick Night" rather than spill everything to Teh Internets, I will just give the relevant details...

My night as a Chick:

  1. Being a chick is difficult. First of all you have to think about what to wear, and how everything looks and fits on you. I tried my costume out twice before I wore it for Halloween night, made sure my hair was perfect. I even started "getting ready" a week before by making sure my hair washing and shaving cycles were right on for the big night.
  2. I knew exactly what time the party started, and was fully prepared to leave on time, but I was doing last minute things and ended up an hour late.
  3. The first party was a Pre-Halloween Party. We were going to go there, drink, and get ready. We had four bags of stuff to wear and primp with, and some alterations for the costume. I make a really strong vanilla vodka and pepsi for me and Mario before going to Anna's bedroom to change.
  4. The dress was really tight, but I got in by jumping up and down. Once it was on, I had Anna sew me in.
  5. Once into the dress, I put in my earrings (which I had borrowed from my roommate - they were really cute), had Anna do my makeup and did my hair.
  6. Mario came upstairs and got ready in about 10 minutes.
  7. We drank our drinks and had a great time until the party was about to be done.
  8. It was really hot in the house so I had to keep holding my hair off my neck to cool off. Finally, I went outside to walk to the metro.
  9. In the metro guys kept looking at me and making comments. Mario laughed a lot.
  10. I got cat-called at like 6 times going from Cleveland Park to Adams Morgan.
  11. Getting out of the Metro I was feeling pretty good. Mario and I held hands and walked to the strip. Mario told me I looked pretty.
  12. The next party was crowded and hot again, but it was okay. I'd been in the dress long enough that I was used to it now. I had to keep putting my straps back on my shoulders because they kept falling off!
  13. At the next party there was a lot of booty shaking which I am not really into. I don't have too much of a booty so I took care of making the drinks again. They had some beer in the fridge, but it was only corona so Mario and I looked into the bottle table. Everything was gone except the Tequila and Tropicana. We made them a little strong, but it was 2am so we weren't worried.
  14. I had no idea it was Daylight Savings Time tonight, so I wasn't sure what time it was. I went to look in my clutch but the strap broke and the zipper was closed. There was no way to close it if I opened it, so I didn't worry about what time it was.
  15. Mario drank all my drink after he drank his because I wasn't feeling it.
  16. I was mingling and then I couldn't find Mario, so I went to look.
  17. The Girlfriend was sick in the bathroom. I held her hair and rubbed her back.
  18. We left the party to get to the metro before it closed at 3am
  19. Arriving back at Tenleytown I still didn't have a coat, Mario was drunk, the clutch was broken, the shuttle was gone and it was raining and cold.
  20. Mario and I walked home in the rain, my shoes were hurting me, I was sure I would get blisters, my hair was falling in my face because it was wet, and I was sure my makeup was running. I looked like a drowned rat and was holding my arms over myself to keep warm in the little dress.
  21. Getting home Mario was too drunk to do anything else. So we went to sleep.
That was my night as a Chick!! It was pretty fun, but I have to say it is WAY better to be a man.

I would summarize what makes it a chick night, but I think those of you that know the salient details have already picked them out.


Me as Princess Peach walking away into the night... Goodbye Halloween, we will miss you.
>> Post 2 of 50!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

50 Posts in 50 Days (1/50)

Since I opened this blog in 2005, a lot has changed in my life and in the world at large.

I moved away and back again. China has become "capitalist" and forewent their isolationist Communism. I started a book about my time abroad, which I haven't finished (yet). The United States elected a new progressive, mixed racial, first generation American, Midwestern President. We've seen a major recession come and (according to the news) go. After being rejected from UW-Madison and LSE, I was accepted to NYU and American University, where I currently attend Graduate School. American University's location in Washington, DC required me to move to the East Coast where I now live and have half of a Master's Degree under my belt.


On the other hand, Canada is still real big (and relatively cold). The World Trade Center is still a hole in the ground. Outback Steakhouse still makes an amazing Bloomin' Onion, though a mediocre steak. Lord of the Rings still hasn't been released on Blu-Ray - which beat out HDDvd as the premier DVD format. The Pub Runners are still great, and both Daddies. Fort Mackinac hasn't closed - and the Michigan budgetary problems haven't gotten any better, nor significantly worse.


I’ve dated quite a bit since 2005, broken some hearts, and had mine broken (cheese alert!). There have been natural disasters, personal disasters, and supernatural disasters… probably. Reality TV is still horrendous and popular. Oh, and many of my friends are now married, Eric & Katy just popped out a Lucas, and people seem to be creating nice lives for themselves.

Last night, I was on the phone with my current female partner. She has been debating starting a new blog, but was worried that she would “fail” at blogging. I tried to explain to blog for you and not for the world, but she was still worried. “Okay then, 50 posts in 50 days,” I challenged, “or 50 posts before Christmas!” “It’s 49 days until Christmas,” she contended. We decided on 50 before the end of the year; she accepted, on one condition that I too, must participate.


The rules are:

1. One post every day for 50 days (1200 hours, 7.14 weeks, 1.667 months, 13% of one year)

2. A “post” is defined as at least 5 sentences/lines whichever is longer.


Simple. Elegant. Painful?


This is it. Post number 1 in the 50 blogs, in 50 days Challenge.


I’m not sure what the topics will be, or when I will find the time to post, but I will not lose this challenge. 50 blogs, in 50 days. I hope at some point to find a rhythm. I can’t promise every post will be earth shattering or insightful, but I can promise there will be 50 of them. Quantity is the impetus of the challenge. With any luck somewhere in the insipid mass of posts over the next 7 weeks there might be something good. You will find out when I do – assuming anyone actually reads this other than me.



>> End Post 1 of 50