What You Say?!?

June 29, 2004 11:45 pm

The SA NYC Goonmeet this past Saturday rocked!

Brief history: SA stands for Something Awful, a website that I lack the words to do full justice to. Thus, I will simply warn you to click on the link and discover the insanity yourself. A large part of SA is the Forums, the most interesting message board I have ever read. Lifelong membership (provided you don't do something extremely stupid) costs $10, and is worth every penny. The fee discourages shitheads from posting, prevents trolls, and supports the site hosting, so I am totally in favor of paying it.

But I digress. For now, suffice to say that those of us belonging to the SA Forums are called "goons" and when we all gather together in real life, we call those events "Goonmeets."

The June 26 NYC Goonmeet had many parts, all hilarious and displaying our quirky brand of off-beat humor. Words fail me, so I will just post a few pictures:

^^^ It all started with Project: Arcturus, a massive prank played on the poor souls at Craig's List. I'm not giving the prank away, so let's just say it was cruel and unusual, but those lonely hearts searching for love on the intarweb were totally asking for it. The prank occured at Grand Central Terminal, NYC, where 50+ goons gathered near the famous information booth to observe the fruits of our labor.

^^^ The highlight of the meet was our robot, though. Yes, someone showed up with a fantastic homegrown mexican robot costume. Brilliant. Just brilliant.


^^^ After the initial congregation at GCT, we trekked to Bryant Park. To do what? To crash the 12th Annual Dyke March, of course! That's us in the picture holding up the signs. Just imagine 50 guys (and 3 girls) from the internet randomly showing up amidst a horde of angry lesbians, bearing a robot and random signs...

^^^ When I say "random signs" I really mean random signs. A quick rundown:

END WOMEN'S SUFFERAGE: REPEAL THE 19TH AMENDMENT (this was the only really dangerous one we had...it took balls to carry this one!)

and my personal favorite: SPAWN MORE OVERLORDS!

As we marched, we chanted various slogans...such as...

10110101101101 (etc.)
[mario theme song]

and various other buffonary.

^^^ All in all, we crashed that march something fierce. As you can see by the crowd's reactions, there were plenty of very confused marchers. I think every one of us was harassed at least once by a yelling spitfire of a lesbian. It was all in good fun, but...

^^^ ...the police finally broke us up. By this time we had pissed off tons of lesbians (including the incredibly butch and scary parade marshall who reported us to the cops) and a dozen of NYC's finest were tailing us in paddy wagons, so we declared our stunt a success and left. The hypocrisy of it all still amuses me: here are hundreds of women marching against "the establishment" and shouting for civil rights and freedoms, but then they turn right around and call the police to stop a random group of people holding signs that express a different set of opinions. Hell, we had every right to be there that they had, and every right to say whatever we wanted. I'm a huge supporter of gay rights, as any of my friends know, but damn, there were some dumb dykes at that protest.

^^^ Having wrecked havoc on the lesbians, we proceeded to feed ourselves. This involved taking the robot on the subway and through various parts of midtown. People kind of expect spectacles in NYC, but I think we managed to bewilder even the locals. The best reactions came from the various homeless bums, who are pretty confused to begin with. The sight of a guy dressed like a robot in broad daylight surrounded by a herd of dorks must have utterly ruined any perception of reality they had left.

^^^ Our dinner destination was Republic, a trendy noodle house near Union Square that was very delicious and relatively cheap. They crammed all 50+ of us into the back, which was quite impressive. Much food and drink were consumed, and it was the smoothest bill split among strangers I've ever experienced. It's totally sweet when you meet a bunch of people for the first time and nobody makes a fuss about the check.

^^^ Obligatory goatse. If you are unfamiliar with goatse, consider yourself lucky. Let's just say it's one of the more...unique goon inside jokes.

^^^ Post dinner, everyone crashed at a goon's apt, at which there was much substance abuse and porn. And drunken singing. Oh, the drunken singing... The festivities stretched long into the night and morn, though Vic and I scuttled away to catch the 5:15 am train back to NJ. We were both exhausted as all hell, but it was definitely worth it. I can't describe how good it felt to hang out with people who weren't afraid to be whacky, who embraced their nerdiness (nay, not only embraced, but thoroughly and wholly fisted - in all orifices) and who were completely open. As long as you weren't a complete ass, you were welcomed, and that kind of acceptance is almost impossible to find these days. Being a goon totally rocks, and I can't wait to attend more of these meets! I understand now why everyone [hearts] nyc goons.

^^^ P.S. The aftermath: woe to those who fell asleep while the drunks were still conscious! They awoke to pleasant surprises on their body.

^^^ P.S.S The aftermath 2: OH NOES!!11! Shoe difficulties.

June 24, 2004 11:40 am

Trees that grow decaf coffee beans? Bullcrap, I say! Don't be breeding those things with my coffee. I take mine strong, bitter, loaded with caffeine, and black as the depths of my soul! *cackles*

June 23, 2004 12:40 pm

I was going to post a gmail review, but I just found out I'm signed up for an IMN Conference regarding E-Mail, IM, and other collaborate systems in the financial services (read: business) industry. I love it when my boss does that. Looking at the topics being presented, I have the feeling it might change my perspective on some e-mail functionality issues, so I'm going to hold off until after the conference to post up my gmail review.

June 22, 2004 4:15 pm

Fucking A.

Fuckity fuck fuck. Fuck. FUCK. I was really looking forward to this year's Lollaplaooza lineup. It included the likes of Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, Modest Mouse, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Flaming Lips, Pixies, The String Cheese Incident, and Gomez. I hate the death of musical culture in this country. I hate you all for not being consumer whores and buying tickets to support a great slew of bands. Rest In Peace, Lollaplaooza 2004. You were too indie for your own good.

Article from eonline stripped out below:

Lollaplaooza 2004: R.I.P.
by Josh Grossberg
Jun 22, 2004, 12:00 PM PT

"Let's just call it Lollapa-loser.

Even a stellar lineup--Morrissey, the Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, the String Cheese Incident, Wilco and a reunited Pixies--couldn't save this summer's Lollapalooza festival, which has been deep-sixed due to poor ticket sales just three weeks before its launch.

Organizers made the announcement on the fest's official Website, lollapalooza.com, blaming "competitive ticket prices" and a weak summer touring season as the reasons for the cancellation.

"I'm in utter disbelief that a concert of this stature, with the most exciting lineup I've seen in years did not galvanize ticket sales," tour cofounder Marc Geiger says in a statement.

Taking the bad news especially hard was Lollapalooza cofounder Perry Farrell, whose band, Jane's Addiction, headlined the inaugural fest back in 1991 as well as last year's edition, which revived the traveling carnival after a five-year layoff.

"My heart aches along with the bands and all of our employees, whose hard work developed one of the most exciting and important tours that this nation was to see. My heart is broken," says Farrell.

The 31-date, 16-city trek was supposed to kick off July 14 at White River amphitheater in Auburn, Washington.

Organizers had intended this year's outing to be the most ambitious yet--a two-day jamboree with an eclectic rotating roster that would have seen the likes of PJ Harvey, the Polyphonic Spree, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Modest Mouse, Danger Mouse, Le Tigre and Elbow at various venues, along with the requisite body-art booths, ethnic food stands and progressive political stumping (this year's second stage was supposed to be powered by hydrogen fuel cells).

Fans who've already bought tickets will be issued refunds.

Geiger says the demise of Gen-X's signature touring festival can be chalked up to soft sales across the board, even though promoters tried to make Lollapalooza affordable by offering reserved seating at $49.50 per day, lawn tickets at $29.50 per day and a special two-day lawn package at $50. Those prices are a relative steal in today's concert market, where acts like Madonna, the Rolling Stones and the Eagles, routinely charge hundreds of dollars for stand-alone gigs.

"I'm surprised that given the great bands and the reduced ticket prices that we didn't have enough sales to sustain the tour," says Geiger. "Concert promoters across the country are similar problems. Many summer tours are experiencing weak ticket sales."

That's a far cry from Lollapalooza's glorious grungy days, when the road show's main stage played host to such bands as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Beck, Nirvana, Sinead O'Connor, Metallica, Snoop Dogg, the Smashing Pumpkins and the Beastie Boys, making it the hot ticket of summer.

But with poor sales plaguing last year's installment and now scuttling this year's, we may have seen the last of Lollapalooza."

June 22, 2004 9:30 am

I'm such a child at heart. A few months ago, I first caught sight of a toy line called "Stikfas." Initially, I thought they were a cheap Lego knock-off, but upon closer inspection, I found them to be very complex and well designed. They are a hybrid of Legos, model kits, and collectible figurines. Like Legos, each set you buy has pieces that can interlock with other sets in different combinations. Like model kits, the pieces come in unpainted plastic sheets, requiring assembly and creative embellishment. Like collectibles, they are humanoid and posable. Overall, they seem to bridge the gap between casual toy fans and hardcore toy mods.

As someone who collects for the fun factor rather than value or tinkering, one of the most exciting features to me is how many points and degrees of articulation a toy has. And these Stikfas figures come loaded with joints that are realistic. So I gave in and bought the knight and stallion set for $15, which when compared to Legos, model kits, or figurines, is a very modest price. As I've started building mine, I dug more into the history behind these things, and apparently they are garnering massive fandom all over the world, as can be seen by the many
Stikfas galleries that exist. They seem to be doing extremely well in Asia, especially Singapore and Korea, and I can only hope that they continue to do well in the States. Kids here need more innovative hands-on toys like this!

June 20, 2004 11:08 pm

My hair is now the shortest it has ever been in the past 15 years:


June 19, 2004 11:08 pm

Hell Yeah! I got a
gmail account! A multitude of thanks to Eli for the lovin' and yes, I plan to be generous with any invites I receive, provided you take your duties as a Beta user very seriously.

My first impressions:
  • The threading organization, which groups related messages into a single conversation, saves display space and is pretty intuitive for users familiar with newsgroups or message boards. However, I haven't found a way to move an individual message from one conversation to another, or to use an individual message as a seed for a totally new conversation thread.
  • Ads are text-only and very unobtrusive - simply a series of blurbs down the rightmost column of the page layout.
  • I like the interface for reading, which includes some useful features: (1) viewing the original headers/HTML source for any message, (2) toggling the display of the original e-mail (so if "X" is a reply to a message containing "Y," you can choose to hide "Y" so that less screen space is used in displaying it), and (3) showing "All Mail," which creates one giant listing of everything you have ever received, sent, or archived.
  • Labels are easy to make, apply, and remove.
  • The one gripe I have so far is that labels are applied on a conversation level rather than a message level. For example, if I have 5 messages related to a single conversation, all 5 of those messages would be assigned the same label. I couldn't label 2/5 of the messages as "A" and the other 3/5 as "B." This might be a Beta limitation, or I could just be too dumb to figure out it right now, but it's a pretty severe limitation in my eyes.
Over the next few months, I'd like to post more structured reviews. I haven't perused the various newsgroups/boards/blogs that I assume are vehemently discussing gmail's virtues and flaws, so perhaps what I have to say is made moot by all those other sources. But my main interest in gmail is how it might be extended into a viable alternative to current corporate e-mail clients, more specifically Outlook, which is the corporate e-mail solution I have the pleasure of dealing with right now. I don't view gmail as a server solution (a la Exchange) or a collaboration solution (a la SharePoint); rather, I see gmail as an e-mail/webmail interface solution, competing with the likes of Yahoo!Mail and Hotmail in the personal market, but with potential to compete with Outlook and Thunderbird in the corporate market. In that light, my reviews will concentrate on the day-to-day operations of an e-mail client in a business setting.

June 18, 2004 8:15 am

I'm going to include the above graphically mismatched banner on this site for the next 15 days because I think it's a fantastic idea and I don't feel like filling in the white background with purple. They've been doing Free Comic Book Day for quite a few years now, and with the industry evolving into ever more genres and styles, it's totally worth checking out. Now go find a participating retailer near you!

June 15, 2004 8:45 am

Vacations are never long enough. I'm back from Seattle and I must say, it was exactly what I needed. Hanging around a great location with great friends and having no work to do is one of the best feelings in the world. I'm already aching to go back.

Cyrus's tv did in fact arrive, though I don't have pictures because we were too lazy to dig up the usb cord for his digicam. So maybe sometime later I'll post them. Cyrus had to work on Wed and most of Thurs was spent buying various cables and components to ensure the tvís power was fully realized. At one point, we went to get dinner, but ended up spending hours at Fry's until we were eventually kicked out. I wish they were on the east coast - that store is such a techno playground.

On Friday we saw Mix, which was part of the Film Festival. The scarcity of reviews in English, the dubious imdb rating (how the hell does their weighted vote work? It seems unduly lopsided in this case), and the sketchy promos all made me both intrigued and skeptical at the same time. I was pleasantly surprised, though. While some moments were a bit contrived, the movie had great heart, well executed pacing, decent acting, and a unique soundtrack that I really enjoyed. Plus, with a poster like this, how can you lose?

In addition to seeing the movie on Friday, we ate at I Love Sushi, my favorite sushi place in Seattle. The trick to eating at "I Love" is to order the Omakase, which is the chef's choice. You tell the chef you want $25 or $30 or $40 worth of fish (sushi and/or sashimi) and he makes that much food for you, using his own creative talents and knowledge of the fresh ingredients in-house that night. It's one of the best ways to try out new dishes, and quite delicious. One of the things I miss the most about Seattle is definitely the quality seafood. I love it so much that I even brought back 3 pounds of fish with me, fresh from Pike's Market.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. The city is beautiful, the people are beautiful, and if there's one thing I wish I could change about my current life, it's that this life should be taking place in Seattle rather than the armpit that is New Jersey. Ah, well. Perhaps sometime in the future, my body will follow my heart back to the Rainy City.

June 10, 2004 3:00 am

The fun continues in Seattle. On Monday, Mikey arrived and we set about exploring the city. We wanted to see a contemporary painters exhibit at the art museum, but turns out on Mondays only members can view the gallery. The guy at the lobby was an ass about it too. So after that suckage, we went to see the new public library downtown, which turned out to be an amazing building. The design is very modern industrial - all the shelves are silver metallic and there are neon accents and corrugated steel stairs. It looks kind of like a giant robot filled with books. You can see how awesome it is here.

In addition to wandering the city, we also saw Infernal Affairs, a cop drama from Hong Kong. It had won a ton of awards in Asia, and while it was a good movie, it didn't astound me or anything. Though, it did make me realize that it's tough doing hardcore SIFF with others. I'm thinking next year I should simply rent a car. Then I don't need to make sure the movie interests everyone, and there would be no need to bother people for rides everywhere. Or I guess I could do some research and plan out bus routes prior to coming here.

Yesterday, we went TV shopping for Cyrus, which was a ton of fun. He was in the market for something big and flat, and we finally settled on a 43 inch Samsung DLP. It was quite the deal, with 24 months of 0% financing and a free stand. It's supposed to be delivered tomorrow, and so far the official list for breaking it in consists of The Matrix, The Rock, and Toy Story 2. I certainly hope it gets all set up while I'm still here - if so, there will definitely be pictures posted!

June 7, 2004 2:00 pm

These past few days have only confirmed that Seattle is my favoite city in the U.S. I love being surrounded by water, seeing the top of Mt. Rainer rising in the distant clouds, catching the lights twinkling from lakeshore mansions, laughing in the tempermental rain, strolling into pubs and lounges full of engaging people, and soaking in an alternative culture without the tiresome angst found in so many other places. There is something magical here, something that moves me.

On Sat, Cyrus and I went shopping on Broadway. I was very much tempted to pick up a pair of absolutely stunning 6 inch black vinyl heels. You know, the kind you see in porn and fetish spreads, but damn, my feet looked good in them. I have no idea when I would wear them, seeing as how the angle and height make mobility impossible. But I just might give in...I have the remainder of the week to decide!

In addition to the awesome shopping, we also caught a live concert with Captain Smartypants, a subset of the Seattle Men's Chorus. They were extremely talented and witty - great covers and originals, all infused with an indescribable sense of...well...giddiness might be the best word. I mean, look at them:

I checked out Charlie and Clif's new place on Sunday (well, it wasn't that new, but new to me!). They have an awesome view of the city and harbor, and the apt interior is pretty damn nice to boot. It's located downtown, so they're close to all the little shops and restaurants. I don't know Clif as well as I know Charlie, but it was good to see them both again. It's amazing that it's already been a whole year since last we spoke face to face. Life speeds along and all we can do is hope our grip on the people we care about doesn't get torn in the backdraft. I miss everyone out here quite a bit - it's painfully evident how much they mean to me.

Speaking of people I miss, it's time for more shennanigans with Cyrus! Perhaps more posting will occur later!

June 5, 2004 11:00 am

My boss's son is part of a program that pairs elementary school kids with U.S. soldiers in Iraq as pen pals. The most recent letter sent to his son was accompanied by two 250 New Iraqi Dinar bills. For his son, the bills were awesome show-and-tell fodder. For those of us in finance and politics, the bills were a symbol of an evolving Iraqi market. Along with new currency comes all sorts of interesting economic implications, and I'm very curious as to how Iraq's commerce will be shaped in the next decade. So it was really neat that my boss brought the bills to work with him one day and let everyone touch a piece of history.

While there are several pictures of various denominations of the redesigned Iraqi Dinars posted online, I figured I'd scan the bill from the soldier and post the images here:

250 New Iraqi Dinar, front:

250 New Iraqi Dinar, back:

I personally find the engraving and coloring quite beautiful. It's such a shame that U.S. money is so fucking ugly. What you can't see from the scan is the watermark of a horse's head and neck in the large, oval, blue blank space, and a security strip that runs from top to bottom of the bill, opposite the side with the watermark. And just for shits and giggles, I've posted the older versions of the 250 Iraqi Dinar, which contained images of Saddam. You know, if I were a dictator, I'd put my mugshot on the currency too:

250 Iraqi Dinar, 1994: 250 Iraqi Dinar, 2002:

For more info, check out the offical site of the Iraqi Coalition Provision Authority (CPA). Aside from the currency FAQ, the site also has lots of interesting propaganda concerning the future of Iraq in all areas, from reconstruction to investment to food supplies. Another site to check out is the Program Management Office arm of the CPA. Granted, these are American sites with an obvious agenda to promote, but it's worth reading, if only to see where our proponents stand on the whole messy business.

See archived entries for May 2004.
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