Thursday, July 31, 2008

How Quickly We Grow Up

Yuri and I along with two other of our friends have agreed on a bet that would prevent us from making fun of anyone in our circle of friends. Anytime one of us pokes fun at one of our friends, that person gets a point added to their score. The person with the lowest score at the end of the month wins. How hard can this be? EXTREMELY! We are constantly making fun of each other. Like one of our friends said "There are going to be a lot of boring conversations for the next month."

This is how guys spend most of their time. Making fun of each other, playing sports, and making stupid, stupid bets. Last night, however, another group of friends and I had an actual conversation in which we discussed issues that were affecting us. During this conversation I couldn't help but think "Damn. We've grown up so much." Maybe we've become smarter, maybe our shared experiences have earned each other's trust. One thing was certain though, there was no going back to the way we were.

Five minutes later, sure enough, we were making fun of each other again. The thought of one of us attempting to swim the Atlantic in order to escape murder charges was just too funny to hold in. Gotta love being 20-something.

Read More...

Best News EVER!

Following the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling wrote The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which was mentioned in the 7th book. The only catch: she made 7 handwritten copies, complete with her own illustrations, and gave 6 of the 7 to her close friends. The 7th book? Sold to Amazon.com at an auction for 2 million pounds (or $4 million).

But in hopes to raise money for charity, The Tales of Beedle the Bard will be published on December 4, 2008, with Amazon selling a special collector's leather-bound edition for $100. The new edition will include all of Rowling's original illustrations, as well as comments by Albus Dumbledore.

Nerdy news? Yes! But really, for all die-hard Harry Potter fans, this is BIG NEWS.

Now my friends will know what to get me for Christmas ..

P.S. - Happy Birthday to Harry Potter! (which makes sense about J.K. Rowling's "gift" to her fans)

Read More...

Touching Clip of the Day: Christian the Lion



I'm not an animal lover, but my cold cold heart melted a little when I saw this clip. It's pretty self-explanatory, but basically the video is about the reunion of Christian the lion, and the 2 men who had raised him for a year before letting him go in the wild. A year after his release, the men decided to go visit him, even though they were warned that the lion would probably not remember them. But lo and behold he does remember, and it's actually really moving. A little disturbing, I have to say, because if a lion was running full speed at me, no matter if I had been his owner or not, I think the first thought to run through my head would be, "S**t, I'm so f**ked," NOT, "Awww, he remembers me!!" But, that's just me being my cynical self. Maybe cause this video is set to one of the sappiest songs of all time, Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You, but even I kinda teared up at the sight of this huge mountain lion pouring out his affection for his former masters. Over 7 million people have watched the clip so far, and the 2 men were even interviewed on the Today show this week.

Read More...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

[Mixtape] Summer Songs '08

No doubt about it, THE Summer Song of 2007 was Rihanna's ubiquitous Umbrella (ella ella eh eh), and so the race is on for the title of Summer Song of 2008. Based on word-of-mouth, chart rankings, and radio play, I'd have to reluctantly give my vote to Zooey Deschanel look-alike Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl. It's currently sitting pretty at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. Ughhh. I hate this song, and unfortunately for me, it's EVERYWHERE. Which makes it the new Umbrella. I just don't like 12 year old girls singing "I kissed a girl, and I liked it..."



Well there you have it. But here are my other contenders for Summer 08 songs, in no particular order. Which gets your vote?

Estelle ft. Kanye West - American Boy
I wrote about this song in my mixtape awhile back, and I'd like for it to catch on with the rest of America as it has with...me. Super catchy, features Kanye, what's not to like? If you're lucky enough to go see Kanye (ahem Yuri and Julia), sometimes he'll play this during his set, and will be like 'fast forward to my part!!' Oh Kanye, only you can take a song that's technically not yours and make it all about you.

Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love
The song has been on the charts for 23 weeks, and is still in the top 10. Did you know that the song was written by Ryan Tedder (the singer of OneRepublic) AND Jesse McCartney?? This song became the best selling single in the UK in 2007, and has continued to enjoy success all over the world, including the US. I love how emotionally-fueled it is for a pop song, it's definitely something old-school Mariah would've sung.

Jonas Brothers - Burnin' Up
The band and this song have been burnin up (I'm SO funny and clever!!) the charts, with credit going to the boys' heavy presence in the media, including a Rolling Stone cover, going on tour with Miley Cyrus, and their successful starring roles in Disney's Camp Rock. It has a very Maroon 5 sound to it, in my opinion.

New Kids on the Block - Summertime
Hello, comeback of the decade! While the song isn't like a HUGE HIT (peak on Billboard: #36), it's like the definition of a summery, poppy song. The video makes me laugh cause they're all acting like 18 year old boys, frolicking on the beach and doing the boy band moves, but many of the members are definitely pushing 40 in age.

Coldplay - Viva La Vida
This is Coldplay's biggest hit of their career, their first single to hit #1 on US and UK charts. Of course it helps when Apple chooses your song to sell their products. The song's success has also been marred by plagiarism accusations, but those allegations have since been dropped. One of my favorites ever.

Jesse McCartney - Leavin
Probably his biggest hit yet, peaking at the charts at #10. I know I'm not the only person to like him, or like this song. Interesting tidbit via Wikipedia: "The line 'Just tell him to the left left left' may be in reference to singer Beyonce's Irreplaceable. In her song, Beyonce is suggesting that her significant other take his belongings 'to the left'. In his song, Jesse is suggesting to a newfound lady that she send her current boyfriend 'to the left left left'." Sighhh, Jesse, you're cute.

Read More...

WTF of the Day

ESPN recently held a competition for "TitleTown USA," the place in the USA that resonates championships more than any other city. So of course when you think TitleTown the first place that comes to mind is Valdosta, Georgia. Valdosta? Really?

In Valdosta's defense, they have won a ton of championships...in high school. Valdosta has a division II college and no professional teams. You have got to be kidding me. TitleTown USA goes to high school championships? It's rumored that Valdosta has won about 500 championships in its history. Unfortunately, championships in high school are handed out like fortune cookies at Chinese restaurants.

I'm not saying it has to be New York (though it should be), but Valdosta it should not! In the words of Mark Jackson, "ESPN, you're better than that."

Read More...

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Trailer

Harry Potter fans rejoice! The first official trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is here .. and oh boy, it looks freaking grood (good + great).



Anyone who knows me will tell you how much of a Harry Potter fan I am. And the 6th book coming to the big screen? I don't even think that the movie can eff it up for me (don't even get me started about how much better the books are, and about how the past 5 movies have taken away from the many details in the series) because the 6th book was THAT good (in my opinion). The trailer itself gave me the chills!

And I think it's kind of cool that Ralph Fiennes's 10-year-old nephew plays the younger Tom Riddle/Voldemort in Half-Blood Prince. For those who don't know, Ralph Fiennes plays the adult Lord Voldemort.

Yeah, yeah. I'm a nerd. But you can bet your money that on November 21, 2008, I'll be watching this in theaters.

Read More...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hot Air Balloon Rides @ Central Park

As someone who visits New York City fairly often, I get really excited when I gat a chance to see the city in a unique way (As you may have noticed).

So obviously, when I heard there were going to be hot air balloon rides in Central Park from now until August 22nd, I was super happy.

In celebration of Central Park's 150th anniversary, Aero Balloon is hosting anchored hot air balloon rides for a very reasonably priced $25 a pop.

The balloons go up 300 feet and take up to four passengers in the air for 10 minutes at a time. Rides are available from 7am to 10pm on a first-come, first-serve basis and lift-off from Cherry Hill (on 72nd street, west of the Bethesda Fountain).

Me and camera are definitely going to take advantage of this ride, maybe I'll see you on line!

Read More...

Deal of the Day: Ben & Jerry's

To promote their new fat-free white tea, ginger, and hibiscus flavored drink, Iced TeaZers, Ben & Jerry will be offering the refreshing 20oz. drink today (July 29, 2008) for just $.99. Sounds like a great way to fight the summer heat and to add a healthier alternative to a summer drink.

Read More...

Monday, July 28, 2008

[Feature] Posthumous Fame (and Heath Ledger)

As said in a previous post, The Dark Knight exceeded all expectations for me. Sure, a lot of people might think that the film itself is overhyped and just a “good movie,” rather than a great film, but in my opinion, what makes The Dark Knight such a great film is the late Heath Ledger’s performance. I mean, for a movie with a PG-13 rating, the movie gave me enough chills, without the excess of blood and violence. Now talks about a posthumous Oscar nomination for Ledger seems to be the talk of Tinsel Town, which is debatable amongst both the elite in Hollywood, as well as film critics, and fans.

In terms of posthumous fame (that is, fame after death), there are three important factors in understanding how and why the dead are preserved in our society: the role of media (and digital media), collective remembering (and storytelling), as well as the fans themselves.

The Dark Knight has been continuously sold out at theaters across the states, even after its July 18th release. Many are flocking to the theaters because of their love for the comic series. But besides the fanboys of the Batman series, the film has been selling out due to the curiosity around Heath Ledger's last performance before his untimely death.

It’s common to see a celebrity rise to fame after such a rousing performance, but posthumous fame amongst deceased celebrities has been a fad in Hollywood for some time now. This reflects the importance of society and the role it plays in keeping the dead alive through memory; because of our susceptibility to popular culture, as a society, we are infatuated with any sort of celebrity - more typically, movie stars. And death? Well, death is part of our lives, whether we like it or not, so it piques the mind in various, curious ways.

When dealing with death in general, as a society we tend to communally share in mourning with those associated with the dead. But when denied attendance to a beloved celebrity’s funeral, fans turn to online “webshrines,” such as website memorials, online discussions in message boards, etc., to build a community amongst mourners, negotiating conflicting feelings over death, and immortalizing and magnifying the dead.

In remembering the almost mythicized actors, such as James Dean, we engage in collective remembering and storytelling as a social interaction with one another, as stories about the celebrity are a kind of currency of social imagination. And finally, as a society we identify with those similar to us, in order to establish a sense of interpersonal connection, such as in the case with fans believing that James Dean identifies with them (a la, Rebel Without A Cause), as they identify with him. By viewing a celebrity to be something more personal to us, fans tend to see themselves in an active relationship with their idol, thus keeping them in loyal even after their deaths.

But I'm not saying that Heath Ledger is the James Dean of our generation. I mean, personally, I was never infatuated with James Dean (mostly because it wasn't something that happened during my lifetime), but Heath Ledger has always been a modest actor in my eyes. I LOVED him in The Patriot, and thought he was decent in Ten Things I Hate About You (yeah, I have yet to see Brokeback Mountain, but I will). But when it all comes down to it, Ledger made the Joker his own, thus resulting in a really chilling performance, and his death has nothing to do with it.

Sure, you can blame the media for building buzz around his performance, thus over-hyping the film for you, and his hardcore fans for making a big deal for their beloved actor, but if you have seen the movie, think about how the movie would've been like without him. Kind of lame, right?

And that's why he was that good. And that's why he has the right for posthumous recognition. So for all those who are saying that Heath Ledger doesn't deserve any sort of recognition for his performance and is really getting an Oscar nod just because he's dead, suck on it.

And I'll end it with this quote from (you guessed it!) The Office:
Michael Scott: Game, set, match. Point. Scott. Game over. End of game.

Read More...

Friday, July 25, 2008

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Forecast
Fri: 87°/68°, Partly cloudy
Sat: 90°/71°, Mostly sunny
Sun: 88°/72°, Scattered T-storms

See

Step Brothers (starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly)

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson)

American Teen
(in select theaters, read more about it here)


Events
NYC Restaurant Week
The first full week of Restaurant Week is over, but you still have July 28- Aug 1 to try some fancy restaurants at decent prices. Call and book SOON for next week. $24.07 lunch/$35 dinner for a 3-course meal.

City Place at Edgewater - Sidewalk Sale
The shops at City Place are participating in its first sidewalk sale this Friday and Saturday. Might not be a bad idea to check out, maybe you'll find some cool (not-as-expensive) duds at stores like the Gap, Banana Republic, and Anthropologie.

Read More...

Deal of the Day: Free $10 From Amazon.com

Amazon is running a really great deal from now until July 28th.

If you try Amazon Prime, their service that provides free 2-day shipping on all items, free for a month, then they give you $10 off of your next purchase.

The only catch is that you have to cancel the Prime service within a month, or else you'll get charged $79 (which gives you Prime for a year).

Click here to sign up!

Read More...

Movie: The Dark Knight

Movie Release Date: July 18, 2008


Genre: Action, Drama


Running Time: 152 Minutes


Director: Christopher Nolan


Cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Cane, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary
Oldman, Morgan Freeman



My expectations for The Dark Knight were as high as any movie I've seen, but they were wrong. I expected this movie to be the Batman version of Iron Man, which I greatly enjoyed, however it compares more to The Departed. And yet The Departed doesn't quite do it justice...

The Dark Knight is truly dark. Despite its PG-13 rating, the movie has an R feel to it. There is no gore, hardly any blood, and yet, the violence is shockingly evident. There is no foul language, but the script is far from from child friendly. It's almost Hitchcock-esque in its delivery. The bleakness of the film serves as the perfect backdrop for a plot that is not as hero centric as other superhero films are. Instead, The Dark Knight offers more insight into other characters, especially the villain, Joker.

And that is who really steals the show. Christian Bale once again proves that he's the best Batman to ever appear on screen, and Aaron Eckhart is even better as Harvey Dent. Still, Heath Ledger outshines both of them. Ledger plays Joker so beautifully perfect it's tragic to think we won't see an encore. Give that man his duly deserved Oscar.

The special effects are not overly produced but are imaginative enough to merit a round of applause from the audience in the theater I was in. There is also enough character development to prevent the movie from becoming stagnant. I usually like to wait a week or two before determining how I feel about a movie, but The Dark Knight was so good I couldn't help but put it in my top 5 (Rounders' umber one spot is in great danger.) If you haven't seen the movie, go now. If you already have, go again. I am.
Grade: A+

Read More...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stuff [Fill in the Blank] Like

A few months ago, Yuri wrote about one of our favorite blogs ever, Stuff White People Like. Since then, SWPL has taken off, garnering heavy media coverage and even spawning a book deal for Christian Lander, the creator of the blog. You know you're a cultural phenomenon when you land a book deal, but your status in pop culture history is cemented when you inspire a dozen parodies/counterparts, as Lander's idea has done. Not white and can't relate? Not a problem! Check out: Stuff Asian People Like, Stuff Desis Like, Stuff Educated Black People Like, Stuff Nobody Likes, Stuff College People Like, Stuff God Hates, I mean it goes on and on and on.

Nothing beats the original, but for me, this comes really close: Stuff Korean Moms Like. HILARIOUS. Honestly, my mom isn't the typical Korean mom, but #42 Paper and Plastic Bags pretty much describes her to a T:

If you are like me, you know the worst thing you can do is throw out an empty paper or plastic bag in front of your Korean Mom. She will cry out as if her latest Korean Drama has been canceled, and shout "YAH!"(YOU!) in her loud, super sonic Korean Mom voice. As soon as either paper or plastic bag enters the Korean Mom's domain they are meticulously folded or knotted into complicated designs and stored in a drawer or cupboard for future use.

Ahahahaha. There you have it, folks, some new sites to peruse when you are mindlessly bored at work.

Read More...

The Name Game

Growing up in a Korean-dominated area, I abhorred meeting a new girl who was named Julia Park. You'd think that Korean parents would at least venture out the box with names, but sadly, even looking through my cellphone's list of contacts saddens me, especially when it takes me 10 minutes to go through a seemingly endless list of "John Lee's/Kim's/Park's" or "Hanna Lee's/Kim's/Park's." You better bet your bottom dollar that none of my sons will be named John, James, Sam.

But turns out that having the same name as others isn't as bad as having a completely weird, uncommon name (or sharing a name with a popular product):

Family Court Judge Rob Murfitt listed a series of unusual names that New Zealand parents had given their children, and said he was concerned that such strange monikers would create hurdles for them as they grew up. "It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap," the New Zealand Press Association quoted the judge as saying. Among the names Murfitt cited: twins named Benson and Hedges -- after a brand of cigarettes; Violence; and Number 16 Bus Shelter. Some parents had named children after six-cylinder Ford cars, the news agency reported. (from cnn.com)

And this story stems from a New Zealand judge's ruling that a nine year old girl named "Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii" be a ward of the court.

Personally, I think I'd name my children after favorite characters in books, rather than a random favorite product..

Read More...

Movie: Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Movie Release Date: July 11, 2008
Genre: Action, Adventure
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Jeffrey Tambor

Yuri, a friend (Jonathan), and I decided to catch the 9:45PM showing of Hellboy II: The Golden Army last night. I must state that I've never had any interest in seeing the film, and have never seen the first film, let alone even care about the comic series (I'm sure that some fanboys are ready to harpoon my heart right now). But what the hell, I figured that since my boyfriend wanted to see it and that it got decent reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, it couldn't be too bad, right?

Wrong.

Lesson 1: NEVER decide to go to the movies when you have food coma: it impairs your cinematic judgment. After stuffing our faces at Cheesecake Factory, the three of us found ourselves mighty full and thinking that it was too early to call it a night at 9:30PM. Yup, we're rebels. So Jonathan suggested that we go catch a movie, and said he wanted to watch Hellboy II. At this point, Yuri and I both rolled our eyes - Jonathan has had a history of liking really bad movies (sorry, Jon!), and it looked like Hellboy II was going to be another to add to that list of shame. I blame the food coma, but I thought "What the heck? Let's just go see it; it's gotten decent reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and according to some online test I took a year ago, Rotten Tomato and I seem to have a pretty solid rating system for movies!" And I last time I checked, Rotten Tomatoes gave Hellboy II an 87%, and Sex and the City a 51% (which I loved).

Lesson 2: Don't have too much faith in Rotten Tomatoes. I probably passed out three times throughout the film, and each time I woke up, the movie was still going on. I can't even say I know where the halfway point of the film was. It seemed like an endless movie. Really, Rotten Tomatoes? Sex and the City was at least funny (this coming from someone who wasn't really a hardcore fan of the show and pretty much anti-girly), whereas Hellboy II attempted to be funny, but fell flat and made me cringe. And I usually heart cringe-worthy comedy (a la The Office). Definitely not worth the high 87%.

All in all, I guess if you are a fanboy and LOVE Hellboy, go see the movie. But if you're going to see it, don't drag your reluctant friends. After the credits started rolling, I noticed at least one person within the groups of people at the showing, profusively apologizing to their friends for bringing them to see such a crappy movie. 'Cause yes, your friends will be pissed. And yes, they will think less of you and you taste in films. I mean, I love Guillermo del Toro, and yes, some of the monsters definitely were Pan's Labryinth-esque, but even that didn't save the film.

Or maybe it was 'cause we saw The Dark Knight the night before .. but even so, man .. I even read the spoilers for The Dark Knight even before seeing it, and I was still amazed. Yeah, I said it. It was that good [for me].

Luckily, even Jonathan admitted the movie was horrible. And so, I'm happy to say that we're still friends.

Grade: D-

Read More...

Douchebag of the Day: Brooke Hogan


"I think it's kind of crazy that a woman is running because I think that women deal with a lot of emotions and menopause and PMS and stuff. Like, I'm so moody all the time, I know I couldn't be able to run a country, because I would be crying one day and yelling at people the next day, you know?"
My crappy photoshopping aside, nice, Brooke Hogan. Thank you so much for setting women back a million years. You just took one glance at the dream of equality and blew it to smithereens with that statement. I'm so glad you're on my TV screen, week after week, so that little girls can too dream of one day living off daddy's money while pursuing a mediocre, talentless pop career on the side. Just because the hardest decision you have to make all day revolves around what bikini to wear to the beach doesn't mean that all women are incapable of doing things that actually matter in the world. Brooke does NOT know best; you are an idiot, and congratulations- douchebag of the day.

Read More...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Comic Strip of the Day


We're kicking it old school today, folks! Calvin and Hobbes is my favorite comic of all times and this one in particular is my favorite strip. "It's shameless the way we flirt." True that Calvin.
CalvinandHobbes.com

Read More...

Resources for Local Foodies

Speaking of food.. I kind of love it. I love eating and trying new places.

Aside from reading other posts on this blog, I have two ways of finding new places to eat around the Bergen County / New Jersey / New York area.

The first is Chowhound.com forums. Chowhound is, like, a foodie's dream website. They have recipes, reviews, and a very comprehensive food forum.

While activity can sometimes be scarce (I started up a few posts and had very little to no feedback), they have a very deep archive with lots of great suggestions. It's actually through Chowhound that I found my favorite Cuban eatery, Casual Habana Cafe.

The other site I check when I'm looking for food is Off the Broiler. Off the Broiler is a blog run by a local guy named Jason Perlow. He writes about technology and food (I know, an odd mix). The great thing about his blog is that he takes pictures of the places he eats at and is very descriptive in his writing. He visited some of my favorite places to go, like Bartolomeo's and Boom Boom Chicken.

So if you're ever in the mood to find a new place to eat, use Chowhound and Off the Broiler to help you discover your new favorite restaurant.

Read More...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

NY Mag's Cheap Eats 2008


I love NY Mag, especially when they put out their special annual issues- Summer in NYC, Fall Fashion, and my favorite, Cheap Eats. The 2008 edition of Cheap Eats hit the newstands yesterday, and as a (cheap) foodie, I'm pretty excited. I'm really not one to spend tons on food (I honestly would rather spend my money at J.Crew, but that's another story...), so I really appreciate good quality food for decent price. In addition to the usual list of the best of the best cheap foods in the city (everything from burgers to arepas to thai), there's also a little comparison chart on how food prices have risen this year as well as the 10 best things to eat in NYC for $5 or under. July's almost over, folks, meaning summer's already halfway gone. Can't think of a better way to spend 90 degrees plus days than seeking out cheap eats with good company.

Read More...

Video of the Day: Dinosaur Loose in the Museum

Most little girls love to play dress up, play with Barbies, or pretend that they're a princess. Me? I was more of a dinosaur loving gal, who had secret hopes of one day becoming a archaeologist, working on dinosaur expeditions all over the world. Yeah, I was kind of a tomboy (though, in my defense, I owned my fair share of Barbie dolls, too). And yes, I totally loved Dr. Ross Geller, he's my hero.

Of course, when I was first linked this video, I was completely screaming OMG SO AWESOME and totally jealous of those who were there to experience being near a freaking realistic dinosaur. And I love how at 1:09 of the video, the videographer tells the dinosaur to just eat one of the kids.


Extinct, my ASS! from The Original Joe Fisher on Vimeo.

Read More...

Monday, July 21, 2008

[Feature] What Makes Gas Prices So High?

How many conservative economists does it take to change a light bulb? None, if the government would just leave it alone, it would screw itself in.

Get it? How about this one...

Three econometricians went out hunting, and came across a large deer. The first econometrician fired, but missed, by a meter to the left. The second econometrician fired, but also missed, by a meter to the right. The third econometrician didn’t fire, but shouted in triumph, “We got it! We
got it!”

Are you laughing yet? If you aren't, you're probably not that into economics. However, you do care about spending $4 dollars per gallon for gas. I am not an economist. I can only guess as to why that last joke is funny. I am going to try, however, to explain to you (and myself for that matter) why gas prices are getting higher and higher.

Gas Prices Go Up if Oil Prices Go Up
This is one is pretty simple. Gasoline comes from crude oil. If the price of oil goes up, the price of gasoline goes up immediately. This is because gas stations make razor thin profits from you buying gas. In fact, gas stations would rather have you buy a slushy and a Kit Kat than to fill up your tank.

Oil Prices Go Up if a)Demand for Oil Goes Up b)Supply of Oil Goes Down c) Speculation d) The Dollar Goes Down

a) Demand of Oil Goes Up- If a billion people all of a sudden wanted cowpies, the price of cowpies (and cows) would immediately jump. Cowpies are useless to you, thus the demand for them will remain low. Oil, however, is extremely useful to you. Unfortunately for your wallet, it is also useful to people in China and India. The more developed these countries become, the more oil consuming products they'll want to buy.

b) Supply of Oil Goes Down- If there's less oil to go around, how are we going to determine who gets to have it? Sell it to those who are willing/able to pay more for it of course. Who supplies us with oil? About 60 percent of the oil we use is imported, most of it comes from Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Nigeria. If anything goes wrong with the production of oil in these countries we'll be sure to feel the effects. Natural disasters, like Katrina, can also diminish the production of oil if they strike in an area where oil is being extracted.

c) Speculation- This topic is tricky to simplify so I'm sorry to anyone who thinks I've over simplified. Oil speculators are people who buy oil with no intent of using it. They buy it with the hope of selling it in the future at a higher price. This creates an artificial demand for oil and raises prices. There is a great debate as to how much speculation has affected the price of oil. Some people believe it is responsible for as much as 60 percent of the price. Others believe that speculation has had very little effect. If you want to get deeper into this subject I suggest reading the following articles:
What Is A Commodity
What Is Commodity Trading
Oil Bubble
Oil Speculation
The first two articles help explain some of the basics of the subject, while the latter two talk specifically about how oil speculation is affecting our economy.

d) The Price of the Dollar Goes Down- Back to simplicity. If the Dollar loses value, it's going to take more dollars to buy oil. How does the US Dollar become stronger? Oh dear, that's another subject. Read this, however: Is The Weak Dollar To Blame For High Oil Prices?


The rise in oil prices is a shady and intricate topic. I purposely did not want to make it detailed, but just like Alice in Wonderland, it gets curiouser and curiouser the more you read about it. While experts may not always agree on specifics, I believe most will agree that points a through d contribute to the increase of oil prices and, ultimately, to the increase of gas prices. There are somethings you can do to curb how much you spend at the pump. Here are 10 Green Driving Tips courtesy of How Stuff Works to help you lower your fuel usage.

Read More...

Friday, July 18, 2008

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Forecast
Fri: 95°/75°, Partly cloudy
Sat: 97°/74°, Lots of sunshine
Sun: 90°/75°, Partly cloudy
(Watch out for heat advisories!)

See
The Dark Knight (Starring Christian Bale, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger,)

Mamma Mia
(Starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnon, Amanda Seyfried)

Space Chimps
(Starring Andy Samberg, Cheryl Hines, Patrick Warburton)







Events

Swim!
It's going to be killer hot this weekend. It's a perfect excuse to go head to your local pool (it's $15 for non-members in Palisades Park, fyi) or hit up the Jersey Shore.

Free Concert with Diplo, Santogold, A-Trak, Plastic Littler, and Kid Cudi

This free concert is being held at Central Park's SummerStage this Sunday at 3pm. To be honest, I only posted this because I love Santogold. It looks to be a great concert!

Much Ado About Nothing
Having trouble getting tickets to Shakespeare in the Park? The Hudson Warehouse, labelling themselves as the "other free Shakespeare in the Park", will be performing Much Ado About Nothing every Thursday to Sunday in July. The show starts at 6:30pm.

Read More...

While you were sleeping.... TV Edition!

A lot has been happening in the TV world...

2008 Emmy Awards Nominations
The Emmy nominations were announced yesterday, the winners will be announced at the awards in Sept. It was a good year for cable TV, with tons of cable shows leading nominations, including Mad Men and Damages making history by becoming the first cable shows to get Best Drama Series noms. Also, Ryan Secrest may finally win an Emmy- it's the first year best reality host will be honored. Other than that, not too many surprises.

MTV Soundtrack

Finally: MTV has launched a website that is an interactive guide to music featured on all of their shows. So no more googling 'what was the name of the song on last night's The Hills'? Head over to the site, stream the song, discuss with fans, buy the song. You can also discover new artists, as bands are encouraged to set up profiles and upload music. Kinda cool. I'll be using the site a lot when the Hills returns in the fall.

Katie Holmes guesting on Eli Stone
Holmes is returning to the small screen on ABC's Eli Stone, to air later this year. So she turns down the Dark Knight and instead is widening her repertoire with small cameos on TV, ok... Full circle I guess, returning to the medium that made her famous in the first place. Apparently she's singing and dancing in this role. I actually really like her (and SURI!!), despite her crazo husband.


Grey's Anatomy not killing off Katherine Heigl
(Unfortunately)
ABC president Stephen McPherson and Grey's Anatomy exec producer Shonda Rhimes are both vehemently denying Katherine Heigl's Izzie character being killed off this upcoming season. Rumors have been swirling that writers on the show have been super unhappy with Heigl, since she publicly claimed she was taking her name out of the running for an Emmy nomination because she didn't feel her storyline on Grey's this past season was award-nomination worthy. Some people saw the comment as noble, others, not so much. Hey, Katherine, I know you're a bankable movie star now, but try not to bite the hand that feeds you, ok? You need to just like shut up and act.

SNL's Amy Poehler to headline NBC's Office Spinoff
Good news galore for the funny lady, not only did she get nominated yesterday for an Emmy for Outstanding Actress for her work on SNL, she's now confirming that she'll be involved in the upcoming Office spinoff. Not much has been revealed about the show, except that it's now probably not going to be an extension of the original, but an entirely new series helmed by the same creators.

Project Runway Season 5 Debuted this Week
Didn't know? Don't blame you. Bravo did a terrible job promoting the season premiere, probably cause they're still mad that they're losing the hot show to Lifetime next year. Bravo claims that the lack of promotion was to maintain the contestants' anonymity, but um, I remember them promoting the crap out of the show for every other season. Hmmmm. Project Runway still managed to pull in viewers, being on par with other season premieres.

Read More...

Disappointment of the Day

This is the first poster for the upcoming Dragonball movie. As a huge fan of the series, I can't do anything but look at it with fear and loathing.

I think the trouble is that the characters in the anime look too cartoonish to be live-action. I mean, I've never seen someone and thought to myself, "Man, that guy looks exactly like Goku!"

Seriously, this whole thing is giving me visions of the Street Fighter movie.

*Shudder*

Read More...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

White People Are Right, We Do All Look The Same

As an Asian, I had always felt that I had this sixth sense when it came to other Asian. Like, I could see another Asian and tell whether the person was Korean, Chinese, or Japanese... or so I thought.

A couple of years back, I took the Asian Face test on AllLookSame.com and did horribly -- well below the 7/18 average people get. Hell, even retaking it today, with the same pictures, I only scored a 10/18. That's when I realized that I probably didn't have this skill.

So I challenge everyone to give this quiz a go. All you do is look at pictures of people and choose between Korean, Chinese, or Japanese (sorry, Southeast Asians!). Maybe it'll make you question your sixth sense, too.

Read More...

Song of the Day: Adele - Hometown Glory

Hometown Glory - Adele

I love sad, melancholy songs. My favorite song ever is Sia's Breathe Me, which is hella depressing, and a close second is Imogen Heap's Hide and Seek, which also ranks pretty high on the unhappy list. I've been obsessed with Adele lately, a young British artist who I wrote about in my mixtape on British female artists. I LOVE LOVE Hometown Glory, a beautiful song off of Adele's debut album 19. It's actually a really uplifting song about her hometown of London (my other obsession), set to a really sad melody. I'm not surprised it's been featured on everything from Grey's Anatomy and One Tree Hill to So You Think You Can Dance.

Here is Hometown Glory on So You Think You Can Dance, choreographed by contemporary dancer Mia Michaels, for my favorite contestants Joshua and Katee. Belissimo.


Read More...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sports Recap: MLB Midseason Report

What a frigginly delicious All Star game. 15 innings of excitement! That being said, it is time to take a look back at the predictions I made at the beginning of the season and see how I've fared so far.

AL East
I picked the Yankees to win the AL East with Boston coming at a close second. As of today the Yankees are in third place, 6.0 games behind the Sox. The surprise of this division has been the Tampa Bay Rays who are just 0.5 games behind first place. It seems Tampa is finally ready to be a legit team. However, the Rays will not make the playoffs. I know everyone is on their bandwagon, but something tells me this team is still a solid veteran pitcher and some bullpen help away from making the playoffs. Don't count on Percival to last the season. I'm sticking with the Yanks.

AL Central
I'll make these division notes quicker. Detroit sucks but will get better, I'm still picking them to win the division. Cleveland is just plain terrible and Minnesota continues to impress.

AL West
I was half right. I had the Angels in a tie for first place. Unfortunately, I had them in a tie with the Mariners. The Mariners are currently in a tough fight for worst record in the league. The only change is the obvious Angels making the playoffs instead of the Mariners.

NL East
Mets fans can finally breath easier. The Amazins are just half a game behind the Phils for the NL East lead. The Mets have got enough pieces to win this division. I'm staying with the Mets no this one.

NL Central
Lets go Cubbies, lets go! Now with Rich Harden (favorite pitcher in training) acing the staff, the Cubs are poised to go deeper into the playoffs then I expected.

NL West
The NL West is just embarrasing. The Diamondbacks will win this division by default.


AL MVP: I picked A-Rod to win it with Grady Sizemore as the darkhorse. Both are having a terrific year but the halfway favorite is Josh Hamilton. Expect A-Rod to have a phenomenal second half.

NL MVP: I picked David Wright as the MVP and Chase Utley as the darkhorse. Close enough! Utley is definitely having an MVP season. 25 Homers at the break from a second baseman is simply stunning!

AL Cy Young: I picked Felix Hernandez and had Harden and Francisco Liriano as my dark horses. Liriano was terrible for three starts before he was sent to the minors. Harden is 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA with Oakland before being traded to the Cubs in the National League, thus making him ineligible to win the AL Cy Young. I won't say he's the best pitcher in baseball. Scratch that. Yes I will say he's the best pitcher in baseball. Hernandez has been good and would have a better record on a team that could actually hit. Cliff Lee has come out of nowhere to emerge as the mid-season favorite. I predict Lee will not be nearly as good in the second half and no one mentioned in this paragraph will win it.

NL Cy Young: Johan Santana will win the Cy Young. I know Edison Volquez and Tim Lincecum have been out of this world, but I gotta stick to my guns with this one as well. With the exception of last season, Santana has been a fantastic second half pitcher. Now that the Mets are playing better, Johan will put up some sick numbers.

AL Rookie of the Year: My dark horse pick, Evan Longoria, is running away with it.
NL Rookie of the Year: My pick, Geovany Soto, is running away with it.

Making predictions is extremely tough. Two of the teams I chose to be in the playoffs are currently sitting in last place in their divisions. I would give myself a B so far.

Read More...

7 Super Snacks To Save Your Day

I'm not really a believer in medicine. No, I'm not a Scientologist, but I don't like taking pills (for some reason, I have trouble swallowing them), nor do I like the idea of taking the liquid form of medicines. Not to mention that I abhor the taste of medicines. They taste funny.

I guess if anything, I'm more of a believer in natural remedies. They taste a lot better (well, not all) and more natural. Granted not all people are fans and would much rather prefer the taste of their icky FDA-approved meds, but here's a list of 7 Super Snacks from Yahoo! Health that can help you out with certain bodily problems or functions.

1. When You're Stressed...

Eat This:
1 Cup of Low-Fat Yogurt or 2 Tbsp of Mixed Nuts

Scientists in Slovakia gave people 3 grams each of two amino acids — lysine and arginine — or a placebo and asked them to deliver a speech. Blood measurements of stress hormones revealed that the amino acid–fortified public speakers were half as anxious during and after the speech as those who took the placebo. Yogurt is one of the best food sources of lysine; nuts pack tons of arginine.

Not That!
A Can of Soda

A study from the American Journal of Public Health found that people who drink 20 ounces of soda daily are three times more likely to be depressed and anxious, compared with those who drink less.

2. When You Want to Increase Your Metabolism...

Drink This:
Green Tea

Catechins, the powerful antioxidants found in green tea, are known to stoke your metabolism, making it burn hotter and torch more calories. A study by Japanese researchers found that participants who consumed 690 milligrams of catechins from green tea daily had significantly lower body-mass indexes and smaller waist measurements than tea-totalers (i.e., they avoid the stuff).

Not That!
Nothing

Skipping meals lets your body's calorie-burning furnace go cold. Spread out snacks throughout the day. Try a cup of yogurt with fresh fruit or almonds between breakfast and lunch, and a hard-boiled egg or hummus with vegetables in the afternoon.

3. When You're Low on Energy...

Eat This:
A Handful of Trail Mix

Raisins provide potassium, which your body uses to convert sugar into energy. Nuts stock your body with magnesium, which boosts metabolism and improves nerve and muscle function. (When magnesium levels are low, your body produces more lactic acid — the same fatigue-byproduct that makes your muscles ache at the end of a workout.)

Not That!
Espresso-Based Drinks

Sure, the caffeine will perk you up, but the spike in blood sugar that follows — with anywhere from 16 grams (latte) to 59 grams (white chocolate mocha) of sugar coursing through your veins — will ultimately launch your own personal energy crisis. Stick to brewed coffee with one packet of sugar, max.

4. When You Need a Brain Boost...

Eat This:
Blueberries

Antioxidants in blueberries help protect the brain from free-radical damage, which could decrease your risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and improve cognitive processing. Wild blueberries, if you can find them (or grow them!), have even more brain-boosting antioxidants than the cultivated variety.

Not That!
Ice Cream

Sugary foods incite sudden surges of blood glucose that, in the long term, cause sugar highs and lows, and make you as distractable as a toddler in the Disney store. And foods high in saturated fat can clog blood vessels and slow the flow of nutrients and blood to the brain.

5. When You're Under the Weather...

Drink This:
Ginseng Tea, Hot or Iced

In a Canadian study, people who took 400 milligrams of ginseng a day had 25 percent fewer colds than people who popped a placebo. Ginseng helps kill invading viruses by increasing the body's production of key immune cells.

Not That!
Caffeinated Beverages and Energy Drinks

Excessive caffeine messes with your sleep schedule and sabotages key immune agents. And insufficient sleep opens the door to colds, upper respiratory infections, and other ills. What's more, caffeine can dehydrate you, and hydration is vital during illness: Fluids not only transport nutrients to the problem zones, but also carry away toxins.

6. When You Need to Wake Up and Go...


Eat This:
Eggs and Whole-Wheat Toast

Eggs are a great source of protein, and having them for breakfast sets you up for a perfect day of eating. Saint Louis University researchers found that people who eat eggs for breakfast consume 264 fewer calories the rest of the day than those who eat bagels and cream cheese.

Not That!
Bagel and Cream Cheese

At 500 calories and 20 grams of fat, this deli disaster is one of the worst ways to start your day. Sixty grams of fast-burning carbohydrates will cause a dip in energy and a spike in hunger, long before lunchtime. The same goes for croissants, danish, donuts, and pancakes.

7. When You Want to Get ''In the Mood''...

Eat This:
Dark Chocolate

The cocoa in chocolate contains stimulants that increase your body's sensitivity. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that can give you a slight natural high. And Italian researchers found that women who often eat chocolate have a higher sex drive than those who don't. Make sure your chocolate contains at least 60 percent cacao.

Not That!
The Third Glass of Wine

The alcohol in wine affects your prefrontal cortex, which can decrease inhibition and up your sexual appetite. But only for the first glass or two. Beyond that, the toxic affects of alcohol in your system take over and are as likely to make you sleepy as they are to make you sexy. The more pouring, the more snoring.
(from Yahoo! Health)

Read More...

Store of the Day: Built

I'm not very keen on fashion (although I do enjoy shopping for nice clothes), but my friend, Michelle's, tote caught my attention today. The tote was a sweet looking lime-green, but what really caught my attention was the material it was made of, neoprene. Neoprene is the material used to make laptop sleeves. The neoprene also allowed Michelle to stuff her bag with more stuff than usual. I asked her where she got her tote and she told me she got it from Built New York. The tote can be bought at the Built online store for about $20, but I was told it can be bought at Marshalls for $10.


Read More...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Brad & Angelina + Six

OMG, you guys, Brangelina are the proud parents of twins Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline! Like, we can totally breathe a sigh of relief because the babies are finally here, the mom is fine, the dad cut the umbilical cord, and now baby Shiloh finally has siblings that look like her! So awesome!!

...Ok, honestly, as much as people think I eat up stuff like this, I don't really care. I don't like Angelina, I don't really like Brad, I don't particularly think Shiloh is a cute baby (there, I said it) and so I really don't care. But apparently the world does: here is People.com's "Special Report" page dedicated to all things Jolie-Pitt, here is the mayor of Nice (France, where the babies were born) with their birth certificates, here is an interview with the doctor who delivered the babies, and here is an article on how much the first pictures of the twins are expected to fetch. The price is pretty mind blowing: "The only other photos that 'would possibly come that close is Britney Spears giving birth to an alien.' '' Right.

The birth of any human being is an occasion to celebrate, so I don't want to take away from that. But when I see so much hype over these twins, and how happy Brad and Angelina are, and how seemingly perfect their family is, I can't help but feel bad for Jennifer Aniston. I mean, yeah, it's been 3 years since her divorce from Brad, and she's moved on with life and on with other men, but it can't be easy to see your former love happy with a new love and kids, pretty much EVERYWHERE you look. For us, it would be something like if your ex suddenly became the next big star, and his/her face plastered over every newspaper and magazine, complete with details on new loves, life, and happiness. It's like the biggest rubbing-in-your-face ever.

Brad and Angelina, congratulations. Jen Aniston, it'll be ok. Just don't turn on the TV, read the newspaper, or talk to anyone, for the rest of your existence on this Earth. Sorry.

Read More...

20 Healthy Foods < $1

One of my favorite books of all time has got to be The Joy of Cooking. Why, you ask? Because a) it's useful for any and every occasion, b) every time I read it, I learn something new, c) cooking is freaking fun! I love going to supermarkets with a cooking mission, trusty cookbook in cart.

Anyway, one thing that rocks about cooking is that it's usually a lot cheaper than eating out, and that it makes you more aware of what you are consuming (thus hopefully leading you to eat more healthy).


For all those who share my interest in being a [healthy] foodie, here's a list of The 20 Healthiest Foods for Under $1:

1. Oats
2. Eggs
3. Kale
4. Potatoes
5. Apples
6. Nuts
7. Bananas
8. Garbanzo Beans
9. Broccoli
10. Watermelon
11. Wild Rice
12. Beets
13. Butternut Squash
14. Whole Grain Pasta
15. Sardines
16. Spinach
17. Tofu
18. Lowfat Milk
19. Pumpkin Seeds
20. Coffee
(from divinecaroline.com)

Read More...

Website of the Day: CuteOverload

Anyone who knows me can tell you about how much I HEART animals. But really, it's not ALL animals. I just kind of heart puppehs.

One of my favorite websites of ALL TIME to visit on a daily basis is CuteOverload. But not only do they feature the cutest puppehs around, but various other animals, too (kittens, seals, red pandas, birds, bunnies ... the list is endless!). And one of my favorite things about CO is the fact that they seem to always feature Pomeranians, which happen to be one of my favorite breeds of dogs.

I mean honestly, how can you not smile after seeing a face like this:

Read More...

Monday, July 14, 2008

[Feature] Five Skills Every Guy Should Have

Despite what women say, being a guy is a tough job. You need to be able to do, make, and know a lot of things in order to maintain your masculinity. After all, the minute a girl fixes your car for you, you are revoked of your man-license.

So to prevent any potential embarrassments, I've compiled a list of five skills every guy needs in order to be a real man. This by no means is a complete list, but it's definitely a good start.

So in order to be a man, every guy should know...

How to Tie a Tie

Since wearing a clip-on anything is automatically not cool, when it comes to ties, you are stuck with two choices. You can ask someone to do it for you and then never undo the knot (what I used to do -__-), or you can take a few minutes to learn yourself. Learning a knot or two is simple, and after some practice, it becomes fairly automatic.

When I learned I used a combination of diagrams from Tie-a-Tie.net and videos from metacafe.com and it really helped. Remember, practice makes perfect!

How to Play Poker
Taking other people's money is truly a gratifying and very manly. And the best way to do that is to play poker.

About.com has instructions on how to play poker. The game that everyone nowadays knows is Texas Hold'em. While that's all well and good, you'll be better off learning a few other games (7 Card Stud, Omaha, etc) to broaden your horizons.

And if you want to be the one taking the money, not the one losing it, you should practice for free at Party Poker and read a book or two on strategy. One of my favorite is Phil Hellmuth's Play Poker Like the Pros.


How to Fix a Car EmergencyNothing's worse than having a car emergency and not being able to do anything about it. The two most common car emergencies are having a dead battery (needing a jump-start) and getting a flat (replacing a tire).

If your car battery is dead, you'll know because your lights and your radios will be weak or won't work at all. That will suck. But, if you have a set a jumper cables and another car, you'll be up and running in just a few minutes. Youtube is full of videos on jump-starting cars. This is my favorite of the bunch. Don't forget: red to dead!

Fixing a flat tire takes a bit more work, but learning how to handle the situation will help you save face and save on expensive towing fees. eHow.com has a good guide on changing tires. If it helps, you can even print out their step-by-step guide.


How to Grill a SteakHaving good barbecue skills in general is an important feature in a man. Being able to grill a good steak, however, is the epitome of grill skills.

When it comes to grilling, meat temperature is key. If you get yourself a meat thermometer and read Howtogrillsteak.com, you'll always have a solid piece of meat.

By the way, please don't cook your steaks well-done, that makes the steak gods cry.


How to Enjoy Beer
Guys and alcohol go hand-in-hand. If you're in any social environment with other guys, beer seems to be around. If you don't like the taste of beer (like me), it kind of sucks.

Luckily, Wikihow.com has a pretty good article on different beers to try and how they should be enjoyed. Maybe you've been drinking Coor's Light all your life when what you really needed was a nice, dark Guinness.

If you still can't find something that fits your palette, then fake it 'til you make it. Beer is an acquired taste. Just keep nursing that bottle until you can chug it without making a stink face.


Follow a Sport
This is one area that I'm lacking in. Talking sports is probably one of the greatest ice breakers to have. Being able to answer the question, "How 'bout them Yankees?" can very easily get a conversation going.

To get yourself inundated on the ins and outs of a sport, Howstuffworks.com is a lifesaver. They explain even the most obvious details of sports like baseball, basketball, and football. After that, a lot of SportsCenter will make sure that the letters RBI and ERA actually mean something to you.

Read More...

Friday, July 11, 2008

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Forecast
Fri: 86°/67°, Partly sunny
Sat: 86°/68°, Lots of sunshine
Sun: 88°/71°, Partly sunny and warm

See
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (starring Ron Perlman, Selma Blair)

Journey to the Center of the Earth (starring Brendan Fraser)

Meet Dave (starring Eddie Murphy, Elizabeth Banks, Gabrielle Union)




Events

Luckily, the following cultural events will be commencing on Sunday, July 13th!

Bastille Day: This French-based holiday has everything from stage performances, crepes, and lawn bowling.
Dancing of the Giglio: This Italian-based holiday features a 40-tone, 80 foot statue of Giglio, calamari, pizza, calzones, and live music.

Read More...

City Review: Los Angeles

Los Angeles is actually short for El Pueblo De Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porcincula. Isn't that just precious? I was only in LA for about a week so I can only say so much about it.


Climate
It rains about 29 days a year in LA with the average temparature ranging from 50-77. The week I was there was a bit warmer than normal, but it was sunny everyday. The best thing LA has going for it is the lack of humidity. I'll take a dry 90 degrees over a humid 80 degrees anytime.

Climate Score: 95/100

Food
The West Coast is lucky enough to have In N Out Burgers, but In N Out is ultimately improved fast food. What LA excells at is cheap, good Korean and Mexican food. My first night in LA I had all you can eat Korean BBQ for $16. I ate more galbi and samgyeopsal than any man should ever eat. Mexican food in Los Angeles is significantly better than in the East Coast. One day, my friend Koo and I stumbled upon Sharky's Mexican Grill. Sharky's is Mexican fast food but it puts Taco Bell to shame. The burritos are bigger, meatier, and saucier. They also have a salsa bar in the middle of the store with a variety of salsas free of charge. Finally, LA also offered the best bubble tea I've ever had courtesy of Boba World. I'll be dreaming of their strawberry+pineapple smoothie everyday this summer.

Food Score: 90/100

Site Seeing
Los Angeles has awesome beaches (although I've recently heard that the Jersey shore actually ranks higher) but if you're expecting a lot of the city itself you'll be sadly disappointed. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is nothing more than a couple of blocks of 5 point stars etched on concrete. Trying to find your favorite entertainer is a waste of time. Los Angeles is also huge! 469 square miles, over 150 square miles larger than New York City. Like New York it is broken into many neighberhoods, each with their unique style. However, the socioeconomic status of each neighberhood is more pronounced in Los Angeles.

Site Seeing Score: 81/100
Culture
People in Los Angeles live to the stereotype of being very relaxed. I guess when the forecast is "perfect" everyday it's hard to get upset over things. They are genuinely friendly and not too friendly to the point where it's annoying. Another plus is that the city is very multi-ethnic. Anyone who has stayed in the boondocks of the South and the Midwest can appreciate this (No offense Wildwood, Georgia). However, I do get the feeling that they can be pretty distant. Also they want to save the environment one advertisement at a time.
Culture Score: 81/100

I can totally see myself living in Los Angeles. The weather and the food alone are good enough to keep me there for at least a year or two. The people maybe a little less passionate about things than I would like them to be, but I'm sure I could learn to love the lifestyle.
Overall Score: 87

Read More...

Tips of the Day

For many of us recent grads, credit cards are mysterious, sometimes good, sometimes evil, pieces of plastic.

The Consumerist
recently posted up a great article on "10 Things You Might Not Know About Your Credit Card." Some interesting points include the fact that a retailer can make you sign the back of your credit card (even if you wrote "check ID" on the back) or else not accept it at all.

My favorite point is something I had always heard, but never confirmed, regarding minimum credit card charges:


Merchants Cannot Require A Minimum Transaction Amount
It's a violation of the credit card company's merchant agreement to refuse a transaction because it is below the "minumum."

Hope this clears up any questions you had about your Visa!

Read More...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why So Serious?


The Dark Knight, the latest installment in the Batman series, doesn't open until next Friday, but already many theaters across the country are reporting sold out midnight screenings for the 18th. So much so that these theaters are adding screenings at 3am, and even 6am to fulfill the demand. Holy Batman, that's like really early to go watch a movie. Movie ticket site Fandango.com is reporting over 1,500 wee-hours showings, even at theaters that usually do not open their doors that late/early (depending on how you look at time). Midnight showings are not a new thing, but they're typically reserved for HUGE blockbuster events, such as an installment of Star Wars or something.

The Dark Knight is a sorta sequel to Batman Begins, which opened at a solid $49 million in June 2005. That's considered a decent opening, but nothing spectacular, and nowhere near the building buzz of the new film. So then what is causing this frenzy? Two words: Heath Ledger. The young actor's death in January, combined with talks of a supposedly brilliant, posthumous Oscar-worthy performance, have driven much of the fan interest. Would there be the same amount of intense demand if he was still alive? Honestly, probably not. But it is what it is, and I know a fair amount of you are willing to stay up that late to be one of the first people to watch the film. You're probably not going to be disappointed though, The Dark Knight so far has a 100% rating on Rottentomatoes.com.

Read More...