Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It would be nice if Amazon had an option to turn off star ratings.  Currently it's impossible to locate any book without spotting its corresponding star rating.  When you click on a book's link, its star rating sits below the author's name and above the price.  It's repeated again in the "Product Details" area, and once again in the "Customer Reviews" area.

YouTube has done away with star ratings, and I didn't notice their absence until I deliberately looked for them just now.  At the same time, YouTube doesn't show you a video's Like/Dislike ratio until you actually click on the video's link.  And even then, you need to scroll down a few notches to see the ratio, so you're allowed to watch the video with a comparatively clear mind.

Monday, May 30, 2011

There's a hotel near my apartment called the Skyline Hotel, which strikes me as an odd name, because the building is about as tall as a Motel 6.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Conan O'Brien isn't exactly my arch-rival, but he's getting closer.  Yesterday I read Dartmouth College is planning to give Conan an honorary degree.  This despite the fact I attended Dartmouth for one year longer than Conan ever did and *I* never received a honorary degree.  What bullshit.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Based on the suggestion of Jason Islas, I decided to re-allow comments on this blog.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Faced with the choice between the subway car slightly to my left and the car slightly to my right, I naturally chose the car where a couple attractive girls were sitting.  But it turns out they were dressed up in hawking gear for Onion Crunch, and they both looked incredibly glum.

There was a guy sitting to my right reading a Scott Pilgrim comic, and he seemed more interesting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I dislike when clicking on someone's e-mail link automatically causes your computer's e-mail program to open.  I've found this feature to be useful in 0% of all cases.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The M50 cross-town bus runs on my street, and for a minute I thought, "Maybe that would be useful if I ever needed to go cross-town for some reason."  I checked the schedule, and saw it comes around once every twenty minutes.  Of course, my tolerance for buses is proportionate to how closely it hews to its schedule.

Then, as I reached the end of the block, and watched the most recent M50 bus had off eastwards, I turned around...and immediately saw the next M50 bus pull up next to me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

While interning at the Boston Phoenix, I noticed ads in the newspaper giving the times and locations of gay and bisexual meet-up groups.

The ads had a drawing of a man dressed up in a 1950s-style suit, smoking a corncob pipe and with a thought bubble above his head showing a shirtless male body.  It struck me as a liberal person's idea of how a conservative man who's pretending on the outside that he isn't gay would look.  It didn't seem realistic--definitely more like a caricature.  The message seems to be: "Conservative men are hypocrites because, deep down, they're all secretly gay."  I realize that's not the (consciously) intended message.  But I wondered whether the ads had always been this way.

I checked some older issues of the Phoenix, and sure enough the "Are you gay or bisexual?" ads featured a different image.  It was a photograph of a man sitting and looking wistfully away.  The tone of the writing was different, too.  It described differently-themed meeting groups, including one group for men who thought they might be gay.  It didn't make assumptions about whether coming out as gay was an obvious question to resolve, or that it was the way of truth for conservatively-dressed people.

The older ads seemed more aware of reality.
The newer ads seemed more concerned with proving a point.

I bring this up, because there's a new Lady Gaga commercial for Google Chrome that shows clips of Gaga fans dancing in homemade YouTube videos.  One short clip shows a conservatively-dressed man dancing on his rooftop in a flamboyant fashion. The title of the clip is "On the Edge of Glory (on my roof!)" I took one look at him and thought, "He looks fake."

I became more convinced his video was fake after observing three things:
1.)  The username (dwnttwn90dj) links to a profile page whose videos have been removed.
2.)  The username joined YouTube May 16th, and the last visit date was 6 days ago (so May 17th?)  So the original video was removed long before the commercial which featured it was ever aired.
3.)  If you look closely at the clip, the guy's YouTube video is only three seconds long.  It's as if someone decided, "Let's get three seconds' worth of dancing and upload it."  Even if you filmed your own YouTube video as an audition piece for Lady Gaga's commercial, you'd damn well make sure it was longer than three seconds, so as to give the editors some leeway.

There is one other seemingly fake clip, titled "GAGA INSPIRED FASHION SHOW", with a full running length of four seconds. Most of the other clips in the commercial appear to have been made by legitimate fans:  People who either had their own YouTube channels beforehand, or who at least made minute-long audition clips so as to give the editors some leeway when making their cuts.

Granted, I'm assuming the usernames in the commercial are unaltered.  Would it really be that hard to photoshop them?  (Answer: No.)

But my impression is that the editors of the commercial felt it important to include at least one shot of a "conservatively-dressed" man dancing.  As well as one guy in eyeliner with a giant yellow flower.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Oftentimes these days I've got to remind myself:  "Bloody hell, Jeremy, you don't have to distract your mind from unpleasant school work.  School is done."

And further:  "Bloody hell, you don't have to distract your mind in anticipation of going into work.  Your current job doesn't suck."

It's a very ingrained pattern.  And that's what the internet used to be for.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

They say that success is the best revenge.

However, if you plotted to kill someone, then got away with the crime, that would qualify as a success.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I had a dream where I was standing in a parking garage, talking to a man in a suit.  We were both in the United Arab Emirates at the time, and I told him I had to go back to Jordan, because I'd been in a plane crash there, and all 50 survivors had been taken hostage. I was granted only a short period of freedom.

The man expressed his condolences.  I said, "Well, I knew flying over Jordan was a risk to begin with, because of the oil situation."  And the man asked me why I had to go back there and become a prisoner, since I was standing right now in the United Arab Emirates.  "That's a good question," I said.  "I don't know why I have to go back there.  In fact, I'm not even sure if I was a part of that plane crash to begin with."  I thought about it some more.  "In fact, I'm not sure there was even a plane crash reported in the news. Sometimes I just make things up like that, and I don't know whether they're real or not."  I thought about it some more.  "In fact, I don't even know if you're a real person I'm speaking to."  And I looked at the man, and it was like a moment in the Twilight Zone where you realize you've been dealing with a mannequin the whole time.  And suddenly the fabric of reality ripped open, and the man and the parking garage all zoomed away in a flash of light, as though it were all getting sucked into a black hole.  And I fell to the ground and felt blood dripping out of my nose.  As I lifted my hand to feel the blood, I thought for sure I was having some sort of seizure.  Then I woke up, and realized I'd been lying in bed the whole time.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

During downtime last Saturday, as the guys discussed the next match, it reminded me of all the similar passages in The Red Badge of Courage.  And I'm sure such discussions go on all across the world.
........
"Anyone know when our next match is?"
"I heard 6:00 o'clock."
"Really?  Where'd you hear that?"
"That's way too late."
"I heard it's going to be 40-minute halves."
"Are you serious?"
"That's ridiculous.  We won't get out of here until it's dark."
"Does anyone know where it's going to take place?"
"I heard it's going to be at Field 1."
"Oh, really?  Should we pack up?"
"No, let's just stay here, and move our equipment when we know for sure."
........
"It's going to rain."
"It's not going to rain. It is raining."
"Anyone have an extra garbage bag?"
"Just make a big pile with all the covered-up bags on top."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

When I get bored, I read blogs.  And this is a bad habit.  

There's a certain style of writing prevalent in blogs that I just can't understand.  I'll call it the "I went to a college" style of writing.  
To illustrate my point, here is a passage from one of the comments on Scott Adams's blog.  Like my brother, Scott Adams was recently made the object of Gawker's derision, which explains why I'm paying attention to his situation.  Adams wrote a post about a value system for judging people.

The comment's passage reads:
@magilnor...
The only difference of opinion I have is that your post implies that our current macro society and its value systems are part of a natural course, inevitable cultural evolution so to speak. I beg to differ here...

Scott Adams is supposedly a smart guy.  The people who read his blog are supposedly smart.  But I read that sentence, and it makes absolutely no fucking sense at all to me.  It makes no sense because I can't understand the mindset of the person who wrote it.  I don't comprehend, on a gut level, how such a person as wrote that sentence exists.

Now, if I had to analyze it and answer a corresponding SAT question about that sentence, I could.  I can pretend, temporarily, to understand it.  But if my brainwaves can't align with, or mimic, those of the person who wrote the sentence, I don't bother trying to assimilate it.

--------------------

The other day I planned on writing a long blog post about American Apparel.

Gawker and its related sites (e.g. Jezebel) seem to dislike American Apparel.  I vaguely remember that American Apparel used to be cool.  But now it's uncool?  There must have been a shift somewhere, like how John McCain used to be really cool, but then he quickly became both uncool and sinister.  Both these events probably occurred around 2005.  I went through the Gawker archives, and found links to other posts and articles about American Apparel dating back to 2000.  

But I couldn't write anything, because I wasn't yet sure about anything.  The only thing I know for sure is that the models in the American Apparel ads are hot, and that by itself is not a newsworthy-enough post.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The other night Nick Swisher came up to bat with two runners on and a chance to give the Yankees the lead, and I thought, "It's a good thing I'm no longer relying on Nick Swisher to solve all my problems."

Then he struck out.

Monday, May 16, 2011

If I were less choosy about my posts, I could have posted something a long time ago.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

There was a small street fair one block from my apartment, but, it being a post-rugby and post-drinking Sunday, I slept in until late afternoon, by which point it had ended.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A guy wearing black-rimmed glasses was reading a pamphlet with the words "Holy God" on the subway.  Clearly he'd been handed the pamphlet on the street, and was sharing the pamphlet's quirky wisdom with his friend, who was wearing a pinstripe shirt with "23" on the back.

As the subway made its stop, the friend noticed the street number:  "Wait, 42nd street?  Is this...?"

"We're going south," I said.

"We're on the wrong train," he said.  Then he added, "Thanks."

Friday, May 13, 2011

I've got to stop relying on Nick Swisher to solve all my problems.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I woke up yesterday morning and was walking around my room in that early-morning daze when you're not sure what time it is and can't find your glasses or contact lenses.  I looked out into the courtyard, and saw somebody wearing a blue jacket sitting in one of the chairs.  This was a little irritating, since I wasn't wearing my underwear, and now I had to go find some underwear.

Only later did I figure out the person in a blue jacket was actually a reflection of the blue sky bouncing off the black surface of my windowsill.  That's the oldest trick in the sky's playbook, and I fell for it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

For some reason, when choosing a gym, I decided I didn't want to walk through a separate section of a building to reach my workout.  This would disqualify gyms located in basements or on 15th floors.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A recent New York Times Magazine cover story was called "A Beast In The Heart of Every Fighting Man."  Glancing at the cover, I assumed it was a profile of the warrior spirit, and what it takes to prove yourself as a soldier.  Because, in any combat sport, a 'beast' is someone who excels.    

Instead the story was about "American soldiers accused of killing innocent, unarmed civilians in Afghanistan."

What a misleading title.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I went to the Whole Foods located at Columbus Circle for the first time last week to buy a salad.

The express checkout section was divided into three lines, and each line had a marker: Blue, yellow, and green.  An overhead monitor was divided into blue, yellow, and green bars, and as the next register became available, one of the bars would light up, and a computerized voice would announce the register's number.  The order proceeded from left to right:  The person at the front of the blue line would go, followed by the person at the front of the yellow line, followed by the person at the front of the green line, and this repeated.

It took me a while to even notice the color-coded system.  I assumed people were just going in order and being sensible about it.  

An Asian girl, who looked to be in her early 20s, was standing in the yellow line, and after however many minutes she reached the front of her line.  Soon after, when the green line's turn came, she went to the register that had been announced.   The person from the green line met her at the register, and, I guess, told her to go back.  Then the blue line's turn came, and the girl again stepped out of line, went to the register, and the person from the correct line met her at the register.  By now most people in line had noticed what was going on.  Most of them found it funny, but I was getting pissed off, for a number of reasons.  

1.)  No one took the ten seconds to explain to her how the system works.  Someone could have said:  "Look up at the monitor.  Since you're in in the yellow line, you only go when the yellow bar lights up."  This was apparently too difficult.

2.)  While the girl was talking with the person from the blue line, the yellow line's register was announced.  The person standing at the front of the yellow line now had a choice to make:  Either he could wait for the Asian girl to return to the line, and tell her, "Your register is #18."

Or, he could take the available register, and completley ignore the Asian girl, who would subsequently return to her line and have to wait through another cycle.  In my opinion, this would constitute cutting in line, since the Asian girl had been waiting ahead of him.

He claimed the register and ignored the Asian girl.

3.)  When the girl's next turn finally came, the surrounding patrons all egged her on her way, but they did so with the supressed joy of rubberneckers, as though it made their day to see a girl fuck up in the Whole Foods checkout section.  There was an overweight man standing in the yellow line.  Once the girl had stepped out he said, to no one in particular, "There you go sweetie."

Then he added: "Sayonara."

He then turned to the woman next to him and, with a smirk on his face, started whispering "I hate...", and I didn't try to listen; and anyway I assumed the woman was his wife.  Then, when his number was called, he went to the register...and the woman stayed behind.  So apparently he was just sharing his displeasure of the Asian girl with a random stranger in line with him at Whole Foods.  I don't like to ask rhetorical questions in my blog, but seriously...who the fuck does that?

I wonder what his job is?

I imagine he's a full-time writer for Slate.com

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Today should be my last day without internet. Then I'll have no more roadblocks in the way of becoming the best blogger in the world.

Friday, May 6, 2011

According to my observations, if Osama bin Laden hadn't been killed on Sunday, then the cover story of this week's Village Voice would have been, "Guys Who Like Fat Chicks."

The world has truly been made a better place.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I was walking along 57th street, and there were three or four production trucks lined up in a row, which isn't too unusual.  The back of one truck (which said  "Paramount" on the side) was open, and a plush Spider-Man doll was hanging from one of the shelves, at which point I realized, "Oh, I know what this is for."

Farther down the street were several more production vehicles, and at the corner the crew was lighting a shot for a body-double wearing a "Peter" nametag.  The entire production seemed fairly efficient, since no street traffic was being diverted.  And a couple minutes later Andrew Garfield showed up, with his Andrew Garfield-esque hair, and they filmed him walking up to the building, gazing upwards, and heading inside, much like a guy mentally preparing for a job interview.

(My guess was he was walking into the Daily Bugle building, but according to the IMDB page J. Jonah Jameson isn't cast in the movie.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

One after-effect from Kobe Bryant referring to Bennie Adams as a "fucking faggot" is that he's now guaranteed a spot on the Boston Phoenix's 2011 "Unsexiest Men" list.  Most likely in the Top 10.

I doubt that there's any way he'll be #1, considering a different black athlete--Tiger Woods--was #1 last year.  I think the Phoenix would want some racial variety for their #1 picks.  So I think two of the more-likely candidates this year for that spot are Donald Trump and Rex Ryan.  And, while Rex Ryan is certainly fat, I think it's more likely Trump would become the first two-time winner of the award.  But I don't know how the Phoenix feels about repeat winners.

Mark Zuckerberg will probably be in the top 25 too, but I'm not going to go wild with guesses of who they'll pick.

I mean, they once put Hugh Jackman on the list, and that's just...not only does it not make sense...but it's so flagrantly incorrect...it's like...there are six billion people on the planet, and I think only one person out of six billion would be weird enough to put Hugh Jackman on the list, and that person works at the Phoenix.  So it's not always easy to predict what they'll do.

There used to be a comment section under Hugh Jackman's entry, and it was seven pages of people calling the entry's author a retard.  And not just in a "I disagree with you" sense, but in a "You deserve to be living on the street" sense.

It's one of the few times I've felt reassurance by what random internet commenters have said.

I wrote earlier about seeing an entry from last year's list that made me want to smash the author's face with a sledgehammer. That wasn't the Hugh Jackman entry.  But I'll get to that soon.  This was kind of like a warm-up.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I don't like making posts with my phone, since I can't bloody edit them afterwards.

This post has, in fact, been edited on a computer.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I find it interesting that, around 30th street, Broadway is a one-lane road.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Day 5 without internet.  I don't even feel like trying to make good blog entries until I get it back.  And I don't feel like making blog entries in a Starbucks or a Borders, either.