Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Top 10 of 2008 (in no particular order)

December 31, 2008

I arguably saw much fewer movies and listened to much fewer music than most this year. I’ve been both broke and just plain bored. It’s not that any of it is good or bad; it’s just been done. I dunno. Anyway, from what I did see or hear or experience, obviously there were some standouts.

  1. The Dark Knight: It took me forever to see this movie, because everyone saw it opening weekend & I was broke. But, when I finally did (at the IMAX, no less), I was floored. I love how raw the new cycle of Batman movies are, but every bit was just one “woah” after “gasp”, & I have yet to get tired of my dvd. It was dark, brilliant, and yes, Heath Ledger was so perfectly amoral. It took twists I didn’t expect, and I loved it.
  2. WALL-E: adorable, funny, endearing. Best Disney/Pixar yet.
  3. Milk: A very late contender, but one that warrants a place on any list. This film holds such an important story of hope and need for general equality that I honestly had no idea about up until a few months ago. It’s crazy how much the protests to Prop 6 resemble so much what we’ve seen recently against Prop 8, and just how long some fights have gone on.
  4. Cloverfield: This was just a good straight-up sci-fi/action film that utilized the more realistic handheld camera technique AND an eerie web campaign (complete with character myspace profiles!) that was pretty refreshing.
  5. Dear & the Headlights & Drunk Like Bible Times: Any sort of bias aside, you have to give the band so much credit. Great material, skilled musicians, a lot of heart, and genuinely nice guys to boot. It took going back to the first album (which is also rather great) just to see the growth and how clean the second record is. More than anything, the band’s style is so varied that its hard to get tired of the songs.
  6. Girl Talk & Feed the Animals: I’m not incredibly in tune with the mash-up scene, but when a friend “forced” it on me, I couldn’t pass it up (he tends to have good taste). Listening to Girl Talk is like playing a game of how many samples can you name in one song, and its quite possibly the best thing ever. It’s not at all background music – it’ll steal your focus too much for that. And a special note that any cube dancing will earn you comments from co-workers.
  7. We Are Scientists & Brain Thrust Mastery: I was hooked on this immediately with “After Hours” on the Slacker indie station earlier in the year, and when I finally downloaded the album, I felt warped into some weirdly awesome 1986/2008 universe. I’m not sure if that’s just me, but it hit various points of indie-pop goodness that was both original & homage-ish… again, that could be just me. Whatever, it’s damn good.
  8. Boston, MA: I was in Beantown for a solid 5 days, and while it would’ve been nice to NOT be wandering alone, the city has a lot of charm & character, along with an endless supply of Dunkin Donuts coffee. Of course, throw me in the mix with awesome mass transit, and I’m kinda sold.
  9. Washington, DC: Spent a few short days here before Boston, and was just in awe of everything. It’d been years since I’d seen DC, and even though I did a number of touristy things, walking around Capital Hill at night with the streets near empty was easily one of the most peaceful moments I’ve had all year. I also walked away from this city with one of my favorite photographs to date.
  10. Barack Obama: I know I said unranked, but really, this is by far the best thing to come out of 2008. Obama aligns so close with my political ideals, but his centrist rhetoric and ACTIONS are just clamoring to bring this country together in a way it hasn’t seen in so long. And I really have such a great deal of hope in not just what he can do as president, but also what his leadership style can do for our government. I know people with have their disagreements with his philosophies, but in the end, I just know they’ll see… they’ll see. I don’t even want to fight with anyone about it anymore; we’ll all see.

Honorable mention: NPR

Christmas Day Link Post

December 25, 2008

Festivities are over, I’ve received both books I wanted, & tomorrow I return to work (for a short day). Hope the holidays were merry!


The Shoe Heard Round the World (Op-Ed by John Kenney feat. a few other uncommon cultural insults)

Growing up in the world of “The Wire” (“Sometimes, it’s not enough to give kids who come from a world like ‘The Wire’ the chance to get out. They also have to be convinced that they deserve it.”)

A Healthy Addiction (944 Magazine features Yogurtini, the Valley’s first self-serve frozen yogurt shop)

White House Memo & The Right to Dissolve the Constitution (So… Cheney=bad. Got it.)

Arianna Huffington’s Scuzzy Copying Pisses Off Chicagoans (This sad excuse for laziness would’ve never passed the common university plagiarism scanner. Academic Dishonesty FTW.)


Snow around Vancouver (from the photovancouver LJ community; I can die happy, kthx.)

Dreaming of a White Christmas


Skip the Sleeping Pills (Alternatives to possibly addictive OTC medications, via Lifehacker)

9 Strong Reasons to Eat Slowly (via Lifehacker)

Frugal Living:

How to Live Easily Without that Satellite Package (I did something similiar in cancelling my digital cable, and my only void? Soccer. le sigh. via Consumerist)

Misc Web Finds:

14 Ways to use Twitter politely

11 Words that Sound Offensive, but Aren’t (Assagai! Prickmadam!)

20 Amazing & Essential Non-fiction Books to Enrich Your Library (& I’m not just linking this because he included Fever Pitch! Really!)

Christmas 2008: Year of the Craft

December 23, 2008

Being one of the poor folk, I’ve decided the best route for Christmas gifts this year would be to make them! So I scoured the internet (briefly) to come up with ideas, and settled on three areas: chocolate, candles, & photos. I spent roughly $58 at Michael’s the day after Christmas and about $15 since on materials, and so far, I’ve only ventured into the chocolate side. And that has been a big success!

For the candies, I bought Wiltmon Candy Melts (Light Cocoa, Dark Cocoa, White Vanilla *which tastes somehow like white chocolate*, Red Vanilla, Green Vanilla, & Peanut Butter), a few molds, and sticks for lollipops. Instead of buying unnecessary candy melt bags, I just used sandwich bags, floating them in hot water until everything was melted, and cut off the corner of the bag. It was a bit messy while it was super hot, but all in all, it separated from the molds very easily, and they only had to sit in the fridge for 10 minutes.

The overall response from coworkers & friends has been very good, and I’m gonna make what is left for Christmas Day with the peppermint & creme de menthe (!!) I found. It’s a pretty simple process, so I highly recommend it!

A Walk Through London

December 17, 2008

(via Londonist)

Is “hooking up” replacing “dating”?

December 15, 2008

From the New York Times opinion page, Charles E. Blow writes:

“…When I first heard about hooking up years ago, I figured that it was a fad that would soon fizzle. I was wrong. It seems to be becoming the norm.

I should point out that just because more young people seem to be hooking up instead of dating doesn’t mean that they’re having more sex (they’ve been having less, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or having sex with strangers (they’re more likely to hook up with a friend, according to a 2006 paper in the Journal of Adolescent Research).

To help me understand this phenomenon, I called Kathleen Bogle, a professor at La Salle University in Philadelphia who has studied hooking up among college students and is the author of the 2008 book, “Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus.”

It turns out that everything is the opposite of what I remember. Under the old model, you dated a few times and, if you really liked the person, you might consider having sex. Under the new model, you hook up a few times and, if you really like the person, you might consider going on a date.

I asked her to explain the pros and cons of this strange culture. According to her, the pros are that hooking up emphasizes group friendships over the one-pair model of dating, and, therefore, removes the negative stigma from those who can’t get a date. As she put it, “It used to be that if you couldn’t get a date, you were a loser.” Now, she said, you just hang out with your friends and hope that something happens.

The cons center on the issues of gender inequity. Girls get tired of hooking up because they want it to lead to a relationship (the guys don’t), and, as they get older, they start to realize that it’s not a good way to find a spouse. Also, there’s an increased likelihood of sexual assaults because hooking up is often fueled by alcohol…”

A commenter from Ontario, Canada responds:

“You slid past the point about group friendships. Kids don’t date because they go out in groups. Instead of pairing off, they bond with a community. They still get to know each other deeply; they spend time together, they talk, they connect. They just don’t do it one-on-one.

Part of the change is that it’s now taken for granted that boys and girls can be friends without being boyfriends and girlfriends. In the bad old dating days, you only really got to know a single person of the opposite sex. Now, you get to know everyone in your group. If and when a hook-up happens between members of a group, the participants may well know each other better than many dating couples did. A date, after all, is explicitly a sexual audition; that can narrow down the experience much more than just hanging out with friends and talking platonically about anything. Group-oriented kids are getting to know each other in a non-sexual context first. If sex comes along later, that’s hardly surprising given the state of teen hormones…but don’t jump to the conclusion that they’re absolute strangers before hooking up. Of course that happens, but it’s hardly the norm.”

Then, a New York local adds:

“Some comments have characterized hooking-up as an attack on feminism. As a young feminist myself, I see it quite the opposite. One of the key factors contributing to the rise of a hook-up culture has to be the rise of womens’ sexual agency and a broader understanding of sexuality in general. Both of those social changes are attributable to the feminist movement. Hook-ups are not about women being forced to hyper-sexualize themselves for the benefit of men, but about women having the agency to engage in sexual activity without social reprise or stigma.”

I can’t tell if the original piece polarizes the youth/young adult generation too much by saying the only way to date is to do it the traditional way.