Snarky Behavior

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Don’t Be Fooled by the Rocks that I got

September 2, 2008 · Leave a Comment

A quick post:

Yesterday I spent all day moving things into my new apartment in the Bronx.  My roommate and I made three drop-offs with the U-haul van, steadily lugging our crappy second-hand IKEA things up the four flights of stairs, while the entire neighborhood watched on with interest.

After we had dropped off the van in Chelsea, we took the D express train back uptown, arriving home for good around 10:30 pm.  The same people who had been lounging around and listening to loud music at 2pm were in the exact same spots, listening to the exact same music, at the exact same volume.

When we approached our apartment door we noticed a group of families in the hallway talking to each other.  They informed us that our next door neighbor’s apartment had been broken into with a CROWBAR HOURS EARLIER.

I’m pretty sure that crowbar was intended for our apartment, and was meant to steal the iMac I had carried up in front of all to see.

The crazy thing is that our deadbolt hasn’t been installed yet.  You could’ve kicked our door open.

Needless to say, we’re actively investigating renter’s insurance.

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I Want an iPhone

July 10, 2008 · 1 Comment

…but I have a two-year contract with Sprint.  If I cancel, it’s a $150 Early Termination Fee (ETF).

It’s already $199 for the iPhone.

Voice-Plan will be $39.99 for 450 minutes.

Data-Plan will be $30.00 on top of that.

Activation fee is $36.00.

Text-Messages is where it gets tricky.  I can send/receive 200 texts per month for $5, or do unlimited for $20.  Overage is $.70 per text.  (What a f*cking racket!)


Since Sprint has been consistently sucking me dry for using its data-service off-plan, my monthly bills have been averaging around $100-$110 for the past 4 to 5 months.  Even if I’m paying $75-80 per month (plus any text overages) to AT&T, I’m definitely saving money in the long run by making the switch.

Although it looks like ETFs are going the way of the dinosaur (or at least will be modified on a pro-rated basis), I’m too impatient to wait for Sprint to adopt a reasonable policy.  I’ve heard of people swapping their cell-phone contratual liabilities but I’ll just as soon pay the fee.  YOU HEAR ME SPRINT?  I’VE BEEN A CUSTOMER SINCE 2002 BUT I’M SICK OF YOUR SHIT!!  (I like the idea of PR people trolling small time blogs like mine and reporting back negative consumer reviews to the brand management division).

Apparently I can sell my Kitana II for $50.  So there’s some rebate to my ETF.

So yeah.  It looks like the real cost of the iPhone, for me at least, will be $335 up front, and about $80 or so per month over 2 years, totaling $2255.

If I stay with Sprint, and continue to be charged $100 per month (for drunkenly checking my G-Mail while waiting for the late night 2 train), it will cost $2400.

iPhone it is!

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Embarrassing Conversations

June 12, 2008 · 1 Comment

Filed Under:  Conversations that, had they hypothetically occurred last night, would have been tremendously embarrassing.

[Outside Patio at Wonderland Ballroom]

Me:  I could totally live in a van for 9 months.  Think about how much money I would save!  Almost ten grand!

Friend:  But what if you wanted to take a shower?

Me:  I’m already paying for gym access to Columbia, I could wake up early every morning, go the the gym, shower, brush my teeth, and be good to go!

Friend:  But what if you got home after the gym closed and you needed to shower?

Me:  The gym is open until like midnight, I’d be fine.

Friend:  But what if you pooed your pants?

Me:  I’ve only pooed my pants one time in the last 15 years, that risk is pretty small.  I mean, small enough where I shouldn’t be making long-term decisions based around it.

Friend:  That’s a misleading statement.  It makes it sound like the last time you pooed your pants was when you were ten.

Me:  No, I pooed my pants all the time when I was ten.  I’m just saying since then, I’ve only pooed my pants once.  [Notices eavesdropping girl on sidewalk, unlocking bike from fence.]  Not that I’m particularly proud of that time of my life.  Or the time last year when I pooed my pants…. [awkward silence]… I’m going to get another beer.

[Eavesdropping girl on sidewalk, to Friend]:  Are you going to still talk to that guy?

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Fresh Prince 2.0

June 5, 2008 · 1 Comment

Now that school is over I’ve had a lot more time to mindlessly watch whatever is on television.  About two weeks ago I stumbled upon a program starring Flavor Flav titled “Under One Roof.”  Here is the show’s plot, via wikipedia:

Calvester and Winston Hill act like they are from opposite sides of the track when they actually just grew up on opposite sides of the room. Years later*, Winston is a successful and wealthy real estate developer with a perfect and privileged family, but his life gets interrupted when his street smart**, older brother Calvester finally gets out of prison and moves into the mansion.

It’s not long before Calvester begins parading his old prison cronies through the house driving the Hill family crazy – butting heads with Winston’s trophy wife Ashley (Carrie Genzel); 17-year-old daughter, Heather (Marie Michel); and housekeeper Su Ho (Emily Kuroda). Calvester even teaches Winston’s 16-year-old son, Winston Jr. (Jesse Reid) to be a gangster rapper.

Within, oh, three seconds of watching this show, you think to yourself, “Hey!  They frickin’ ripped this off from Fresh Prince of Bel Air!”

Musical intro that explains the backstory?  Check.  Upper class Black father?  Check.  Nerdy/preppy son and ditzy/pretty daughter?  Check and check.

British butler?  No check!  They’ve replaced Jeffrey with an Asian maid named “Su Ho.”  In one scene, while being served dinner, the father asks:  “this isn’t dog, is it?”  (Laugh track).  Clearly upset by his prejudice, Su Ho launches into a heart-felt diatribe of broken enrish… “Me sil is a pelson with feerings, me sil is a human bering” (Laugh track).  (The actress, Emily Kuroda, has won an award from the East West Player’s theater association, an organization that strives to “further cultural understanding between the East and West by employing the dual Oriental and American heritages of the East-West Players.”  Suffice it to say that I don’t believe she won the award for her portrayal of “Su Ho.”  No further comment necessary).

The wife character (who was played by two different actresses in v.1.0), in a contemporary update to the 21st century, is White.  And uptight!  As you may imagine, hilarity ensues.

I don’t have a problem with cheap racial humor per se.  For instance, I really like South Park, even though their style of humor has become over-stylized — relying on didactic hyperbolic morality tales to shame over-enthusiastic characters with heavy-handed ironic treatment.

The best racial humor finds non-obtrusive or otherwise offensive ways to make cunning cultural observations (see: Stuff White People Like).  Humor that relys on trite and hackneyed stereotypes is dangerously close to being, you know, racist.

Well, I mean, maybe it’s all racist, and the wrinkles of delivery make the dangers more pervasive.  But I’m of the opinion that humor can be a means of celebrating diversity.  And this show just isn’t funny to me.

*Nice transition, Shakespeare

**How can one be “street smart” if they’ve served time in prison?  Doesn’t that imply that you’re not smart enough to stay on the street?  I never understood this term… it does seem like a great back-handed compliment though.

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June 2, 2008 · Leave a Comment

So apparently found some algorithm to match your facebook profile picture with an item that you might like, based on your appearance.

I was excited by this and clicked around for a bit to see what my targeted ads generated.  The results?  Grey adidas shoes, wraparound sunglasses, two ads for “big beautiful single women,” and this:

Kermit bad decision

We’ve all been there, Kermit.

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No. F-ing. Way.

May 1, 2008 · 3 Comments

As a Bachelor in the Art of History, I am offended.

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What Makes a Scandal

April 15, 2008 · 1 Comment

Ezra Klein brings up a point that all journalists and bloggers alike should be cognizant of:  how to determine when a scandal “matters”:

The impulse, of course, is to follow each newstory as if its salience in the news cycle corresponded to its actual importance in the campaign. But that’s rarely the case. Time passes, comments are forgotten, new gaffes are made, and the election spins on.

Klein continues the post by discussing what particular features of a scandal tend to give the story “legs.”  Those features might be valid empirical observations to make, but it bothers me that they are of primary concern to a blogger at The American Prospect.

Now, I give Klein a lot of credit because he writes about what he is passionate and knowledgeable about (health care policy),  despite the fact that those posts presumably get far less click-throughs than the “hot” topics.  He is afforded the luxury of not having to write in feedback mechanisms, where audience response dictates the editorial direction of his content and analysis, precisely because he is not part of a “mainstream media” operation.

I also understand that a journalist, and especially a blogger, who digs his heels in the sand and plays the Lorax for any given issue (THIS IS IMPORTANT, DAMN IT!) is not long for this world.  People will move on to get their current events from someone who isn’t a one trick pony.

At the same time– and this really, really concerns me about the disconnect between an engaged citizenry and a “newsertainment” media– some stories (and scandals) that are important (in orders of magnitude greater than Bob Dole falling down stairs) are inevitably going to lack the grainy video or convenient sound byte required to stimulate peoples’ senses.  And that’s why we have an independent media (like TAP), to give those events the intention they deserve, to fall out of the lock-step of the mainstream press before the next cycle buries them.

To be honest, the reason I’m in a huff about this is because I just listened to an All Things Considered about a municipality in rural Alabama that floated extremely risky muni-bonds to cover a sewage system, and now is some $4 billion dollars in debt! That’s over $6,000 per person (and probably twice that per tax-payer)!  Anyway, at one point in the podcast, they interview a local journalist, who admitted to writing close to 100 articles on this issue, and he says something like:

“People keep telling me to stop writing about this.  They say, “can’t you write about something else?  This is boring!”"

Sometimes you have to hit people over the head to make them KNOW when a scandal is important.

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If this isn’t “straight talk,” then what is?

April 13, 2008 · 1 Comment

At a recent fund-raiser in San Francisco, Obama was asked the question about voters in Pennsylvania:  Why doesn’t his campaign resonate with working class white voters?

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

While his response may have included some poorly-chosen words, for which he has since taken substantial criticism, it was at least an honest appraisal.   Consider the following:

America is often recognized for its diversity, but too often we consider this diversity as a melting pot (with the New York urban-ideal as the cognitive model) than as a heterogeneous hodge-podge of cultural identities.  Obama succinctly made this point at the 2004 DNC in his now famous “Red State-Blue State” speech (”we worship an awesome God in the blue states, and yes we’ve even got some gay friends in the red states”, etc.).

So for a wealthy donor from Marin county to understand the voting tendencies of a “fellow Democrat” pension-deprived ex-steel worker of Allentown, he/she needs an accurate explanation, and a good deal of empathy.  These donors are (in large part) the ones funding Obama’s campaign, which means they provide money for polling, focus grouping, message development, etc., and they have a right to expect an explanation of the results of that research

Right now we have a political system where the campaigns engage in election “strategies,” which CNN and others than attempt to decipher and decode, without explaining the underlying assumptions of those strategies.  It is taken for granted that Clinton “appeals” to blue-collar voters, because that is the demographic she is targeting (and resonating with).

When Barack Obama lets these donors peek inside the key-hole of voter research, he may seem like a detached social scientist professor– the Ivory Tower paradigm.  But the truth is that he cannot be all things to all people.  He can only try to understand and capture the concerns of the majority of the voters in his party, and assuming he wins the nomination, in the country.

It is not Ivory Tower to try to understand a group of voters with whom a candidate has no shared background, if the candidate’s efforts are genuine, so that he/she may better represent those voters.

On the other hand, nobody likes to be categorized and have their behavior and motivations analyzed.  The thing is, this happens all the time, in market research, in commercial advertising, and certainly in elections.

Is it a poor strategy to let people peek behind the curtain instead of relying on a lazy media as a proxy to interpret campaign messaging?  Haven’t the last few years taught us that “reality” is the favored-model of communication?

If this isn’t “straight talk,” then what is?

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Google Image Search

April 8, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Try doing a search for Hillary Clinton… we’re #1!

As my friend F. said: “you are changing the course of human history…this is why i hate the internet.”

Person Hillary Clinton.
Right click for SmartMenu shortcuts

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On Pidgin English

April 6, 2008 · Leave a Comment

A friend and I were talking on the train the other day about how horrendous the New York Post’s headline articles can be.  We’ve noticed the devolution of written English… not due to text messaging and e-mail, as so many have others have speculated… but due to LOL catz.

Yes, secretaries, mousey college girls, soccer stay-at-homes, and other future cat-women have ruined our great language.  But instead of lamenting, I will make the easy joke:


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