Friday, August 29, 2008

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Forecast
Fri: 78°/64°, Sunny

Sat: 81°/63°, Mostly sunny
Sun: 85°/61°, AM clouds/PM sun

See
Hamlet 2 (starring Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, David Arquette, Amy Poehler, Elisabeth Sue)

.. or go see Tropic Thunder?








Events
In case you didn't know: Restaurant Week Summer 2008 has been extended through Labor Day. So if you thought you missed out on your Restaurant Week dining experience, make some reservations ASAP!

Enjoy Labor Day: If going out for a meal isn't your thing, enjoy your three-day weekend before summer ends by relaxing. A lot of tv execs have planned tv show marathons for the weekend, or you can always go out to catch a movie playing in theaters (or at a Warwick drive-in theater, the closest drive-in theater to Northern Jersey). Relax by the pool, or get the grill going, folks!*

*The Life in Boxes Editors will be taking a personal holiday on Monday, but we'll resume our posting duties back on Tuesday!

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Inspiring Video of the Day


Ira Glass, of This American Life fame, was featured on a show, and he made some very true and inspiring comments about how to improve on creative work.

The general gist of it is that, in the beginning, the creative work you produce is going to suck. He even proves it by playing an awkward clip of some of his earlier reporting. He goes on to say that in order to improve, you just constantly have to practice, practice, practice.

Anyone who is a fan of Ira Glass (like myself) can appreciate hearing something like this from someone as talented as him. And even though he is talking about story-telling, this advice can apply to anything creative you do, whether it be drawing, singing, or even blogging. :x

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

How many of me are there?

Ever wonder, short of googling your name, just how many people out there have your exact name? That's where HowManyofMe.com comes in. Just type in your first and last name, and see how many people in the US have your name. Of course, it's based on statistics from the US Census Bureau, so the number probably isn't as accurate as it could be. But it's fun to see, nonetheless.


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are
51
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

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These Four Things I Know Are True...

The Shake Shack in Madison Square Park in New York City makes the best burger around. Every time I go I'm reminded of how good this place is. Get a Double Stack which is portobello mushroom melted with cheeses (aka 'Shroom Burger) stacked above a cheeseburger with Shack sauce. It is just as good if not better than In N Out.

Barack Obama will deliver a rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention tonight. Like him or not he is just so dang good at talking in front of a large crowd. Coverage of the DNC begins at 6 on CNN. It will last longer than you wish.

Eli Manning will throw for 30 TDs this year. 30! His confidence is sky high, and I think his wide receiving personnel will be better this year. Mario Manningway and Steve Smith are going to surprise some of ya'll.

It is spelled weird not wierd. I before e except after c is a terrible rule.

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Rock Out with Your Cross Out!


So going along with being hip and relevant with today's gaming youth, Christian rockers can rejoice in Guitar Praise, a Mac/PC game that's pretty much like .. you guessed it .. Guitar Hero!

The song list includes many hits by groups such as Caedman's Call, Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Darrel Evans, dc Talk, Jars of Clay, Newsboys, and the somewhat mainstream Relient K. And remember, when you are having trouble picking out the next song to jam to, keep in mind: Which Would Jesus Do?

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Commercial of the Day: Non blinking world record

I was channel surfing the other night when I came across TBS's World's Funniest Commercials, and I saw this gem of a commercial from Japan. Simply put, it's clever and creative. And it makes sense for the actual product, unlike this very disturbing Orangina commercial Julia linked me to yesterday. Shudder. Anyways, the commercial below restores my faith in creative and engaging advertising. It's 2 minutes long, but watch to the end!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Must List for August 26th, 2008

I sometimes have questionable taste, but I do like loudly and proudly declaring the things I like, and hoping that it catches on with people. So, here are 5 things I'm into this week. (btw, I copied this idea from Entertainment Weekly, as it is one of my favorite features from them.)

1) OMG, Gossip Girl. It took me 3 months, but I FINALLY watched the first season finale, which aired back in May. So addicting, I don't know why I waited so long. The second season premiere is next week, Sept 1, at 8PM on the CW. You can watch the first 3 minutes of the premiere here.

2) Duffy's Warwick Avenue. The song, the video, all of it. I was first introduced to the song when I happened to catch it on VH1 in the morning, and it's a really simple video of her sitting in the back of a taxi, crying as she is lip-synching the song. But the simplicity of it, combined with Duffy's real emotions (I mean, she's crying and you know she's not an actor) is really moving. So is the song.

3) The boys of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. Yes, the magical movie/books are about the girls, but in the movie, all of their love interests are HOT. Ladies, say hello to Leonardo Nam (my favorite), Jesse Williams, Michael Rady, and Tom Wisdom. Yeah, you're welcome.

4) New York, I Love You. The trailer for the movie hit the web this week, and I LOVE it. What is not to like about Natalie Portman, Shia LeBeouf, Olivia Thirlby, Rachel Bilson and co, in an ode to the city that never sleeps? This is a take off on one of my favorite movies, Paris Je t'aime, a series of vignettes on the city of lights. Rumors have it that Tokyo is the next city to get the special treatment.

5) Rockband. Yeah, ok so like it's been out for awhile but I don't get to play it all that often, which is why when I do, I get obsessed. But, I have to say, I'm pretty good at the vocals (for the songs I know, anyway), and my song of choice is Yeah Yeah Yeah's Maps. I'm currently working towards getting a 100% on the hard/expert level. Our band is called Herpee Slurpee, coming to a city near you.

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Awkward Moment of the Day

First Grader: Teacher Jorge, guess what. I might be moving to Korea soon.

Me: You are? Why?

First Grader: Because my daddy doesn't love my mommy and he wants to take our house away.
My mommy wants to go very far away from him.

Second Grader: Yea! My dad hates my mom, too. They still live with each other, but they never talk.

Me: Uhh...this chicken tastes good.

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FOX News Gets Pwned!



Man, I can actually say that I liked one of the reports done by Fox News now.

I love how they make it seem like it's a CRAZY, out-of-control protest and that the reporter is actually in real danger.

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Threadless Sale!

Threadless is having a sale where all their shirts, which normally cost up to $20, are on sale for only $12. What's more, their hoodies are down from $38 to $30.

For those of you who don't know, Threadless.com is an online store that has users submit shirt designs. If a shirt gets enough votes, it'll get printed for a limited time. Not only is it a cool idea, but they have pretty awesome designs available.

Now is a great time to buy that shirt you've been eyeing. But you should hurry, because I'm not sure how long the sale is going to last!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Douche Bag of the Day: Jack Cafferty

Oh, Jack Cafferty. You had me at the WB11 News at 10, when I usually tuned into your local news and such, after a riveting episode of Dawson's Creek. And when you made the big move to CNN? I was out celebrating and tried to tune into CNN's American Morning. But now .. now, I think I might've lost some respect for you.

Yeah, you know what I'm talking about: your little commentary on the Democratic National Convention in terms of the Clintons is shameful to read:

The Beverly Hillary-billies come to Denver. If you look closely this week, you might catch a glimpse of Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in between appearances by the Clintons. Hillary Clinton is doing her dead-level best to take title to Obama's moment in the sun. She lost. He won. She and her family will be everywhere...And as an enticement to cough up some bucks, Bill Clinton sent an e-mail to potential contributors promising a memorable week with his wife. (Insert your own joke here) He said, "You'll get to see Hillary speak on Tuesday and Barack Obama -- the next president of the United States -- on Thursday. And I hear Hillary and you will have a chat -- I'll make sure I stop by." Makes you want to borrow money against your house, doesn't it? How gross.
Um, first off, what the eff? Whatever happened to political unity? Seriously, at a crucial time when the Democrats need to pull together and unite to win the White House, are you seriously going to be making fun of the Clintons?

And you, sir, seem to have quite a history when it comes to sounding "gross." Saying that China was run by "a bunch of goons and thugs." Way to be tasteless.

I mean, as long as you don't mind sounding like a complete jerk, then please, carry on.

Douche bag.

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DNC Drinking Game!

I don't really drink, but I think drinking games are hilarious. The Democratic National Convention is in full swing in Denver, and let's see...


Take a shot everytime:

- Barack Obama says the words "hope" or "change" in his speech and/or in interviews.
Game over, you're dunzo. ;)

I kid, I kid. Congrats to Obama for being the official Democratic nominee. I may not be a huge fan, but to me he is the country's biggest catalyst for change (take a shot!!). While I wasn't expecting him to really pick Hillary as his VP, I certainly didn't expect him to pick Joe Biden- bold moves! I remember quite clearly telling our apparently psychic fellow-blogger the night before the announcement, "Yuri, don't be stupid, there is NO way an Obama-Biden ticket is happening! That's ludicrous!" (Sorry, Yuri.) Verrry interesting. Go make history now, boys.

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Where to Buy Cheap Textbooks

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with some friends who had graduated in May about how they are sad that they aren't going back to school. Jorge and I agreed that we don't actually miss going to school, we just miss the idea of going back to school. Because, in reality, college was annoying, difficult, and expensive.

One of the most difficult and most annoying aspects of college was buying textbooks. Or, as I like to call it, spending $600 on overpriced pieces of paper that will hardly be used.

I was always too lazy to ditch the convenience of the college bookstore in order to save money. But if you're looking to get textbooks on the cheap, Lifehacker has a good poll asking their readers for the best places to find deals on textbooks.

So far, it seems like the big winners are Half.com, Bigwords.com, Bookfinder.com, and Addall.com. Check out the rest of the comments to find more suggestions.

So if you're still in college and need to buy textbooks, online is definitely the way to go. And to those that still feel that they miss school, look at your bank account and be glad you don't have to buy a single soft-cover book for $100.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

[Feature] An Experiment: Moving in with Roommates

A few months ago, I wrote a post about the idea of moving out, followed up by a post about what to do in order to prepare for the big move.

Initially, yours truly had written those posts in hopes of actually following through with it, but ended up not doing so, thanks to Asian parents and their forever suffocating tentacles, as well as thinking realistically (student loans, bills, etc.). Sigh. C'est la vie.

Anyway, as an investigative reporter, I ran away from home for the past 2 weeks in order to get a "real feel" for living outside of home. With no communication to the family, I was able to tap into a pseudo trial run of living away from home, all while living with 8 roommates.

First off, no matter what anyone ever says to you, literally living away from home is the best thing ever (well, especially after living away at school for four years, only to taste freedom and then return back home to your parents' rules). This can even apply to young-faced college freshmen who are preparing for their first year away from home, after 18 years of living under your parents' roof. I mean, as a young adult evolving into a full-fledged adult, it's kind of hard to be taken seriously when your mother still yells at you for not taking care of something, or if your daily life revolves around what time your parents expect you to be home by on a Tuesday night, because now, instead of being a "school day," your parents want you home because you have work the next day, as if you totally forgot about that.

With that said, initially, being able to relax at a house without worrying about chores to do before the parents getting home was awesome. My daily life at home involved me coming home straight after work to make sure that the sink wasn't full of dirty dishes, to make sure that any mess that either my younger brother or older sister made in the house was cleaned, and to throw in a load of laundry. Not really an enthralling thing to do, especially after a stressful day of work. And especially if it's not your own place. In order to be independent, you need to have your own space and just learn to do your own thing.

Anyway, living with roommates (4 boys, 3 dogs, and 1 girl) has amounted to an interesting experience. It really does feel like living at the dorms again .. but you know, replace the "going to class" with work, and part of the living situation is scolding the dogs for digging through the garbage, as well as the massive accumulation of dishes (hey, 6 busy people in one house amounts to a lot of dirty dishes!).

Besides dealing with cleaning duties and just making sure not to get in someone's way or causing a ruckus when people are trying to get some rest, living with roommates hasn't been that bad of an experience. And trust me, I've had my fair share of roommate horror stories: like the time in freshman year when my random roommate would get into HUGE love/hate fights with her boyfriend, to the point I would have to leave the room because of the awkwardness, or when I accidentally found her HUGE stash of condoms. Or like that time during junior year when my roommate came home piss-drunk and starting having sex while a friend and I were still in the room .. oh, college.

Anyway, after living away for 2 weeks, I can't say that I've missed living at home. Just the idea of going home after work without doing chores or worrying about anyone else but myself has been awesome. My current roommates are all amiable and fun to be with, and we have yet to step on each other's toes (knock on wood). But as great as this trial run has been, it's important to note a few things before you all decide to go out, find some roomies, and live up an independent life:

1. Make sure you are going to live with roommates you would be comfortable living with. Sure, you can get along with someone when you're all hanging out, but living with someone is on completely different grounds. You are going to see a lot of each other, whether it be you looking all grimey, or you living grimey. Just make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. Luckily, my temporary roommates are pretty nifty people.

2. Pets might be a problem. I love dogs, and plan to get one or some when I officially move out. But after living with 3 of them, I've realized that I may be somewhat allergic to them. Make sure to have a talk with your potential roommate about pets and what you can do to compromise such a situation.

3. Compromise. You are not going to find the most compatible roommate ever. You cannot expect your roommate(s) to have the same living habits as you. Instead, you need to work with what you have, and hope that your good habits will rub off on others (and vice versa).

Sure, living out of home and with a few roommates might seem like living at a college dorm, but there are some real issues you need to work around, especially as an adult. 'Cause unlike college, there aren't any RA's to help settle differences with roommates, and you wouldn't be looking forward to the weekend to go back to a comfortable home, because baby, you are home.

So think twice about moving out and moving in with roommates. It can be as awesome as my two week experience, or it could be like your horrible freshman year dorming experience (but you'll be stuck with a one year leaase, and you can't make an appeal to the dean to switch roommates).

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Friday, August 22, 2008

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Forecast
Fri: 84°/64°, Sunny

Sat: 83°/67°, Mostly sunny
Sun: 86°/70°, AM clouds/PM sun

See

The Rocker (starring: Rainn Wilson, Christina Applegate, Teddy Geiger)
The House Bunny (starring: Anna Faris, Colin Hanks)
Death Race (starring: Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Tyrese Gibson)

Events
The 2008 FringeNYC will feature more than 200 companies from around the world performing 1300 shows in 20+ venues all over New York City, from now through Sunday. Performances are from Noon to Midnight, tickets are $15 for general admission to any performance. Check website for schedules and list of performances.

Central Park Film Festival
All screenings are FREE and start at 8:00 pm (rain or shine). Gates open at 6:00 pm. Enter the Park at Fifth Avenue and 69th Street for Rumsey Playfield.
Fri: Moonstruck (1987), Sat: August Rush (2007)


One of Jen's favorite events of the year, the Barneys Warehouse Sale is on through September 1st at Barney's Co-op (@ 255 W. 17th St, b/w 7th & 8th Aves) What is not to like about savings of 50% to 75% on designer clothing, shoes, and accessories for men and women?

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Song of the Day


BLUEPRINT 3 from kwest on Vimeo.

During the Glow in the Dark tour @ Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago, Kanye had a big surprise at the end of the show where Jay-Z got on stage and did a song that's going to be on his next album.

The song is "Jockin' Jay-Z", which is produced by Kanye and going to be in Jay-z's Blueprint 3 album.

When I was at the show, you couldn't hear them rap at all because everyone was too busy screaming (including me :x), so Kanye posted up the video on his blog. Totally awesome.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Douchebag Award

It’s the same old same old, you’re losing takeoff at the big heights. (shrugs)
Whaddaya gonna do? (shrugs, looks away) Gotta learn to keep takeoff. You got
caught at that meat grinder. I did not - and I told 10 people - I didn’t wanna
be caught in a meat grinder between 65 and 80. You had to, though. You weren’t
on, your warmup didn’t go well. You were at 55. You got caught up in that meat
grinder. Whaddaya gonna do? (shrugs, looks away) Whaddaya gonna do? (shrugs,
looks away) Didn’t have the legs. Her legs are fresh. Hey, it’s a silver medal.
Not bad for someone that’s been pole vaulting for four years. (looks down at his
blackberry)


These are the words coach Rick Suhr had for Jenn Stuczynski after she won the silver medal for pole vaulting. Stuczynski lost to the best pole vaulter ever and she gets a "not bad" from her coach. Bravo, Mr. Suhr. You have clearly earned the gold medal for douchebaggery. Truly an inspiration for other douchebags sure to follow in your footsteps.

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Current Obsession: How I Met Your Mother


I LOVE The Office. I LOVE 30 Rock. I LOVE Scrubs. And just when it seemed like my heart had no more room for television love, I was introduced to How I Met Your Mother.

I had heard of HIMYM, mainly due to all that buzz about Britney Spears making a guest appearance on the show. Yawn. Sorry, but even that didn't get me to see the show. But then, when fellow Life in Boxes editor Jen told me that I was missing out BIG TIME, I thought, eh, my favorite shows aren't going to be on for another month, so might as well see what all this hooplah is about.

Let's just say that it'll will blow your mind hole.

(Wait, did i over-hype it for you now? Damnit, I always seem to do that).

Anyway, for all those who have been [also] living under a rock, How I Met Your Mother is a situation comedy about 5 late 20's/early 30's friends living in New York City. Hm, sounds a bit familiar, a la Friends, no? Yeah .. but not really. First off, it airs on CBS, which besides CSI and a bunch of reality shows, never really saw the time of day on my television set.

But yeah, the show is basically narrated by future Ted (voiced by everyone's favorite family man, Bob Saget - cough), who is telling his children the [loooooong] story about how he met their mother. A pretty interesting technique in television, and even in season 3, it hasn't got old for me yet.

The show is centered around Ted (upcoming architect), his college bff [married] couple Marshall (lawyer-to-be) and Lily (kindergarten teacher), Barney (who we have yet to find out what he does), and Robin (news reporter). We see their bouts in and out of love, and dealing with life..transitioning from post-college young adults to adult life, in terms of careers and love. And of course, there's a bunch of sillies to it, mainly thanks to Barney (played by Neil Patrick Harris).

You come to love the characters. And at some points, some of the characters may annoy you (currently, Lily is annoying the beejebus out of me, and I'm still not sure how I feel about Ted). But in some way or the other, you can sort of relate to the characters, who unlike the Friends characters, seem to be more believable and relate-able.

As for my favorite character? Hands-down, Marshall (played by Jason Segel) aka Marshmallow. I cannot wait to see how the slap bet ends.

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Social Networking Site of the Day: Hoff Space


Move over Facebook, pack your bags MySpace. The newest and brightest star on the social networking site landscape is... the David Hasselhoff Social Network. Yes, we are talking about THE Hoff of Knight Rider and Baywatch, who went and created a social networking site, also known as HoffSpace. I couldn't even make this stuff up if I wanted to, folks. To hear him explain it:

"In my travels round the world I have always been surprised that no matter where I go people recognize and know me, from Europe, Australia and India to the Philippines and the Zulu Nation in South Africa. This got me thinking... I realized that while two people from two entirely different countries and
backgrounds may seem to have nothing in common, the only thing they might have in common is me... So I decided to start a network where people from across the world might come together and get a conversation started over me. Where it will lead, I don't know but the world would be a better place if everyone talked a little more to each other... "

Genius, brilliant, crazy? God yes. It's official launch was yesterday, and he already has 13,000 members connecting over him. Basically, you sign up, you get access to videos and photos of the Hoff that no one else gets to see, all the while connecting with other Hoff fans and getting to upload/view photos and videos from other members. I have no more words.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Application Of The Day

Last night as I was watching TV I actually checked out some of the 190 application invitations I have on Facebook. Most of these are completely useless. Irish rugby invitation, wtf mate? Winnie the Pooh request, what does that mean? Make a baby request, go onnnnnnnnn. I clicked on one of these apps for a game called Word Challenge by Playfish and I was hooked for the next two hours. Word Challenge gives you six letters and your goal is to try to make as many words with those 6 letters as you can. It also compares you with your friends and gives your professional verbal equivalent. As of right now I have the vocabulary of a librarian. I want to break into the top 4 of my friends but making top two seems uber difficult because I suspect the cheat!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

These Are Some Amazing Fencing Photos

(Photo by Alexander Hassenstein)

I love photography. And I have been caught up in all this Olympics-mania. So you can imagine how happy I am to post these amazing pictures of the Women's fencing event taken by photographers from various news wires.

I mean, they are just awe-inspiring photographs. They perfectly capture the movements and emotions that make up the sport. Click here for the rest of the set or read more to check out the rest of my favorites and to see the fencers' cool Daft Punk-like helmets!

(Photo by David Josek)

(Photo by Philippe Desmazes)

(Photo by Adrian Dennis)

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While you were sleeping... OLYMPICS edition, Pt. 3

Phelps gives NBC best ratings
Oh, did you hear? Phelps won his 8th gold medal on Saturday night, becoming the greatest Olympian ever. You know who's the most happy about that? NBC. 31.1 million tuned in on Saturday night, giving the network its best Saturday night ratings in 18 years, and in the half hour the Americans were swimming, as many as 39.9 million were tuned in. This has been the most viewed Summer Olympics in years, helping to justify the $894 million NBC Universal paid for the American television rights. The numbers have plummeted some this second week, with the more popular events- swimming (esp with Phelps) and gymnastics out of the way, but I think it's safe to say NBC will retain the chance for these Games to be the most watched Olympics ever.

Phelps rolling in endorsements
I promise to stop talking about Phelps after this one! Prior to the games, he was making around $5 million/year. After his record breaking run at these Olympics, experts are predicting anywhere from $30-50 million/year. Ummm.... hello, Michael Phelps! My number is 201-555... ;) I may be a little bit late on that boat, there are rumors of his supposed love life floating around the internets already.

Liu Xiang pulls out of the Olympics
Where as you have victorious stories like Phelps's, the Olympics also spell heartbreak for the hundreds of athletes who don't get to stand on a podium. Such is the case with Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang, who in China, is the equivalent of Phelps here. He became the first gold-medalist for China in track and field in Athens 4 years ago, and since then, he's become a national hero of epic proportions- endorsements, billboards, magazine covers. The entire country had been waiting for his hurdle race, as he was to defend his title in his home country. A flared tendon combined with a right hamstring injury, which was not helped by a false start during the race, forced him to walk off the field on Sunday, leaving 91,000 fans stunned, as well as the entire country crushed. I can just imagine how badly he wanted to finish the race, and the kind of pressure he must have been under to deliver, despite his body betraying him. Sad sad sad.

Shawn Johnson finally wins gold
The 16-year old World Champion finally won gold in the balance beams, the last gymnastics event, after racking up 3 silvers at these Games. A heavy favorite to win the all-around, she finished second to teammate Nastia Liukin, before also being edged for gold on the floor exercises as well as in the team competition. I think she's so cute and I was rooting for her, so I'm glad she finally got a gold.

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On Betas...

Dear Life in Boxes Readers,

You might have noticed that about a week ago, we changed our blog's layout. We decided to get away from the generic Blogspot template and try something new.

We're still in the process of working out some kinks, and who knows, we might even end up throwing this design out and starting fresh again.

Nonetheless, Life in Boxes is officially in beta mode.

We hope that you'll bear with us and our beta format for the time being, and maybe even give us some design input! (Email your thoughts and suggestions to us at lifeinboxes@gmail.com)

And as always, thanks for reading our blog!


Sincerely,
Life in Boxes editors

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Condom, Condom Ringtone

In order to promote safe sex and awareness of HIV/Aids, a cellphone ringtone that features an a cappella chanting "Condom, condom" has been launched:

The a cappella ring tone features a professional singer chanting the word condom more than 50 times, a playful approach that public health activists hope will spark discussion and make condoms more socially acceptable. "We've made a conscious effort to move the concept of the condom away from negative association, like HIV and sex work," said Yvonne MacPherson, country director of BBC World Service Trust India. "Condoms are actually health products and if you have a condom and you use it, you are seen to be smart and responsible."...The BBC group, which is funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, hopes the condom ring tone can make people in India more comfortable with safe sex issues.(timesofindia.com)

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TV News of the Day

Sad news all around the world: Jemaine Clement, one half of the Flight of the Conchords duo, is no longer single and ready to mingle. Well, he wasn't really "single" to begin with, but in either case, Jemaine married his long-time girlfriend, Wellington actress and theatre director Miranda Manasiadisin. They were married at a LA registry office, with just a handful of people there to witness the event, including Bret McKenzie.

In other tv news, Craig Robinson, better known as Darryl from The Office, is scheduled to appear in court on August 21st, due to his June 29th arrest for possession of MDMA (ecstasy, methamphetamine). Sigh. I can only imagine what kind of nervous, awkward jokes Michael Scott would make to Darryl about this.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

[Feature] Wal-Mart TV

I love grocery stores and large-scale chain stores. There's really no explanation for it, but something about the bright lights and shiny packaged products is so appealing to me, as well as the fact that I never leave one without buying something. My favorite store ever is Target, where I go maybe once every 2 weeks and end up spending an average of $40 on things I need and don't need. Target may be my favorite store, but I am utterly fascinated by the gigantor conglomerate Wal-Mart, the biggest retail chain in the history of retail chains. Ok, I don't know if that's an actual fact, but the company is the world's largest public corporation. I would say Wal-Mart makes enough, employs enough, and does enough (good and bad) to be a country of its own.

Wal-Mart was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, a businessman and entrepreneur, who also founded Sam's Club. Within 5 years of its open, Wal-Mart was bringing in a profit of $12.6 million in sales. Um, that's a lot of money now, imagine the value of it in 1968. Now with stores across the country and the world, Wal-Mart brings in over $300 billion in sales annually. In the US alone, their customer base is 100 million weekly, which is like a third of the US's population. See what I mean by Wal-Mart being a country of its own?

Something I read about recently is also another reason why Wal-Mart fascinates me. Have you ever been to a supermarket or a Borders or something and seen TV screens airing in-store advertising, entertainment clips, things to buy, etc? I never really pay attention to those things, but in-store tv networks are interesting waves of the future, in regards to how things are marketed and advertised to consumers.

So it's not surprising that the Wal-Mart in-store TV network is the country's biggest and most sophisticated. About 3,100 out of 4,022 Wal-Mart stores carry Wal-Mart TV, which means that it has about 130 million viewers every 4 weeks. That number makes it the 5th largest television network in the US after NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX. Isn't that crazy??? And in addition to the money Wal-Mart makes selling stuff annually, you can add another $100 million to that, in the ad revenue they generate from selling spots on Wal-Mart TV to advertisers.

What does that matter to you? Well, later this year, Wal-Mart is rolling out their second generation network, which means they're really going to try hard to get your attention, and influence what you buy. They plan on building TVs closer to eye level as well as installing them at the ends of aisles, at checkouts, and even among shelves. So if you've never really paid attention to those in-store TVs before, you will now.

They'll also create special packages for advertisers. Say you're Dole and you want to sell bananas. Why, the TV in the produce section will pretty much point consumers to where they are, and that they should be buying the Dole brand. In the CD section? You might catch an ad for the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, complete with a display right next to the TV with CDs/DVDs/products from the nominees. Genius or annoying? How about both? We live in an age where consumers are getting smarter and more perceptive. Advertisers have to keep developing new ways to get our attention and keep it, without getting us annoyed. That's probably the hardest thing to do, but its interesting to see what advertisers come up with to try to reach that goal.

So the next time you're at a Wal-Mart, pay attention to what's going on around you. And if you walk out with items you didn't intend to buy before you entered the store, well, you've just made the-powers-to-be very happy.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Forecast
Fri: 78°/66°, Scattered Thunderstorms
Sat: 82°/64°, Scattered Thunderstorms
Sun: 85°/67°, Mostly Sunny

See

Tropic Thunder (starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey)


Vicki Christina Barcelona (starring Scarlett Johanson, Penelope Cruz, Rebeca Hall, Javier Bardem)


Mo'lympics (starring Michael Phelps, Nastia Liukin, Gold, Silver, Bronze)



Events
Summer is almost over folks. Don't stay home! Play tennis, bowl, read Life In Boxes...at a WiFi friendly location :) Enjoy a few more summer festivals while you have the chance.
Summer Seaport Festival
Lexington Avenue Summerfest

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Music Video of the Day


Kanye West "Champion Video" Official Directed by NEON from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

I still am on a high from going to the Glow in the Dark tour (scratch one off of my 30 things to do list!), which means I have Kanye fever.

Anyway, Kanye recently posted up his latest music video from his Graduation album for the song Champion. It's very fitting, since the Olympics have been on TV nonstop. And also, the fact that it's puppets makes it funny and cool.

Really though, what other rapper would have a music with a puppet version of themselves? Kanye West ftw!

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What the Georgia?

As I've been watching the olympics, I occasionally hear snippets about the conflict in Georgia (The country that is. Your peaches are in safe hands. HA!) So what is going on in Georgia? The story goes a little something like this...

"There are two ethnic groups that claim portions of what is now the Republic of Georgia, the Ossetians and the Abkhazians. Like the Georgians, both groups hail from the Caucasus Mountains at the eastern end of the Black Sea. When the Soviets annexed Georgia after the Russian Revolution, they created autonomous regions in Georgia for each of these groups, and those are the regions that are in dispute today."
NPR

And it continues that....
Many factors are involved in the present conflict but the central one is straightforward: the majority of the Ossetes living south of the main Caucasus range in Georgia wish to unite with the Ossetes living to the north, in an autonomous republic of the Russian Federation; and the Georgians, regarding South Ossetia as both a legal and an historic part of their national territory, refuse to accept this.
UK Times

The current fighting began when...
"It began as a series of sniper-fire incidents and clashes between the South Ossetian militia and Georgian army troops during the first week in August. By Aug. 7, Georgian President Saakashvili was charging that the South Ossetians were using heavy weapons that had been brought into the area in violation of the cease-fire. Civilians began to flee Tskhinvali, the town that serves as South Ossetia's capital. On Aug. 8, Saakashvili ordered Georgian troops to capture the city."
NPR

Sigh...as long as Luda is ok...

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

While you were sleeping... OLYMPICS edition, Pt. 2

Michael Phelps, the winningest Olympian everrrr
He won his fifth gold medal in Beijing, which puts him at an 11 career gold medals, and well on his way to: a) tying Mark Spitz for the most gold won in a single Olympic game (the record is 7) and b) attempting to win gold in every single event he's in, which would be 8, and c) becoming the most winningest Olympian EVER. Three more to go- a race today, Fri, and Sat. Oh, and he's also been breaking world records in every single one of those events, despite things like his goggles malfunctioning during his first race on Tuesday.

The Chinese women's gymnastics team win the gold
The US women's team settles for a silver after a disappointing night on Tuesday. The win for the Chinese is under a cloud of suspicion though, with many questioning the legitimacy of the women's age. 16 is the minimum age to be able to compete at the Olympics in gymnastics; most of the girls on the Chinese team, all weighing under 100 lbs and being under 5 ft, look like little girls. Their passports were issued by the Chinese government, who has stated repeatedly in the past of their intent to win win win at these games, so.... Not to take anything away from their win though, they were amazing.

The Spanish basketball teams are douchebags
Members of the Spanish men's and women's basketball team are finally apologizing for an advertisement in which they are photographed making Asian-caricature faces, you know the pulling of the eyes to make them 'slanty.' Real nice, folks. Way to piss off not only your gracious hosts, but like 60% of the world human population. Who still does this besides little 6 year olds who don't know any better? Oh, and the team's coach's declined to apologize for the incident saying that it was meant to be a joke- "All of the Spanish people are close to the Chinese people mentally," he said. "We have a very good relationship." What does it mean to be close mentally? Yeah, I couldn't figure it out either.

No medal for Roger Federer
US tennis player James Blake ended favorite Roger Federer's bid for his first Olympic singles medal in the quarterfinals. Kinda stunning, considering in their previous eight matches, Blake had only won a single set (NOT game). Sorry hardcore tennis fans, this means no Federer-Nadal match at the finals on Sunday that tennis fans had been hoping for. Blake is also the only US male left in the games.

Random Olympic Facts and Figures
6: Consecutive archery gold medals for the South Korean women's team.
17: Number of events Michael Phelps plans to swim in nine days.
204: Nations competing at the Beijing Games.

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How I Was Able to Buy the Wii Fit

Can you believe that even though the Wii Fit was released in May, it is still near impossible to find one in stores today? I learned this the hard way as I tried to pick one up as a gift. Instead of paying the hugely inflated prices found on eBay, I decided to use my tech-savvy to buy one for retail price. All it took was a few websites, a program, and patience. After about two weeks of waiting, I was finally able to get a Wii Fit from a retailer, not a reseller. Here's how I did it:

WiiTracker.com

This site was originally set up to help people find out when Wii's came in-stock online, but has branched off into tracking other products like the Wii Fit. Wiitracker works by automatically checks a number of retail sites (Amazon.com, Bestbuy.com, and Gamestop.com, to name a few) every couple of hours to see if the Fit is in stock. If you sign up to ZapTXT through their site, then every time WiiTracker.com finds a Fit in stock, they'll automatically text message you. You have to be quick though, usually there are so few Fits in stock that it'll be sold out in less than 10 minutes!


NowInStock.net
NowInStock.net is basically the same thing as WiiTracker. The only difference is that they track some stores that WiiTracker doesn't (and vice-versa). But it's still worth using NowInStock and their alert system because, well, it's better to be safe than sorry. Oh, and tip: since NowInStock uses emails to alert when the Fit comes in stock, it's best to put in your cell phone's email address. For Verizon Wireless users, the default is @vtext.com.

Amazon Watcher
The last thing I used was a nifty program called Amazon Watcher (available for PCs and Macs). Amazon Watcher checks Amazon.com every couple of seconds to see if the product you're looking for is in stock. What makes it extra special is that if you provide your login details, it'll automatically buy the product when it comes in stock. The only downside is that for big-ticket items like the Wii and the Wii Fit, you need to pay $25 for a license to activate the automatic-buying feature in the program. Kind of a bummer, but still a cool program.

As I said before, it took me about two weeks to finally get a Fit, and I settled for the $150 package, which came with a bunch of accessories.

I hope this guide helps. Happy Wii Fit hunting!

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Guess Who?

Who are these hippies?

He won a Rhodes Scholarship to University College, Oxford where he studied Government. While at Oxford he participated in Vietnam War protests, including organizing an October 1969 Moratorium event. In later life he admitted to smoking cannabis at the university, but claimed that he "never inhaled." (from wikipedia)

She served as president of the Wellesley Young Republicans; with this Rockefeller Republican-oriented group, she supported the elections of John Lindsay and Edward Brooke. She later stepped down from this position, as her views changed regarding the American Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. (from wikipedia)


Yup, it's Bill and Hillary Clinton!
(hope you didn't hover your mouse over the wiki links, or click on them, you cheater!)

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Corporate Good Deed of the Day: AMEX's Members Project

Your ideas. Your decision. Our money.

That is the tagline of American Express's Members Project, which lets its members (and non-members) vote for a project near and dear to their heart, and at the end of it all, the winning project gets $1.5 million funding. Right now you can choose from 478 projects in Arts & Culture, Community Development, Education, Environment & Wildlife, and Health. The top 25 vote-getting projects move onto Round 2 after 9/09, the 5 finalists are announced on 9/30 for Round 3, and 10/14 is when AMEX awards the top prize . It's a pretty cool thing.


Here's my plug while I'm at it; my vote is going to something that I work on everyday at work. Sesame Workshop is bringing back The Electric Company in January, aimed at helping to develop children's reading skills using media and pop culture. Bridging the Literacy Gap for Millions of Kids is the name of the Workshop's project, and currently votes have put it in the top 10. Through The Electric Company we're hoping to address the literacy crisis the US faces: 58% percent of Caucasian, 83% of Hispanic and 86% of African-American children cannot read at grade level. And of course, to do that, we need funding, through AMEX (hopefully) and lots of other corporate sponsors. Whether this particular project excites you or not, there must be something among the hundreds of projects that tugs at your heartstrings. Help AMEX help the cause you support, and you don't even need to open your wallet. Sounds pretty good to me.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Why I HEART Dogs: Reason # 107

No matter how down I am, nothing else can cheer me up better than seeing a puppeh. Something about dogs just makes me relax and smile .. probably because I pretty much had the world's best dog ever, but also because when it comes down to it, there is nothing better than a loyal dog by your side .. Balto, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, you name it .. I've probably watched it and weeped like a kid.

But rather than seeing those Disney-esque films of man's best friend, it really is heart-warming to hear about real-life examples of a dog's loyalty:

GREELEY, Colorado (AP) -- A dog stood guard over her owner's body for up to six weeks after the man committed suicide on the remote northeastern Colorado plains, authorities said. The body of 25-year-old Jake Baysinger of La Salle, Colorado, was found Sunday on the Pawnee National Grasslands about 75 miles northeast of Denver, Colorado. Cash, his German shepherd, was found beside him, thin and dehydrated but still alive. The dog had apparently survived by eating mice and rabbits, authorities said...Investigators said the dog probably kept coyotes away from the body. (CNN.com)

Yup, that story did bring tears to my eyes. Go out and hug a puppy today, guys.

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Life-in-Boxes-pedia: Back to the Future Shoes


One of my favorite movies of all time has got to be Back to the Future II. It's one of the first movies I saw where they showed the distant future and how cool it was going to be. Flying cars, hoverboards, and of course, shoes that tie themselves.

Back to the Future II definitely caught other people's imaginations, as well, because a while back, Mcfly2015.com launched. Mcfly2015.com is a petition website whose goal is to convince Nike to create the power-laced kicks for real (btw, sign the petition!).

Even though their wish has not been granted yet, Nike did throw them a bone by releasing the Nike Hyperdunk 2015 sneakers. These are basically Hyperdunks whose design is inspired by the shoes and the movie. The shoes have been out for almost a month, but they can only be bought in certain store, like the Niketown in New York City. If you really want to snag one but don't live near any of the retailers, you can try your luck on eBay, where it's going for $400-$800.

And while the Hyperdunk 2015's don't have powerlaces, Gizmodo recently asked it's commenters to help on trying to change that. They posted up an article asking for people to try to hack the shoes and somehow add powerlaces to them. If someone is able to do it, it'll be freaking awesome.

My guess is that Nike is holding out until 2015 before releasing the replica shoes, lit-up logo and all. And if all goes well, it'll be released along with a Mattel brand hoverboard. Man, I can't wait for the future.

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Stat Of The Day

Michael Phelps fever has engulfed Life In Boxes. Speaking of engulfing, did you know that Michael Phelps consumes anywhere between 8000-10000 calories per day. That's as much four grown men should eat. That's about 1000 calories per gold medal.
Fuel for Phelps - For more amazing video clips, click here

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I love Britney, surprise surprise

I've held off on saying this for the last couple of months because I didn't want to jinx it, but Britney Spears is back, bitch! It's been awhile since news of any breakdowns or umbrella beatings or shaving off of the hair. With the bad influences (aka shady men) out of her life and her dad taking control over her finances, she seems to be doing pretty darn well. I hope this lasts, because as you, oh faithful readers of our blog, know, I heart her so and just want her to be the reigning queen of pop she once was (MOVE over Katy Perry). She taped a series of promos for the MTV VMAs recently, and they were just released yesterday. Her banter with host Russell Brand is really cute, and it's good to see her laughing and having fun again. Stop rolling your eyes, I can see you.



One more promo...


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Websites of the Day: Tropic Thunder Viral Marketing

For all of those who have been living under a rock for the past summer, Tropic Thunder is a movie about movie stars who think that they are shooting a war-based movie, but instead are actually placed in a real-life war-setting. Confused?

Well, besides having Jack Black in it (whom I do not particularly enjoy seeing on film, with the exception of High Fidelity) and Ben Stiller in it (sorry Ben, but the last few movies I've seen with you in it SUCKED), I am looking forward to see Robert Downey, Jr. in the film.

If you don't remember, the movie has stirred its fair share of controversy when the official posters and trailers leaked out, showing Robert Downey, Jr. portraying what looks like blackface, and more recently, with Ben Stiller's character being in a movie playing a mentally challenged role.

Anyway, check out the studio's attempt to generate more interest in the film by putting up fake "official" websites for the three lead roles:

Ben Stiller's character


Robert Downey Jr.'s character

Jack Black's character

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While you were sleeping... OLYMPICS edition, Pt.1

The 2008 Beijing Olympics kicked off last Friday, and I am so glad. I am absolutely loving the excitement, the wins, the disappointments, the heroes, and the all-around thrill of it all. Here is a short recap of some of my personal highlights so far.


1 Billion watch the Opening Ceremonies
That would be 15 percent of the world population tuning in for the spectacular, 4.5 hours, $300 million costing, Zhang Yimou directed ceremonies. I finally watched it last night, and I was super impressed with the high-tech, artistically-driven show, as well as the unity of seeing all these world countries and its athletes come together.



Americans win the 4x100 free relay
This story had all the makings of a GREAT win- smack talking, underdogs, an Olympian's quest for the record books on the line. Jason Lezak, the oldest man on the US Swimming Team, slowly but surely pulling ahead of the French in the last 25 meters of the race to clinch the gold, by a fingertip? Pure adrenaline rush. This is how exciting this race was, I got so worked up, that I couldn't fall asleep. Maybe I'm a dork, sure, but this is what the Olympics are made of.

Probably the most talked about athlete of all who is competing at the Olympics this summer, this 23 year old American's bid to win an unprecendented 8 gold medals includes 9 days of races. So far, he's well on his way: as of this morning, he's won 3 of the races he's been in, which includes the aforementioned 4x100 freestyle relay. The 3rd gold medal he won gives him a ninth career win, which ties the record Mark Spitz has for the most in Olympics history (only 4 other athletes can claim that feat). He looks like a lithe, super long frat boy, though my parents think he's strangely "retarded" looking (their words, not mine!!). I think he's uber cute and I'm totally rooting for him.

Kerri Walsh loses her wedding ring in sand
Kerri Walsh, one half of the gold-medalists beach volleyball team with partner Misty May-Treanor, lost her wedding ring during their victorious game against Japan. She had to wait for 5 more matches to be played on the same sand before Chinese authorities swooped in with metal detectors and found the ring. Lesson learned, don't wear your valuables during sports!!

The Office promo
NBC payed over $900 million for coverage of the Olympics. So they're going to take advantage of all the eyeballs that are glued to their network by promoting the hell out of their upcoming fall shows. This Office promo, filmed specifically for airing during the Olympics, makes me uber excited about the return of the show (Sept 25!!). Woohooo!!!

Medal count so far
USA: 21, China: 20, South Korea: 12, Italy: 9, Australia: 9. I don't know why I bothered doing this, cause in about, oh, I don't know, an hour? the tally will probably change.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

[Feature] It's Time To Go!

Brett Favre was a Green Bay Packer from 1992 to 2007. 16 years. He turned the Packers from a struggling franchise to a perennial powerhouse. He won three consecutive MVPs and a Super Bowl title with the Packers. And now he's playing for the Jets. Well done, Brett. Seeing Favre in a Jets jersey is like seeing Jordan on the Wizards. It makes me throw up a little inside. Favre has inspired me too look at other people/things that should probably take a look at the clock and think about calling it a career.

Shaquille O'Neal
From one athlete to another. Unlike Favre, who is coming off one of his best seasons, O'Neal is a shell of his former self. Shaq's points per game have dropped in each of the past three seasons and he has missed at least 21 games in each of these seasons. At a whopper...err...whopping 325 pounds, Shaq will be requiring a crane to take him from one side of the court
to the other pretty soon. We love ya big fella, but it is time.



Steven Tyler/Mick Jagger
Alright, guys. It's been fun and when you were still doing this past 50 it was cute. You're both over 60 now. It's gone from cute to creepy. Rumor has it your wrinkles cause echoes. Those vocal chords have served you both well. You both have a quadrillion dollars to retire on. Steven, maybe you should concentrate on getting better songs for Rock Band.


Pop N' Fresh (aka The Pillsbury Doughboy)
I've had enough of you, Fresh. I'm on to you. Having wives poke you in the stomach so you can get your high? Home wrecker!


The Simpsons
As much as it kills me to say this, but maybe it's time. The Simpsons is my favorite show ever. It is by far the best cartoon ever created. I haven't quoted any other show as much as I have quoted The Simpsons. Their ability to come up with 20+ seasons of material is just mind-boggling impressive. However, I'm not as enthused by it as I was in years past. The last memorable episode they made was "Trilogy of Terror" back in 2001. (Though, I'm writing now that it's time they go off the air, but I'll be protesting when they actually do).




Ladies Named Ethel
I'm not sure if babies are actually named Ethel. I somewhat think that some women just change to that name at the very minute they turn old. Nevertheless, if your name is Ethel, you should probably think about retiring and start getting into Bridge, Gin Rummy, or Mah Jong.

AIM/MySpace
Both were mainstays of the Internet during their prime. But now they can barely get 50 year old single men to log on. I used AIM for a long time and still do once in a while, but it is just not the same. MySpace+Neatness+Sexiness=Facebook AIM-Crap=GChat.

GEICO Ads
The GEICO Gecko is the ad campaign version of Mick Jagger. This ad started out when people incorrectly called the annoyed gecko instead of calling GEICO. Then, suddenly, the gecko began working for GEICO. Clearly, GEICO brainwashed the gecko and forced it to speak with a British accent. Where's PETA when you need them? To boot, GEICO also runs the now tired Caveman commercials as well. Every time I see a GEICO commercial, my urge to kill rises.


Honorable Mention: America's Next Top Model, American Idol, Al Sharpton, Communism, Eye Ulcers, Montana

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Friday, August 8, 2008

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Forecast
Fri: 79°/62°, Scattered thunderstorms
Sat: 82°/65°, Partly cloudy
Sun: 81°/65°, Scattered thunderstorms

See

Pineapple Express (Starring Seth Rogan, James Franco)

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (Starring: Alexis Bledel, America Ferrara, Blake Lively, Amber Tamblyn)

For more detail, read Jen's post on the movies that came out this week!



Events
Watch the Olympics
Today is the start of the Olympics. Click here to see the Olympic schedule, so you can catch your favorite sport! Or if you just want a quick medal count, just Google search "Olympics " (ie Olympics USA) to get the results on the top of the page.

Hamlet Uncut
I am always a sucker for Shakespeare shows in the park. If you're interested in seeing Hamlet, go to Fort Tryon Park (190th street & Hudson River) at 8pm Thursdays to Saturdays in August.

$5 Open Bar - Drink for a Cause

Go to Union Bar (204 Park Ave. South) on Sunday starting 6pm for an ridiculously cheap $5 rsvp or $10 at the door. Also, if you dress in pink, you can get a chance to win "Prettiest in Pink."

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While You Were Sleeping

The 2008 Beijing Olympics officially begin today and already complains about the pollution are beginning to arise. The truth is that pollution was also a concern in Los Angeles 88 and in Athens 04. Miraculously when the Olympics began in those two cities, air pollution became a non issue. China can only hope the same holds true for concerns about human rights. Yikes. I am most interested in the 100 meters (the main event in my opinion) and in the Dream Team. Dream Team w/Kobe Bryant is like getting the red sauce on your chicken and rice.


From the World of the Ironic...
Victoria Osteen, the wife of Prosperity Gospel preacher Joel Osteen, is being sued by a flight attendant who alleges that Osteen "threw her against a bathroom door and elbowed her in the left breast." I'm sure that Ms. Osteen looked at her WWJD bracelet first and decided that a milkshake was in order.


Daniell Allen Everett pleaded guilty to child sex abuse after attempting to meet for sex with what he thought was a 14 year old girl. What kind of apparel did Everett wear for his attempted date? A shirt saying "World's Greates Dad." Humor and crime at the same time, splendid idea sir.


You Probably Couldn't Sleep Through This One...
The NFL's all time touchdown leader, Brett Favre, is heading out of Green Bay and to New York err...New Jersey to take over as the Jet's QB. Favre is not interested in living in the glitz and glamor of New York. Instead he will take residence in the boonies of Central Jersey. He's from Mississippi folks.

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Artwork of the Day

One Dollar Sketch is a site that, you guessed it, sells sketches for one dollar. Why sell it for only a dollar (and, ahem, $1.50 to ship it)? The artist explains it like this:

"Because art is for everyone. Even those who only have four quarters have a right to be an 'art collector'. That means, even your six year olds and younger can start their own collection as early as now."

While that normally would be good enough, the site does gets a bit more interesting. The artist isn't revealing him/herself until they put up their 100th sketch as "part of a much bigger artistic venture", adding that, if you knew who the artist was, he/she would have to charge more than a dollar for the work.

The mystery has definitely piqued my interest. I've jumped on board and have already ordered a sketch (or two :x). Who knows, maybe I'll be part of some cooler, awesome plan. And maybe the artist is the next Picasso, which would be kind of amazing.

Visit their website, or their Etsy page to order a sketch.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

How Much Are You Burning?

One night, after playing basketball for three hours in what could only be described as a sauna, I asked a friend how many calories we had burned. He said "Probably around 200." I was shocked. I've heard that typically a person loses about 100 calories per mile they run, so I guess he figured we ran about 2 miles, ergo, 200 calories burned. 200 calories seemed very little considering the amount of sweat running down my face. I did some investigating and found that the truth is I burn approximately 600 calories for every hour of full court basketball I play. This is roughly the same amount as I would burn from running an hour at a 5 mile per hour pace. Now that's more like it. Let's see how much I burn per hour in other things...

Blogging: 109 Cal
Bowling: 218 Cal
Settlers of Catan (Board Games): 109 Cal
Eating (sitting): 109 Cal
Football (tackle): 653 Cal
Golf (driving range): 218 Cal
Golf (miniature): 218 Cal
Guitar (sitting) 145 Cal
Reading Baby Korean Book (sitting): 94 Cal
Softball: 363 Cal
Table Tennis: 290 Cal
Tennis (Singles): 581 Cal
Tennis (Doubles): 435 Cal

This is how I spend most of time. If you would like to calculate how much you burn per your favorite activities go to http://www.caloriesperhour.com/index_burn.php.

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Spotlight: Robert Muraine

You probably don't know who Robert Muraine is by name, but you will definitely recognize him from his dancing. And if you've never seen him dance, you will definitely remember him henceforth. He is a street dancer from Santa Monica, CA who auditioned for this season's So You Think You Can Dance, and blew the judges away with his very original style. The boy can move like he has no bones. It's kind of horrifying to watch yet utterly fascinating at the same time. Here is Robert's audition for the show:



That got him straight through to the Vegas rounds (where they pick the top 20 who will be on the show), but he ended up withdrawing himself from the competition, realizing that while he's very very good at the style of dancing he does, he wasn't comfortable with the many different types of dancing that would be asked of him further down the audition and competition process. Either way, he gave us probably THE most memorable audition in the history of the show.

So while he hasn't been on SYTYCD this season as a competitor, he returned as a guest performer a few weeks ago. And it seems that people are taking notice of his talent: currently, he's being featured in a series of Ikea Canada commercials. I hope we get to see more of him, he's so entertaining to watch!! And don't forget to tune into the season finale of SYTYCD tonight, where he may or may not make an appearance.


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Thing I Want of the Day


The Ray-Ban Wayfarers have been around FOREVER, first made popular by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. To me, they SCREAM 80s, mostly because we've all seen Tom Cruise wearing the black ones in Risky Business. They've made a comeback recently, with everyone from Chloe Sevigny to Mary-Kate Olsen to Johnny Depp donning them. I never gave them much thought until my friend Christina told me she HAD to get a pair. I supported her when we'd go sunglasses shopping and she'd try on different colors and such, but again, I've never been one for expensive sunglasses (too easy to lose, sit/step on, and yes, I've done all of the 3). Until I saw these. HELLO, purple/red Wayfarers! You are so pretty, yes you are. So what if you're not going to match anything I own, and that you run $140/pair? You are so pretty.

I'm not getting these anytime soon. In the meantime though, there are way cheap knock-offs of these shades EVERYWHERE. Check out Urban Outfitters and Fred Flare for their versions.

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