Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm Getting Too Old For This: Wanting To Go To Amusement Parks

In the words of Danny Glover's character in Lethal Weapon: I'm getting too old for this sh*t.

It probably started a few years back. The last few times I went to Six Flags were horrid experiences: one time, a few of my friends decided to get high before going, and the people who were smoking up for the first time ended up feeling too sick to go inside the amusement park, and ended up staying in the car THE ENTIRE TIME. Um, talk about being super-lame (drugs don't always equate out to good times, kids). Another time, I went with two school friends for Fright Night, and they ended up having a HUGE fight the night before. Let me just say AWKWARD trip the next day.

But those aren't the only reasons.
(WARNING: The following post contains some gory details)

Within the last few years when I haven't gone to Six Flags, I've been hearing horrible stories about rides stalling mid-fall: some leaving riders stranded up on the coaster until a maintenance worker climbed up to tweak the engine, only to have the ride lurch back abruptly and continue it's path of excitement OR cases in which riders had to actually climb down the rickety structure because of a ride malfunction. Um, hell no.

And then there are the more extreme cases in which people are killed. Yup, that's right. Killed.

We've heard the urban legend about the girl whose hair got caught in the Stuntman's Free-Fall ride. True or not, that still gave me the reason to NEVER get on that particular ride.

But unlike the myth about the Free-Fall ride, what about the more recent stories:
Last year, a girl's feet were cut off at the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom Amusement Park in Louisville, Kentucky.

And this year, a boy was decapitated at the Six Flags Over Georgia(though, it was his fault .. but imagine walking through the park and seeing it happen: NO THANKS).

But I guess there's still the thrill of the ride.

Either way, I guess times have changed, 'cause a summer mecca to Six Flags is no longer in my things to do list for summer.

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[Spotlight] Napoleon & Tabitha D'umo

You probably don't know who Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo are, unless you're a hip-hop dance fanatic, or unless you've been intently watching So You Think You Can Dance this season. New to the judging and choreographing panel this season on SYTYCD, this husband and wife duo (also known as NappyTabs) has definitely been my favorite part of the show so far. We first met them during the auditions, when they helped pick the Top 20 dancers. In the last couple of episodes, they've shown America just why they were on that judging panel with some really innovative choreography. According to their bio on FOX, they've "choreographed and/or performed with recording artists such as Céline Dion, Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Toni Braxton, Timbaland and Destiny's Child...their assistant director credits for music tours include Ricky Martin's "Black and White Tour," Christina Aguilera's "Back to Basics Tour" and Kanye West's current tour." Pretty impressive resume, I'd say.

A lot of people have been talking about their choreography for contestants Mark and Chelsie this past week, to Leona Lewis's Bleeding Love. It's become my FAVORITE performance of the season (and one of my favorites of all time ever on the show):

I LOVE IT!! I think I've watched is like 35 times by now.



They also choreographed this great number for Katee and Joshua, to Jordin Sparks/Chris Brown's No Air:


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Friday, June 27, 2008

What are you doing this weekend?

Forecast
Fri: 92° / 73°, isolated thunderstorms
Sat: 92° / 74°, isolated thunderstorms
Sun: 86° / 74°, thunderstorms

See

Wall-E (starring Ben Burtt, Fred Willard)

Wanted (starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy)





Events
NYC Waterfalls, a public art exhibition, from now through Oct. 13th. According to Yuri: " The waterfalls look amazing as is, but what's even cooler is that they also light up at night." It might be a good weekend to check it out, if you're in the area of any of the 4 that's around.

Figment Festival, a free, non-profit, non-commercial participatory arts event taking place all weekend on Governer's Island. Art exhibits, performances, workshops, events, 10am-6pm everyday until Sunday.

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Calling Reader Submissions!

Tell us what your 30 things to do before 30 are, and you might be published on our blog!

The editors of life in boxes are encouraging all of you to send us your 30 things to do before 30 idea (just one), so that we can incorporate your submissions into our top 10. Either leave a comment or email us at lifeinboxes@gmail.com, by this Saturday, June 28, and we'll pick from the best. To refresh your memories on what some of ours were:

#30-26
#25-21
#20-16
#15-11

Get creative, get to it! :)

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Commercial of the Day


Maybe it's because I'm a big Discovery Channel nerd, or maybe it's just a really well-made commercial, but in either case, I've watched the Discovery Channel's "I Love the Whole World" bit, like, 10 times so far.

It's a catchy commercial that features a bunch of Discovery Channel stars singing a catchy tune about how awesome the world is. Seriously, take a minute out of your day and watch it. Now.

Boom de yada!

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

West Coast Perspective Part I

Hello from the West Coast ya'll. I've been here since Monday and this is the first amount of extended computer time I've got. (Rest of LIB=-_______- me=x_x) This is my first time in Cali and already I've noticed some key differences.

1. American Airlines planes going to the West Coast are drenched pee, apparently, before anyone is allowed to board. The smell took its toll before take off and upon arrival when the air was not being vented. Maybe they don't pee on their planes. Other possible suggestions include R. Kelly previously owned and it was made from the clothing of those nice people that sleep on the subway. As my friend fittingly put it, "It smells like someone peed on top of a pile of dried up pee."

2. Purchasing things with credit cards requires ID. I never questioned why they don't check back in the East. This practice ranges my emotion from "I guess it's safer" to "Holy crap, this is annoying!"

3. There is no humidity. Goodness, I am going to miss this the most. It was 106 in Vegas and I still felt more comfortable than any day during the summer in Jersey. I ran/walked three miles around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and not a bead of sweat. Suckers.

4. Mexican food is actually good. There's this place called Sharkey's Grill. Freakin' awesome! Taco Bell, kys.

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Waterfalls in the City

One of the best things about living near New York City is all the cool public art exhibitions available. If you remember, a couple of years ago, it was the Central Park gates, and just a few weeks back, it was the Telectroscope.

Well, today, the latest art attraction opened up: Waterfalls. Setup by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson (with a name like that, what else can you be but an artist? :x), Waterfalls is a series of four man-made waterfalls set up along the shores of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Governor's Island.

The waterfalls look amazing as is, but what's even cooler is that they also light up at night.

Read more to get more info and see a video of the waterfalls in action....


Brooklyn Bridge Waterfall from jakedobkin on Vimeo.


The waterfalls will be up until October 13th. They'll be open from 7 AM to 10 PM every day except Tuesdays and Thursdays, when they'll open at 9 PM.

Visit the official website for even more info and to find the best viewing areas.


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Music Video of the Day: Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma



I love Vampire Weekend, and I love this song. What makes those two even better is this music video, which was filmed in one long tracking shot. I LOVE LOVE LOVE things filmed in one single tracking shot, because if you think about it, the little room for error (no editing) means TONS and TONS of pre-planning. My favorite example of this is Feist's awesomely choreographed 1,2,3,4 video. Apparently this Oxford Comma video took 17 takes to film. It's pretty random- why are they on a farm...? But it's creative and fun, and the song is the best.

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Freebie: Iced Coffee at Au Bon Pain

Is the summer heat getting to you?

There's no other temporary relief for a hot summer day like an iced coffee. And a free iced coffee is even better.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Top Chef: New York

By now, most of you all know that I am a Top Chef fan. I know, I know, the past seasons of Top Chef have been better, but Top Chef: Chicago was the one to keep me by any tv on Wednesdays nights. Yeah, it definitely might have to do with the drama. And definitely because of my hatred towards a particular chef. But compared to my current replacement show, The Next Food Network Star, Top Chef has got to be one of the few reality shows that I must watch.

Anyway, rumor had it that the next season of Top Chef would be in New York, and apparently, it's true:

Top Chef is coming at last to the city where it was plainly meant to be: our own metropolis of New York City, reports Snack. That should just add to the frenzy of hype, speculation, and gossip that is Top Chef’s singular mood and music. Given how aggressive the bloggers were in Chicago (they scoped out the chefs with telescopic lenses), we can only imagine what will happen when New York’s blogging corps gets a beachhead. It's a good thing it's still many months away. This will call forth all our powers. (nymag.com)

So rejoice, NYC area bloggers! It's time to get our Top Chef on. Let's just hope that none of the next season's contestants become hated as last season's dirty pirate hooker.

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Reality TV Show of the Day: Jon & Kate Plus 8


Shh, don't tell my girlfriends, or fellow females 18-34, but my favorite non-competitive reality show is not The Hills. It's a little gem of a show on TLC called Jon & Kate Plus 8, about a couple who has 8 kids- a set of twins and a set of sextuplets. The show follows the Gosselin family through their daily lives, and presents the challenges of raising so many kids. I LOVE this show soooo much.

Mady and Cara, (the 7 year old twin girls), and Alexis, Hannah, Aaden, Collin, Leah, and Joel (the 4 year old sextuplets), make up the Gosselin 8, and it's so interesting to see all of their very different personalities and their interactions with each other. But for me, the draw of the show comes from the way Jon and Kate parent the kids. It's not easy raising one child, let alone eight, and they do it remarkably well, though not without fault and frustration. To see them bicker with each other, or discipline the kids when they behave badly, or be loving to the kids, is really refreshing; it's nice to see a normal family of abnormal proportions live out their daily lives with the challenges thrown at them. Mondays at 9, with tons of reruns during the week. Make it your appointment TV.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Body piercings are infectious...


and like not in a good way. In what might be a DUH entry, the NY Times blogged about the complications of body piercings, and how 25% of body piercings in places other than the ear lead to infections, swelling, bleeding, and even hospital admission in extreme cases. Researchers said that the growing popularity of body piercings could “place a significant burden on health services for many years,” which I find to be a stretch of a statement, but hey, who am I to argue with data.

On a related note, I think our readers have been enjoying our attempts at "30 things to do before 30" posts (here are: Jorge's, Yuri's, Mine, Julia's). I didn't mention in mine that THE one thing I wanted to do before 30 (heck, before 16 if my mom had let me) was get a belly piercing. Well, I did end up doing it the summer of my junior year in college, and I LOVED it. A couple of months later though, it got infected and eventually closed up, but what's worse is that it left a raised scar in its place. Which, if I want to get rid of, I'll have to get some type of steroid injections directly on it for like 6 months or something crazy painful like that. Um, I think I can live with the scar.

But when that first happened, I cried. A lot. My roommate at the time, Stella, could tell you, I was kinda inconsolable about it. The very first thing on my 30 before 30 to do list that I actually managed to do, and the thing turned out to be a failure. I still get sad when I see all these hoochie mamas and their belly piercings, oh how I wish to be one!! But uh, I guess this study makes me feel a tad better? That I'm not the only one who suffered in the name of body piercing? Or not, whatever. Now onto my next venture, I'm getting a nose piercing (NOT a ring!!) someday. Because, you know, I never learn from my mistakes. =P

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Refund, Please!

One of the best things about doing your shopping on Amazon.com is their very generous post-order price guarantee:

If Amazon.com's price for an already-released item decreases within 30 days after we ship the item to you, we'll be glad to refund the difference in price if you contact us within that 30-day period.

So if you buy something on Amazon, and a week (or three) later, the price drops a couple of bucks, instead of feeling buyer's remorse, you get the difference back.

The only downside to this is that Amazon isn't going to tell you the money you could save, you need to find it yourself.

And that's where RefundPlease.com comes in. After you buy something, you just hop onto Refund Please, enter your email address, the product number (ISBN/ASIN), and the price of your purchase, and they'll email you if the price ever drops. It's simple and very effective.

Personally, I've saved something like $15 using RefundPlease.com, so I highly recommend it if you ever do your shopping on Amazon.

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Funny of the Day: Garfield Minus Garfield



If you ask my Gramma Park what my favorite cartoon character was when I was growing up, she'll either say Underdog or Garfield. Yup, animal lover since the beginning, ya'll!

Anyway, a while back, a friend linked me to a site called Garfield Minus Garfield, in which the site's creator cuts out Garfield from the comic strip, for our laughing pleasures:

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb. (garfieldminusgarfield)

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Monday, June 23, 2008

[Feature] Quarterlife Crisis: How To Deal

Driving along the Palisades Interstate Parkway, it's not too surprising to see luxurious, high-end cars whizzing by. Whoa, an Audi R8! Holy cow, a Bentley Continental! Yes, we live in a rich county. But ever take a look at the people driving those nice cars? Chances are, it's a balding, middle-aged man with a sunburned face, a pair of Raybans, and a Bluetooth set in his ear. This is the epitome of a midlife crisis, all.

But for every man going through a midlife crisis, across the world, college students and graduates are feeling the stresses of being in that awkward transition from student to full-fledged working adult and are having a hard time dealing with it. Like people going through a midlife crisis, this newer breed of [younger] stressed people are learning how to deal with life, aptly named a quarter-life crisis (or QLC).

It might be a quarter-life crisis/Or just a stirring in my soul/Either way I wonder sometimes about the outcome/Of a still verdict-less life/Am I living it right? ("Why Georgia" - John Mayer, anthem for the QLC)

A midlife crisis occurs when a middle-aged adult goes through a sudden transition in their life that makes them realize that they are no longer as youthful as they'd like to be. So it would make sense to coin the term quarter-life crisis to define the college years in life; the transition from being a high school kid to becoming a young adult is a big leap...all in the matter of the few months between graduating high school and moving into freshmen dorms.

What, then, exemplifies a quarter-life crisis? For starters, if you're in college or are a recent graduate, a sense of nostalgia due to the loss of younger days is a common factor. You think about the regrets in your young life, such as the things you did, as well as the things you didn't know when you had the opportunity to do so. Your age, doubled up with any of the following characteristics are signs of a quarter-life crisis:
-feeling that you're "not good enough" because one can't find a job that is at one's academic/intellectual level
-frustration with relationships, the working world, and finding a suitable job or career
-confusion of identity
-insecurity regarding the near future
-insecurity concerning long-term plans, life goals
-insecurity regarding present accomplishments
-re-evaluation of close interpersonal relationships
-disappointment with one's job
-nostalgia for university, college, high school or elementary school life
-tendency to hold stronger opinions
-boredom with social interactions
-loss of closeness to high school and college friends
-financially-rooted stress (overwhelming college loans, unanticipatedly high cost of living, etc.)
-loneliness
-desire to have children
-a sense that everyone is, somehow, doing better than you
(wikipedia.com)

Sound familiar? For me, it's pretty much me and everyone else I know.

One leading reason as to why a quarter-life crisis occurs is due to the high expectations of one's self after graduating from college. But after graduating, the real world hits you, and you realize that not everyone can afford to live out on their own, and that not everyone ends up getting that high-income job. So much for a college degree, right? High expectations and less-than-stellar paying jobs. Sadness.

But fear not - you're not alone. In fact, although people have just now begun to recognize a quarter-life crisis as a part of life transition, it's been around for quite some time now, especially in pop culture.. Remember St. Elmo's Fire? Lost in Translation? Avenue Q, one of the better Broadway show I've ever seen (getting tickets to see if was such an awesome graduation gift), is all about dealing with a quarter-life crisis. Garden State? Scrubs is all about QLC (well, aside from the medical stuff). Point is, you're not a freak of nature.

Getting your parents to understand how you feel and what you're going through is a toughie. Our parents have worked their asses off for you to get through school, and the last thing they want to hear from you is complaints about something called a quarter-life crisis. With old-school Korean parents, it's hard to explain such a thing to them, especially when they bring out those "When I was your age, I worked my ass off; I didn't have the leisure to even think about whether I liked my job or not.." rants. So how do you deal with it?

As cheesy and Spice Girls-eque as it may sound, your friends will get you through it. I mean, who else better to find comfort in, especially if that someone is going through the same? Even in shows and movies dealing with a quarter-life crisis emphasizes friendship. In Avenue Q, Princeton has Kate and his neighbor-friends. In Scrubs, JD has his chocolate bear, Turk. In Garden State, Andrew has Sam and his Jersey friends.

Personally, I find that talking with friends about life is when I feel most connected with them. All jokes aside, you realize why you call these people your friends, and that you're not alone in your fears for the future. You learn from each others choices in life and when you're giving them your advice, you sometimes realize that you are telling them exactly what you, yourself, need to hear.

Or like many others, you could just blog about it.

I think that throwing a party, or some sort of social event, is a great way to deal with it. But no talking about work or the future allowed! Let the costume speak for itself, people.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

What are you doing this weekend?

Forecast
Fri: 62° / 80°, isolated thunderstorms
Sat: 67° / 86°, partly cloudy
Sun: 66° / 79°, scattered thunderstorms

See
Get Smart (starring Steve Carrell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson)

The Love Guru (Starring Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake)






Events
Bubble Battle NYC 2008 - If you liked the idea of a public pillow fight, chances are you'll think a bubble battle is just as cool. Once again, it's free and it will be held at Broadway and 45th street tomorrow at 6:20pm. Sounds like it'll be a lot of fun.

New York Asian Film Festival - Show your Asian pride / appreciation of Asian art by attending the Asian film festival starting this weekend. Showings cost $11.50 a movie, but there are special discount packages for $49 or $99. The festival only lasts until July 6th, so catch it while you can!

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BMW's Concept Car Boggles Mind, Winks at You


BMW has designed this awesome looking concept car named GiNA. Basically, it is a car that is wrapped in fabric instead of metal panels. This lets the car change shape dynamically and adjust according to the user. For example, spoilers are formed by bars rising up from the back of the body.

The most intriguing/freaky part of the car is that the skin gives it some very humanistic qualities. Chief among them, the ability for her to blink.

Words don't do this car justice. Watch the video and be amazed.

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Deal of the Day: Woot-off!

Woot.com is having a Woot-Off today, which will probably last most of the weekend.

...

Don't know what the hell I'm talking about? Let me explain.

Woot.com is a website that sells one item a day (starting at 12 am Central time), usually for a deeply discounted price and always with $5 flat-rate shipping. They only have a limited amount of the item in stock, so if their stock sells out, or if 24 hours time period expires, the item becomes no longer for sale.

Generally, they sell tech-related goods, like speakers, keyboards, computers and televisions. However, they've been so successful, that they've branched out to selling t-shirts, creating a site with Yahoo!, and strangely enough, selling wine.

Aside from a great sales technique (which has led to numerous copycat sites), what makes Woot so cool is their sense of humor. Even if you have no interest in buying what they're offering on a given day, their item descriptions are always worth a good laugh. It's especially funny when they admit that what they're selling is crap.

So yeah.

Now that you know what Woot is, you need to learn about Woot-offs. Woot-offs (which are indicated by the flashing yellow lights on the homepage) are special events where they have a non-stop selling spree. They sell a item until it is sold out, then instead of waiting until the next day to sell another item, they post up a new product for sale immediately. Woot-offs are fun because they're fast paced and it's exciting to see what they'll have on sale next.

What's more, it's another genius sales technique because people have been known to buy some of the cheaper items in an effort to clear the stock and to see what will be next on the queue.

So, now you're all caught up, check Woot out, and try to find yourself something nice. Personally, I just bought an iPod/cell phone car/outlet charger thing for $10. Sweet deal.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sports Recap: There's No "D" in Loser

Basketball
As I was watching game 6 with my fourteen year old cousin he asked "Jorge, is this a beat down?" I told him "No, this is a massacre." We kept discussing as to whether it being blown out by 39 points in the NBA Finals is an annihilation. As good as Kobe is, I guess we can put the Kobe-Jordan comparisons to rest cause there is no way MJ would let that happen. Congrats to the Boston Three Party for laying the smack down on ice cream soft Lakers defense.

Golf
Tiger Woods won the US Open. Tiger Woods won the US Open with a double stress fracture of his left tibia. Tiger Woods won the US Open with a double stress fracture of his left tibia and a torn ACL in his left knee. Run Tiger, run.

Baseball
Man crush A-Rod has hit a home run in four consecutive days and is setting himself up nicely for another MVP trophy. More importantly, how about them New York Yankees! Winners of six in a row and 19 out of their last 27. So far this year it's New York 1 (Giants) Boston 1 (Celtics). Yanks vs Red Sox for the tie breaker.

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Recipe of the Day: Yogurt Parfaits

I'm obsessed with yogurt parfaits. It's my favorite thing at McDonald's (and only 99 cents!), it's my favorite thing to try anytime I see one anywhere, it's my favorite thing to eat for breakfast, and snack, and sometimes dinner, and it's super easy to make. Here is my favorite yogurt parfait of all time, courtesy of me (the creator of it), and Trader Joe's (the place where all of these ingredients come from).

Super Duper Yummy Delicious Yogurt Parfait

1/2 c. Greek yogurt (Preferably 0% milkfat, either the Trader Joe's brand or Fage)
1 T. honey
Handful (HA, this is very scientific) of berries- raspberries/blackberries/blueberries

2 T. Trader Joe lowfat granola w/almonds (best.stuff.ever)

Serves 1.

Mix Greek yogurt and honey together. Place fruit on top of the yogurt, place granola on top of the berries. Eat. Repeat.

Really simple! And all the ingredients in this recipe can be switched out for other stuff (for example, not everyone loves Greek yogurt as much as I do, regular Vanilla yogurt works well too), so you can get creative. Bon appetit!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why I Hate People: Reason #1,309


At the Republican state convention, a booth hosted by Republicanmarket was selling a pin Saturday that says: If Obama is President... will we still call it the White House? (trailblazersblog)

This is too disgusting to believe. But even more terrifying than that is the fact that I could believe it. No good, Republicans, no good. Way to move backwards in time, you old dinosaurs!

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Exam of the Day: LSAT

I took the LSATs on Monday at New York Law in downtown Manhattan. My goal is 166, my dream is a 172, I'd settle for a 158. My test was suppose to start at 12:30 so, of course, it started at 1:00. Monday was also the day Tiger Woods was playing against Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff to determine the US Open Championship. Before the exam started, I started thinking to myself "Be like Tiger, focus like Tiger, mentally tough like Tiger!" Sure enough, I felt just like Tiger, if Tiger were taking the Reading Comprehension section of the LSAT. Here's a tip for you all. If you're playing golf, picture yourself being Tiger Woods. If you're taking a standardized picture yourself as that smart ass Chinese kid you sat behind during Algebra.



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Celebrity Graduation Speeches

Cap and gown
We are officially in the midst of graduation season. Of those of you who have already graduated, I'm sure you can back me up in saying that the speeches given at your graduations sucked. Hard.

Those of you who are about to face your graduation speeches (mostly high-school kids), it's likely going to suck worse. You're not even going to get some semi-successful alumnus from you school to speak. It's probably going to be your principle, or at best, your superintendent. And you are going to feel the slow, badly-spoken, pain.

The only exceptions to this rule is if you are from a fancy-smancy school that can afford a funny celebrity like Will Ferrell to speak. Snobby bastards.

Luckily for the rest of us, we can live vicariously through your trust-fund lives and read the transcripts of these speeches. They are funny and manage to give good advice along the way.

My favorite is Conan O'Brien's Harvard commencement speech. It reads like one of his opening monologues, but is injected with advice on living towards a dream. You can read it (and hit up links to other celebrity speeches) after the jump.....


Conan O'Brien - Stuyvesant High School

Will Ferrell - Harvard University
John Stewart - College of William and Mary


Conan O'Brien - Harvard University
I'd like to thank the Class Marshals for inviting me here today. The last time I was invited to Harvard it cost me $110,000, so you'll forgive me if I'm a bit suspicious. I'd like to announce up front that I have one goal this afternoon: to be half as funny as tomorrow's Commencement Speaker, Moral Philosopher and Economist, Amartya Sen. Must get more laughs than seminal wage/price theoretician.

Students of the Harvard Class of 2000, fifteen years ago I sat where you sit now and I thought exactly what you are now thinking: What's going to happen to me? Will I find my place in the world? Am I really graduating a virgin? I still have 24 hours and my roommate's Mom is hot. I swear she was checking me out. Being here today is very special for me. I miss this place. I especially miss Harvard Square - it's so unique. No where else in the world will you find a man with a turban wearing a Red Sox jacket and working in a lesbian bookstore. Hey, I'm just glad my dad's working.

It's particularly sweet for me to be here today because when I graduated, I wanted very badly to be a Class Day Speaker. Unfortunately, my speech was rejected. So, if you'll indulge me, I'd like to read a portion of that speech from fifteen years ago: "Fellow students, as we sit here today listening to that classic Ah-ha tune which will definitely stand the test of time, I would like to make several predictions about what the future will hold: "I believe that one day a simple Governor from a small Southern state will rise to the highest office in the land. He will lack political skill, but will lead on the sheer strength of his moral authority." "I believe that Justice will prevail and, one day, the Berlin Wall will crumble, uniting East and West Berlin forever under Communist rule." "I believe that one day, a high speed network of interconnected computers will spring up world-wide, so enriching people that they will lose their interest in idle chit chat and pornography." "And finally, I believe that one day I will have a television show on a major network, seen by millions of people a night, which I will use to re-enact crimes and help catch at-large criminals." And then there's some stuff about the death of Wall Street which I don't think we need to get into....

The point is that, although you see me as a celebrity, a member of the cultural elite, a kind of demigod, I was actually a student here once much like you. I came here in the fall of 1981 and lived in Holworthy. I was, without exaggeration, the ugliest picture in the Freshman Face book. When Harvard asked me for a picture the previous summer, I thought it was just for their records, so I literally jogged in the August heat to a passport photo office and sat for a morgue photo. To make matters worse, when the Face Book came out they put my picture next to Catherine Oxenberg, a stunning blonde actress who was accepted to the class of '85 but decided to defer admission so she could join the cast of "Dynasty." My photo would have looked bad on any page, but next to Catherine Oxenberg, I looked like a mackerel that had been in a car accident. You see, in those days I was six feet four inches tall and I weighed 150 pounds. Recently, I had some structural engineers run those numbers into a computer model and, according to the computer, I collapsed in 1987, killing hundreds in Taiwan.


After freshman year I moved to Mather House. Mather House, incidentally, was designed by the same firm that built Hitler's bunker. In fact, if Hitler had conducted the war from Mather House, he'd have shot himself a year earlier. 1985 seems like a long time ago now. When I had my Class Day, you students would have been seven years old. Seven years old. Do you know what that means? Back then I could have beaten any of you in a fight. And I mean bad. It would be no contest. If any one here has a time machine, seriously, let's get it on, I will whip your seven year old butt. When I was here, they sold diapers at the Coop that said "Harvard Class of 2000." At the time, it was kind of a joke, but now I realize you wore those diapers. How embarrassing for you. A lot has happened in fifteen years. When you think about it, we come from completely different worlds. When I graduated, we watched movies starring Tom Cruise and listened to music by Madonna. I come from a time when we huddled around our TV sets and watched "The Cosby Show" on NBC, never imagining that there would one day be a show called "Cosby" on CBS. In 1985 we drove cars with driver's side airbags, but if you told us that one day there'd be passenger side airbags, we'd have burned you for witchcraft.

But of course, I think there is some common ground between us. I remember well the great uncertainty of this day. Many of you are justifiably nervous about leaving the safe, comfortable world of Harvard Yard and hurling yourself headlong into the cold, harsh world of Harvard Grad School, a plum job at your father's firm, or a year abroad with a gold Amex card and then a plum job in your father's firm. But let me assure you that the knowledge you've gained here at Harvard is a precious gift that will never leave you. Take it from me, your education is yours to keep forever. Why, many of you have read the Merchant of Florence, and that will inspire you when you travel to the island of Spain. Your knowledge of that problem they had with those people in Russia, or that guy in South America-you know, that guy-will enrich you for the rest of your life.


There is also sadness today, a feeling of loss that you're leaving Harvard forever. Well, let me assure you that you never really leave Harvard. The Harvard Fundraising Committee will be on your ass until the day you die. Right now, a member of the Alumni Association is at the Mt. Auburn Cemetery shaking down the corpse of Henry Adams. They heard he had a brass toe ring and they aims to get it. Imagine: These people just raised 2.5 billion dollars and they only got through the B's in the alumni directory. Here's how it works. Your phone rings, usually after a big meal when you're tired and most vulnerable. A voice asks you for money. Knowing they just raised 2.5 billion dollars you ask, "What do you need it for?" Then there's a long pause and the voice on the other end of the line says, "We don't need it, we just want it." It's chilling.

What else can you expect? Let me see, by your applause, who here wrote a thesis. (APPLAUSE) A lot of hard work, a lot of your blood went into that thesis... and no one is ever going to care. I wrote a thesis: Literary Progeria in the works of Flannery O'Connor and William Faulkner. Let's just say that, during my discussions with Pauly Shore, it doesn't come up much. For three years after graduation I kept my thesis in the glove compartment of my car so I could show it to a policeman in case I was pulled over. (ACT OUT) License, registration, cultural exploration of the Man Child in the Sound and the Fury...

So what can you expect out there in the real world? Let me tell you. As you leave these gates and re-enter society, one thing is certain: Everyone out there is going to hate you. Never tell anyone in a roadside diner that you went to Harvard. In most situations the correct response to where did you to school is, "School? Why, I never had much in the way of book larnin' and such." Then, get in your BMW and get the hell out of there.

You see, you're in for a lifetime of "And you went to Harvard?" Accidentally give the wrong amount of change in a transaction and it's, "And you went to Harvard?" Ask the guy at the hardware store how these jumper cables work and hear, "And you went to Harvard?" Forget just once that your underwear goes inside your pants and it's "and you went to Harvard." Get your head stuck in your niece's dollhouse because you wanted to see what it was like to be a giant and it's "Uncle Conan, you went to Harvard!?"

But to really know what's in store for you after Harvard, I have to tell you what happened to me after graduation. I'm going to tell you my story because, first of all, my perspective may give many of you hope, and, secondly, it's an amazing rush to stand in front of six thousand people and talk about yourself.


After graduating in May, I moved to Los Angeles and got a three week contract at a small cable show. I got a $380 a month apartment and bought a 1977 Isuzu Opel, a car Isuzu only manufactured for a year because they found out that, technically, it's not a car. Here's a quick tip, graduates: no four cylinder vehicle should have a racing stripe. I worked at that show for over a year, feeling pretty good about myself, when one day they told me they were letting me go. I was fired and, I hadn't saved a lot of money. I tried to get another job in television but I couldn't find one.

So, with nowhere else to turn, I went to a temp agency and filled out a questionnaire. I made damn sure they knew I had been to Harvard and that I expected the very best treatment. And so, the next day, I was sent to the Santa Monica branch of Wilson's House of Suede and Leather. When you have a Harvard degree and you're working at Wilson's House of Suede and Leather, you are haunted by the ghostly images of your classmates who chose Graduate School. You see their faces everywhere: in coffee cups, in fish tanks, and they're always laughing at you as you stack suede shirts no man, in good conscience, would ever wear. I tried a lot of things during this period: acting in corporate infomercials, serving drinks in a non-equity theatre, I even took a job entertaining at a seven year olds' birthday party. In desperate need of work, I put together some sketches and scored a job at the fledgling Fox Network as a writer and performer for a new show called "The Wilton North Report." I was finally on a network and really excited. The producer told me the show was going to revolutionize television. And, in a way, it did. The show was so hated and did so badly that when, four weeks later, news of its cancellation was announced to the Fox affiliates, they burst into applause.

Eventually, though, I got a huge break. I had submitted, along with my writing partner, a batch of sketches to Saturday Night Live and, after a year and a half, they read it and gave us a two week tryout. The two weeks turned into two seasons and I felt successful. Successful enough to write a TV pilot for an original sitcom and, when the network decided to make it, I left Saturday Night Live. This TV show was going to be groundbreaking. It was going to resurrect the career of TV's Batman, Adam West. It was going to be a comedy without a laugh track or a studio audience. It was going to change all the rules. And here's what happened: When the pilot aired it was the second lowest-rated television show of all time. It's tied with a test pattern they show in Nova Scotia.


So, I was 28 and, once again, I had no job. I had good writing credits in New York, but I was filled with disappointment and didn't know what to do next. I started smelling suede on my fingertips. And that's when The Simpsons saved me. I got a job there and started writing episodes about Springfield getting a Monorail and Homer going to College. I was finally putting my Harvard education to good use, writing dialogue for a man who's so stupid that in one episode he forgot to make his own heart beat. Life was good.

And then, an insane, inexplicable opportunity came my way . A chance to audition for host of the new Late Night Show. I took the opportunity seriously but, at the same time, I had the relaxed confidence of someone who knew he had no real shot. I couldn't fear losing a great job I had never had. And, I think that attitude made the difference. I'll never forget being in the Simpson's recording basement that morning when the phone rang. It was for me. My car was blocking a fire lane. But a week later I got another call: I got the job.

So, this was undeniably the it: the truly life-altering break I had always dreamed of. And, I went to work. I gathered all my funny friends and poured all my years of comedy experience into building that show over the summer, gathering the talent and figuring out the sensibility. We debuted on September 13, 1993 and I was happy with our effort. I felt like I had seized the moment and put my very best foot forward. And this is what the most respected and widely read television critic, Tom Shales, wrote in the Washington Post: "O'Brien is a living collage of annoying nervous habits. He giggles and titters, jiggles about and fiddles with his cuffs. He had dark, beady little eyes like a rabbit. He's one of the whitest white men ever. O'Brien is a switch on the guest who won't leave: he's the host who should never have come. Let the Late show with Conan O'Brien become the late, Late Show and may the host return to Conan O'Blivion whence he came." There's more but it gets kind of mean.

Needless to say, I took a lot of criticism, some of it deserved, some of it excessive. And it hurt like you wouldn't believe. But I'm telling you all this for a reason. I've had a lot of success and I've had a lot of failure. I've looked good and I've looked bad. I've been praised and I've been criticized. But my mistakes have been necessary. Except for Wilson's House of Suede and Leather. That was just stupid.


I've dwelled on my failures today because, as graduates of Harvard, your biggest liability is your need to succeed. Your need to always find yourself on the sweet side of the bell curve. Because success is a lot like a bright, white tuxedo. You feel terrific when you get it, but then you're desperately afraid of getting it dirty, of spoiling it in any way.

I left the cocoon of Harvard, I left the cocoon of Saturday Night Live, I left the cocoon of The Simpsons. And each time it was bruising and tumultuous. And yet, every failure was freeing, and today I'm as nostalgic for the bad as I am for the good.

So, that's what I wish for all of you: the bad as well as the good. Fall down, make a mess, break something occasionally. And remember that the story is never over. If it's all right, I'd like to read a little something from just this year: "Somehow, Conan O'Brien has transformed himself into the brightest star in the Late Night firmament. His comedy is the gold standard and Conan himself is not only the quickest and most inventive wit of his generation, but quite possible the greatest host ever."

Ladies and Gentlemen, Class of 2000, I wrote that this morning, as proof that, when all else fails, there's always delusion.

I'll go now, to make bigger mistakes and to embarrass this fine institution even more. But let me leave you with one last thought: If you can laugh at yourself loud and hard every time you fall, people will think you're drunk.

Thank you.

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30 Things To Do Before You're 30 (part 4)

15. Visit all 50 states.
Call me crazy, but I really want to get this one off of my list. I think it's kind of cool and weird that each state is pretty much their own when it comes to certain laws and culture, so visiting each and every one of the 50 states in the country seems like a really interesting thing to do. And the idea of getting a souvenir from every state would be kind of cool, too. And thanks to summer Fridays and these super cheap buses with free wifi, methinks it is attainable!

14. Move out.
Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am dying to move out. It sucks trying to be more adult-like in my decisions, choosing to endure living under the same roof as my traditionally-wack Korean parents and less than stellar siblings, but I hope to move out to be on my own before 30. Probably one of my more realistic goals, but really, with the economy being all bad, I know a few people nearing their 30's who are still living with their parents, either by choice or because of no choice.

13. Live in a different state (out of my comfort zone).
Living at home with the parents really makes you think about moving; in my case, it makes me think about moving FAR. But growing up in my little comfort zone of North Jersey, I'd prefer to live in a city, or at least a place close to a city. My top picks are either [obviously] NYC (hey, living near the city and working in the city is TOTALLY different from living there!), San Francisco, .. maybe Seattle? As long as there are more people than cows/wildlife, I should be good to go.

12. Throw a dinner party.
I LOVE Ikea (yeah, very "college-furniture" of me), Pottery Barn, and Restoration Hardware. I secretly plan the day of my escape from the parents (wow, hundredth time I've mentioned it), and secretly designing the perfect place for myself, inside of my head. One of the very first things I'd like to do once I've moved out and settled in my own humble abode is to throw a dinner party for a few of my closest friends. I imagine a beautifully set, candle-lit table with AT LEAST a three-course meal. Le sigh. Soon, Julia, soon ..

11. Meet someone I admire.
J.K. Rowling. Al Gore. Wes Anderson. Tina Fey. I would do ANYTHING to meet one of them. And I hope that sometime before I hit the big 3-0, I can meet at least one of them. I've already got it all planned out: JK will give me advice on how to be a satisfied writer, Al Gore and I will talk about how people born on March 31st are zee awesomest, Wes Anderson and I will talk cinema, and Tina Fey and I will co-write a hit new tv show.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Love RENT

Did you know that the Tony Awards were on Sunday night? Yeah, me either. But I did come across this clip of the cast of RENT, in which both the original and the new cast come together for a performance at the Tonys. Best.Show.Ever. I can't begin to tell you how much I love RENT. I love Jonathan Larson's interpretation of Puccini's La Boheme, I secretly want to live the Bohemian/starving artist lifestyle, I'm obsessed with the soundtrack, I just love everything about the musical. And I am sad it's ending its 12 year run on Broadway come this September. I hope to go see it again before it closes.

The new cast performs La Vie Boheme, and the original cast takes the stage to perform Seasons of Love, which without fail, always gives me goosebumps when I hear it.


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This Color Quiz Analyzes Your Personality!

*Disclaimer* This post requires a bit of work from you, the reader. But if you try it, I'm telling you, it'll be cool.

Want to see something cool? Go to this website and choose some colors that catch your eye. Depending on what you choose, it'll give you a short analysis about your personality. I tried it and I found it to be pretty accurate.

Anyway, go ahead and give it a shot. I'll wait.

...

What did you think? Pretty good?

Okay, now watch this video after the jump:



I'm not sure how much you fell for this trick, but before watching this video, I had taken a very similar test and was pretty amazed that it was so accurate. It wasn't until recently that I noticed how vague all the statements really were.

For those of you curious about this, it is called the Forer Effect. And the video is from Darren Brown, a very talented magician/illusionist/hypnotist/skeptic person who does a lot of these tricks to sort of show people that what they think is supernatural is usually just mind games. Take a look at his wiki and watch some of his youtube clips to see his other rather amazing feats.

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Video Clip of the Day: Bret, You've Got It Going On



This song has been stuck in my head for the past few weeks. It makes me laugh each time I hear it, and seeing Bret and Jemaine in the video clip makes it even more hilarious.

Also, not to mention that I could TOTALLY see my guy friends singing it to each other as a cheer-me-up song :D

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Monday, June 16, 2008

[Feature] True Life: Transitioning from College Graduate to Working Professional (Part 2)

(c. 2008, my huge cubicle at Cartoon Network, it normally looks a lot messier than that)

This is Part 2 of my story of transitioning into the real world from college. In Part 1, I talked about my struggle to land a job after college, and what my very first corporate job was like. After a year and some months being stuck at a job where I was going nowhere, I decided I had enough and was ready to move on.

The Next Steps
Job searching is a long process. You don't wish for a new job and it happens. Applying, interviewing, and accepting are weeks-long processes. I started hard-core searching in February, perusing daily: mediabistro.com, nytimes.com, timewarner.com, bookjobs.com, not to mention specific companies and their career sites. In the middle of all my job searching (which was hampered by the fact that, you know, I actually had work to do at work most days), I found a job posting for a Coordinator position in the Corporate Sponsorship department at Sesame Workshop. I've always wanted to work there, because I believe in their mission of furthering children's education and development through various sources of media. I applied for the position, but knowing what I know about applying for jobs, I also enlisted the help and advice of a co-worker, who had worked there for a really long time before moving over to Cartoon.

This statement is probably going to get me in a lot of trouble, but it's the way I feel. It's so much harder to get anywhere in your career without someone's help. No, this isn't a hard truth, but in my experience, I've found it to be truer than not. I got my interview at Cartoon because my friend Leslie (who had already been working there) passed my resume along to the assistant who was moving on and vacating that position. And almost everyone I know at Turner got into the company because they knew someone who was already in. But let me clarify, this doesn't mean that just because you know someone somewhere you're going to get that job. It just means you get to bypass the 'did HR even see my resume/cover letter??' waiting game.

I can't honestly say that I would have gotten an interview without my co-worker's help. She ended up knowing the head of the Corporate Sponsorship department, and emailed her, recommending me for the position. A week later, I had an interview scheduled with her. When job searching, exhaust every contact you know, I can't stress that enough. And honestly, while you might feel bad calling up someone you haven't talked to in awhile to be like, "Hey, you want to pass my resume on to your HR dept/your former co-worker?" you have to understand that people do it all the time. I don't mind doing it for other people because I know how stressful job searching was for me, and I think that's how a lot of people feel. The worst you can get is a no, while the best outcome could be that job you want, right?

The Interview and the Aftermath
My interview at Sesame, 2 hours and 4 people later, was the best interview experience I had for a variety of reasons. I had a lot to say because I really do believe in Sesame's mission, which always helps- DO YOUR RESEARCH on the company! By the grace of God, I was able to intelligently and articulately (I am neither of those things most of the time) put into words not only why I didn't want to be in advertising sales, but why my ad sales experience would parlay well into the corporate sponsorship department at Sesame.

The first round of interviews left me on cloud nine, because I had connected well with my interviewers, and I was told I was one of their top candidates at that point. Long story short though, I was passed over in the end. I was pretty upset, and because I had been really optimistic about this job, I had halted my job search entirely. So as depressed as I was, I threw myself back into job searching, as well as work, because I was helping to plan a really big work event coming up. But I received another call from Sesame less than 2 weeks later. It turned out someone was leaving the department, and they were restructuring responsibilities around to accommodate a second coordinator, which they were hoping would be me.

You have no idea how elated I felt about all of this, not only because it was the job I wanted, but because people genuinely wanted me at the company. The department head called me to make sure I was still available and interested before they even officially created the position, because they weren't going to post the job if I wanted to accept it. Honestly, the timing couldn't have been better. If I had gotten the job originally, I would've left Cartoon at a really busy time, and I know I would've burned a couple of bridges. Sometimes, even when you think a door has closed, it really hasn't; you just have to be patient. Which is also why you have to remain grateful and enthusiastic to your interviewers to the end, even if you've been rejected, because you never know when the company might have a job for you.

Negotiating the Offer
Getting the offer was awesome, but it's always good to read the fine print and discuss the things you are questioning before you accept the job. Even though I was fine with my base salary (it's definitely a raise from my current one), I knew that it would be a good idea to put it on the negotiation table, so that they had it on record that I asked for more money. Why is this a good idea? If you don't say anything about salary, people can take advantage of you by passing you over for bigger raises, or not giving you what they technically could give you. As uncomfortable as it is to have money discussion, it's always good to have on record that you asked for more, and that you know the value you bring to the company. In the end, I didn't get more money, but that's ok, because I really wasn't expecting to win that one. I was just really proud of myself for having put it out there. And I also negotiated a later start date, so I was pretty happy.

Accepting this job meant I had to quit my other job. Giving my two weeks notice was a really scary one for me. I wasn't sure how my bosses would react, and if they would take it personally that I didn't want to follow in their footsteps. I was literally shaking in front of my boss's office before I went in to break the news. However, I think that I underestimated how, more often than not, people like to see other people move on and pursue what they actually want to do. I was grateful, thanking them for the opportunity I had been given there, but I also stressed how excited I was for this new chapter in my life, and in the end, what could anyone do about that except be happy for me?

I was so genuinely touched by the fact that EVERYONE- my bosses, my co-workers, and my acquaintances at work, were really happy for me. And the lesson learned here is that if you do your job and do it well, and you're easy to work with, people will actually care where you go. I hated my job at times. But I did my work, I did it thoroughly, and I think people really appreciated that. And now I have all these references who can vouch for my work ethic, should I need to use them in the future.

So my new job at Sesame starts today, and I have no idea how it's going to go honestly. All I know is that it's what I wanted, I went for it, I got it, and hopefully it'll be a good start to my "career." I learned a lot about job searching, job negotiating, and job accepting through this process, and I'm really grateful to all of the people who have helped me out along the way. I really believe everything happens for a reason, and I couldn't be more thankful for the way things have worked out. I'll keep you posted on my climb up the corporate ladder.

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Things To Do: Wednesday Night!

To promote their upcoming film Get Smart, Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway will be at the SoHo Apple Store in NYC on Wednesday, June 18th at 9PM. They will be screening clips from their new movie, which premieres in theaters Friday, June 20th.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Forecast
Fri: 85° / 64°, mostly sunny and warm
Sat: 90° / 66°, clouds and sunshine - humid
Sun: 83° / 63°, clouds and sunshine

See
The Incredible Hulk (starring Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth)

The Happening (starring Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo)







Events

Palisades Park Street Festival (through Sunday, June 15th / Broad Avenue, Palisades Park): Traffic, tents, balloons, oh my! It must mean one thing - the Palisades Park Street Festival is around. Mostly Korean stores are participating in it, but there's a few sales from the overpriced clothing stores (20% off on a $70 shirt?) and some cheap servings of yummy kimbap or sweet rice cakes from the Korean bakeries. It's great for a walk through town.

Children's Day Target Fireworks
(Saturday, June 14th from 12PM, music + fireworks at 8PM / South Street Seaport, Pier 16 and 17): If you have kids or if you're babysitting, this is a must for all kids! Sing-alongs with Gordon from Sesame Street, meet-and-greets with famous costumed characters, stage performances, and hours of free entertainment. The day-long event concludes a live performance by the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Spectacular Target Fireworks show.

Father's Day (Sunday, June 15th): Spend some time with the old man, or show your appreciation for him in one way or the other! Chris Rock said it best:

Nobody appreciates daddy..I'm talking about the real daddy that handles the [insert profanity] business. Nobody ever says, "Hey, Daddy, thanks for knocking out this rent!" "Hey, Daddy, I sure love this hot water!" "Hey, Daddy, it sure is easy to read with all this light!"...Think about everything that the real daddy does. Pay the bills, buy the food, put a [insert profanity] roof over your head, everything you could ask for. Make your world a better, safer place, and what does daddy get? The big piece of chicken. That's all daddy gets is the big piece of chicken. And some women don't want to give up the big piece of chicken.

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Replay Inspiration

There are certain plays in sports that inspire me to play the sport. Here are a couple of those plays.


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Thing I Want of the Day: Residential Bowling Lanes

My friends and I kind of love bowling. It's a cheap and fun way to kill a couple of hours and to get our competitive juices running.

That's why, for my next birthday, I want everyone to chip in to get me a pair of these Residential Bowling Lanes. They are full length regulation sized lanes that are installed in your home.

I know that I first need to get a house with 1,000 square feet of free space. And then I need to figure out how to get all my friends to pay the "to be announced" (see: extremely expensive) price tag. But once I have that all figured out, goodbye Bowler City, hello Yuri's Bowl-O-Rama!

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

30 Things to do Before You're 30 (part 3)

20. Run a race.
This was originally supposed to be one of my goals for 08, and it sort of still is, but I'm giving myself until 30 to actually become serious about it. I'm not going to run a marathon or anything; I know me too well to try to convince myself running 26.2 miles is something I can, or want to, do. Just a simple 5K is good enough for me, and I need to start training for this, namely pounding the pavement, rather than the treadmill. But I will do this, and I expect the Life in Box-ers to come cheer me on.


19. Learn how to ride a bike.
True story, when I was little, every time my dad tried taking the training wheels off my bike, I put up such a protest (crying, screaming, kicking) that eventually he gave up. And I was secretly happy. This should tell you a couple of things about me: I like being in control, and I'm a huge scaredy cat. While it was me who was victorious that year, I have come to the conclusion that not knowing how to ride a bike at my age makes me somewhat of a non-winner. I don't really expect to be biking crazy trails or go off-roading or whatever, but I think I'm ready to give it another go, if someone's willing and patient enough to teach me. Takers?

18. Write a short story/screenplay/something.
I don't mean for this to sound like I need to be a published writer, because that's not what I care about. I mean, yes, it would be nice for someone to read my work and want to publish it for other people to read it, but really, all I want to do is to sit down, formulate a vision/plot for an interesting story, and write it out. I LOVED my screenwriting class senior year and I was actually ok at it, and if I EVER go to grad school (so highly unlikely), I would probably do it for creative writing. Alas, real life and laziness got in the way of me writing, but I'd really like to finish out a writing project to prove that I can do it.

17. Visit London.
I'm totally fascinated with the British culture, I don't know why. And I MUST visit London to satisfy this craving. I'd like to preferably go around Christmas time (very Love Actually-esque), and barring we play our financial cards right, Julia and I just might this year. Might. I cannot wait to go to the Tate Modern, and see in person one of my favorite paintings of all time: The Arnolfini Portrait.

16. Get a tattoo.
I think I need to move out of my house before I do this, but I'd like to get a small tattoo. It is going to be a star on my foot, which I heard is uber painful, but it's the only part of my body I want a tattoo on, so I'll just have to bear it. My college roommate Stella and I used to draw our tattoos on with Sharpies to see how it would look, and I thought mine was really cool. Maybe for my 25th birthday...

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My Favorite Webcomics

When I was in high school, I would occasionally bring a newspaper to school with me. I know it sounds super nerdy, but truth be told, I never really read the articles. Nope, I just got it for the crosswords. And then, 5 minutes later, after I was stumped, I would read the comics (which is why, to this day, the Bergen Record > New York Times).

Well, I still unsuccessfully do the crosswords, and I still read the comics. But now, I do it online. Webcomics are free, easily accessible, and generally more raunchy than their in-print counterparts. Here is a list of some of my favorite web comics:

XKCD

This is probably my favorite web comic. Written and drawn by super-cool, super-nerd, Randall Munroe. Comics are sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic, and usually, super nerdy. Regardless, they are all always top-notch. He updates every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but it's more than worth checking out some of the archives.

Some other good ones: Rock Band, Chess, Electric Skateboard

Penny Arcade
Penny Arcade is arguably the best gaming webcomic around. While a lot of their comics will fly over the heads of people who aren't into games, sometimes they touch on issues that we can all relate to, like the lack of punctuation on forums (kinda NSFW). They also update on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If you play video games at all, Penny Arcade should be on your favorites list.

Some other good ones: A Novel Technique, Professor Layton and the Perpetual Torment, Welcome to Matrimony Theatre


Perry Bible Fellowship
Perry Bible Fellowship definitely is not for everyone. The comedy is... darker. But if you find a kid wishing his for his grandfather to be alive for one more day, him receiving his wish, except that the grandfather is still buried underground funny, then yeah, you'll like this comic. Unfortunately, writer/artist Nicholas Gurewitch has pretty much stopped writing PBF, but the archives are golden.

Some other good ones: Refridgeron and Magnimus, Billy the Bunny, Sweet Candy Inc.

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Top Chef: Finale-y Done!

I don't know about you Top Chef fans, but my viewing of the season finale was very .. anti-climatic. Hm .. it might've been that I was only able to catch the last 30 minutes or so of it, due to technical difficulties, but when the defining moment came, it was sort of lame.

Don't get me wrong here - I'm super happy that Stephanie took it. And yes, Yay! indeed for the first female Top Chef. But Stephanie's reaction seemed very staged, and the last challenge/meals were .. blah.

I'd have to say that the biggest disappointment was Richard. I was really looking for a big showdown between Richard and Stephanie, leaving Lisa in the dust..but even Richard knew that he didn't deliver. The dude is a really innovative cook (or as the judges like to say, "whimsical"), but he really did fall short on the FINAL challenge. Boo. And I know that the judges LOVED his dessert, but the idea of bacon ice cream makes me cringe.

As for Lisa .. I must say that I was a bit scared when the judges were all loving her dishes. But you know what .. she didn't really show me any diversity, always cooking Asian foodies. Psh, and beeyatch was criticizing Dale for always cooking Asian food.

Is it weird that I don't have the same fervor as last week? Like I said: total lamesville ending.

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