Monday, November 24, 2008

Postcards from Mexico, part deux

Got a text from my cousin yesterday, she has now received her postcard (sent in August) as well. WTF? One to go!

Here are some ideas for future taglines for the Baja California Sur's postal system:
  • 67% chance your mail will arrive, 0% chance it'll be within 2 months (not catchy enough)
  • It's not really mail if there's no mystery to it!
  • If you forgot you sent it, then it's a surprise when it arrives!
  • Better late than never (too obvious)
  • Good things happen to those who wait (see above)
  • Every send begins with dismay
  • You probably should have sent it by media mail.
  • You've held your breath 78 trillion times, and it's finally here!
  • If you really, really want to send it, you shouldn't here
  • You'll never know where it's been before it got to you
  • You could have swum it to your destination faster
  • Expedience is not our forte
  • What's service?
  • We don't hurry (or We're in no hurry)
  • Make sure the recipient is under 50
  • Where every delivery is like unearthing a time capsule
  • Mexico to the USA, and everywhere in between, 308 times.
  • Every send is an adventure
I really should use less exclamation points.

80s Tribute to DC's 12th Man

I think it's pretty weaksauce for a blogger to post a YouTube video only to say "This is awesome" and leave it at that. I'm going to do the same thing, more or less, so sorry in advance.

I was reading Chris Cooley's blog (he's a tight end on the Redskins), and he (or one of his co-writers) had this hilariously, awesome old school video posted. Here are some 1980s Redskins singing a tribute to their fans:

Sports will continue to thrive so long as dedicated fans support their favorite athletes and teams. As a sports fan, it's nice to be reminded occasionally that my "fandom" is appreciated by these teams and athletes. Even if it's in a reprise of something created before I could do long division.

For the record, I am more of a Steelers fan. Though if this were a Cowboys or Patriots video, I almost certainly would have neglected to post. Enjoy.

Addendum -- After further Cooley blog/YouTube research, here are some more 1980s/90s NFL treasures:

L.A. Rams (remember when they were there?) The Rammers -- "Ram It"
  • "If you ram it just right, you can ram it all night"
Miami Dolphins rap Cory and the Fins -- "Can't Touch Us"
  • "Makin' 'em sweat, that's why they're sore"
  • Zubaz pants sightings throughout!
1986 L.A. (not Oakland) Raiders and the "Silver and Black Attack"
  • Howie Long (Hall of Famer-turned-FOX NFL Sunday broadcaster) raps at 0:46
  • "I love to sit on those running backs"

Friday, November 21, 2008

Uggh, Bobby Flay

I've seen The Food Network show Throwdown with Bobby Flay a pretty embarrassing number of times. And I swear, the skeezeball wins just about every time I watch. Grrrrr.

I just wanna smack that smug look right off his face when critics sample his food, and most especially, when he wins.


Portrait of a smug jerk.
Credits: The Ghetto Gourmet Chronicles

By the way, I gotta say, I'm not that impressed with his throwdown skills since he always has a training staff dispensing ingredient secrets before he makes his concoction. How talented are you if you have a team helping you make your recipes? And know your challenge beforehand?

I'd love to see ol' Bobby compete without his entourage preparing him. Granted he'd probably still win all the time, meh, but at least it would be more fair. It's not like the competing chefs know in advance what's coming.

Don't worry Bobby, I'll still watch your show. I'll just never root for you.

(Does anyone ever root for the guy by the way? Just curious.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Postal hilarity

So I got a phone call from my Mom tonight, apparently she just got my postcard from when I went to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico... which I sent in mid-AUGUST!

We stayed in a hotel in Los Cabos, which was about halfway between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, where the airport was. All three are in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, so basically the southern tip of Baja California, on the Pacific Ocean.

Mom said the postmark was from San Jose del Cabo and was dated in October. I don't know what to be more distraught by, the incompetence of the hotel's mailing "system" which resulted in a postcard sent in August not to get postmarked for two months, or the Mexican/U.S. postal services which took another month to get the card to my mother.

Nice hotel. Sweet deal on Priceline. Incompetent mailing system.

I sent two other postcards from the area (San Jose del Cabo) as well, but those I sent from the airport, which I assumed would have been the more competent of the two mailing locations. As of today, neither of the other two would-be recipients had received their postcards. Shocking.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lazy Wednesday

So instead of doing the piles of work I have to do today, I've decided it's time to map my route back to the V-A for my December move.

I know "Google maps is the best" but I prefer MapQuest, and from what I hear, it's a good one too.

Did you know MapQuest had a new feature, the draggable route? I sure didn't. So if you don't like the route it selected, now you can grab and drag the recommended route on the map to incorporate cities, towns, or other sites without having to re-enter all your data. Don't want to drive the interstate and prefer to drive along the coast? Now you can change your route in seconds. Awesome! I've wanted this feature for so long and now it's finally here.

Anyway, I'm probably asking the wrong audience, but does anyone have any routes to the East Coast that are tried, true, and loved? All the routes will end up in the 1400-1700 miles range it seems like, and I'm planning to take 3 days for the drive.

Last time, from Richmond to Austin, we took I-95 South from Richmond to I-85 around Petersburg, cut down to Atlanta, where we saw a Braves game and spent the night. Day 2 we took I-20 west to Vicksburg, Mississippi and looked around at Civil War stuff, put my feet in the Mississippi River (nerdy right?), and we spent the night somewhere in Louisiana. Day 3 we continued westward to Austin via I-20 for a bit and then took mostly back roads through east Texas until we got to I-35.

Anyway, the stops were decent on I-85 (plenty of good BBQ haunts in NC to choose from), but I-20 seemed like the dullest, most uneventful stretch of highway I've ever driven. Alabama's section of the interstate was laden with construction zones and speed limits in the 30s and 40s. So frustrating.

So for the ride back I'm loosely debating one of two routes (though I'm open to other suggestions and variations of those below):
  • Texas - Arkansas - Tennessee - Virginia. This route is the fastest, but how much does that matter to save two hours on a three-day trip? I'm unsure. This route takes I-35 to Dallas, then winds through a long stretches of Arkansas and Tennessee before reaching the Old Dominion. It's a 23 hour, 15 minute ride covering 1500 miles. (Compared to my Richmond to Austin trip in 2007, which was 23 1/2 hours, but about 15 miles shorter -- wowww.)

  • Texas - Louisiana - Mississippi - Alabama - Florida - Georgia - South Carolina - North Carolina - Virginia. This 25-hour route crosses through nine states and would essentially use I-10 East from Houston to Jacksonville and then 95 North, back to Virginia. It would cover 1640 miles.
Any thoughts? Are Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville better for stops or Baton Rouge, Biloxi, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, (and a bunch of NC/SC/GA places I've been to before)? Anyone?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The future of Pam Beesley?

You may have already heard this proposal if I've talked to you in the past two days, but I think I have a great idea on a new job for ol' Pammy (and don't call me Pammy) on The Office:



SPOILER ALERT: Pam's back in Scranton. Ostensibly, for good. She has Pratt graphic design experience behind her, whether or not she likes it. So maybe she's not the master of Flash, and doesn't like making logos. Doesn't mean she doesn't have a future ahead of her utilizing those (other) art skills in another context like advertising.

And Vance Refrigeration doesn't seem like a big enough company to do their advertising off-site or at an agency. Read into the show much? In-house advertising is a very feasible option for Pam's character.

If ol' Pam works at VR, she could talk all day on the phone to Jim. (Vance Refrigeration is Dunder Mifflin's neighborhood business in the Scranton Business Park.) And she could attend lots of Dunder Mifflin gatherings. Not to mention be there for lunches mid-day.

Just saying.

This set-up would still give her interactions with other Office characters. And according to this week's preview, Toby will be back this week. Interesting...

By the way, to echo a friend's very astute observation... has Pam ever looked more radiant than she did sitting on the hood of Jim's car, waiting for him to get out of work during last week's episode? I think not.

Oh Dwight -- your eternal creepiness -- you never disappoint.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lil J's hair is stupid

I don't know what's the dumbest though: the fact that I watch Gossip Girl, the fact that I'm blogging about it, or that I'm deluding myself into thinking I have any fashion sense, especially regarding hairstyles.

Here's Lil J's old look (as in up until a few weeks ago on the show):

Cute, wholesome, girl-next-door. If only she had a non-bratty, friendly personality to match.

Her new look:

"OMG, I'm like 15 and totally angry," her hair practically screams at me.

While this can be a cute look, and very edgy designer-esque, it seems to just follow what the show does wrong -- overemphasize stereotypes. When Jenny dropped out of high school in order to jumpstart her fashion design career, of course she started looking artsy and acting the part. OMG trendy haircut, and a new BFF that's a model. And the photogs, booze, parties, sudden popularity! A whole new lifestyle and scene within a matter of moments of dropping out of her glamorous, uppity Upper East Side prep school. Because that's how life works.

Just like Vanessa (worst character on the show by the way), Jenny now has so many "of course she would" moments. Vanessa couldn't be any more stereotypically Brooklyn. She's in the know about hipster everything -- she works at a coffeeshop, is an aficionado of the arts, and always has a political agenda to stomp out whatever corporate mogul sets sight on her neighborhood. If that wasn't enough, she delivers all of her lines with a permanent pout and holier-than-thou attitude. And wouldn't you know it, everything she wears is over-the-top vintage. And she's apparently a dazzling standardized test taker but is too cool for traditional education. Undercover book smarts. Of course. I wish I was making this all up. Gag.

Anyway, what do you think about Jenny's new frock? I think the crazy eye makeup makes it less severe, but I still prefer the old look. In tonight's episode she had her hair pulled back and it looked atrocious. Very much like my elementary school classmates in the 80s who had bangs starting past the midpoint of their heads. A real golden age in hairstyles if you ask me. Nothing like bangs harkening comparisons to ye olde mullet.

Well if you aren't sold on how she looked before, here's how she looks in real life with the new 'do and without the help of the Gossip Girl makeup staff:


Friday, November 7, 2008

Magic Eye Syndrome

So I was reading a friend's blog yesterday, and she had a nice, funny post about Photoshop Disasters, a pretty self-explanatory blog on -- you guessed it -- Photoshop disasters. Art directors, graphic designers, and Photoshop enthusiasts alike swear by this site. I'll be the first to admit it though, sometimes I see the errors, and other times, I can stare at an image for ten minutes and not be able to identify what's wrong with it.

All this time I've chalked up my visual ineptitude to being unobservant, blind, or some other unquantifiable variety of incompetent. But I've finally realized my dilemma. It's because I have Magic Eye Syndrome.

Magic Eye Syndrome of course, is no real ailment. And if it is, I feel like it only affects me.

Ever since 3rd grade or whenever those Magic Eye books hit bookstores, I've always felt like a loser. Everyone raved about those optical illusions, and how when they stared at them they could always see the unmistakable shape of ______ just leaping out of the page.

I never could see these things! Every time I've started to see one, I got so excited that I lost it somewhere on the way. Why must this always happen to me?!! (See the answer to the one above at the end of the post.)

I can't tell you how many times over the years that I've faked that I've solved a Magic Eye. No one wants to admit to being the only person in an elementary school class that they can't see it! I'm still a little embarrassed about it. I was just like Rachel on Friends when she had an ultrasound and pretended she could see her baby on the screen. Ross pointed it out to her and she said she saw it, cried, and then admitted to not seeing it. He re-pointed it out, and the process repeated over and over. Wow, that hit too close to home. Oh my God, I'm going to be that same awful mother someday!

Anyway, to this day I'll never understand why so many people raved about Magic Eye over the years. Do that many people really see the "subliminal" images? Or is the world full of fakers like me afraid to own up to their inability to solve them? And why on earth did these things cause such a fuss in the 90s?

I will now return back to looking at Photoshop Disasters, where I'll likely not see what everyone is laughing at. But hey, then again maybe it'll be in the 30% of the time I get it and laugh with everyone else -- not lying! I much prefer my odds in Photoshop Disasters (a 30% chance is way much more encouraging than 0% after all).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Graduation! Inauguration! The East Coast of this great nation!

So, you may have heard that this Illinois senator guy is like, going to be like, W's successor, or something.

And that he totally took this giant paintbrush and painted a whole lot of red parts of the US map blue.

Yes, Barack Obama is going to be our nation's 44th President. I couldn't be more excited about giving the ol' Dems a shot at changing things and hopefully turning back the demolition the Bush administration has wreaked on our country. Yes the man may have preached Hope and Change ad nauseum, but is there a better solution to our status quo? Doubtful. I'm just relieved not to have to go through another four more years of the Dub (or someone whose vote aligns with him 90% of the time). Hey, and listening to a phenomenal orator never hurt anyone.

And I'm so proud of traditionally red Virginia for going blue. You'd never guess from the map below, but I'm OK with that! So maybe my hometown still went McCain (64% to 35%, no surprise there), but I'm so happy for my state on the whole. And it looks like they finally counted all the ballots in North Carolina, which was split 50% to 50%... but Obama took the state by a slim margin of 14,000 votes.


Anyway, this is all besides the point. I graduate in December! Yeyyyy. I'm moving back to the East Coast (back to ACC Country, thank God!). I'll be able to watch teams I care about to my heart's content. I'll be driving distance (err, less than a day) from Boston, New York, Philly, Baltimore, DC, Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte, Charleston, Savannah, Atlanta, wherever. I miss that. Immensely. And the beaches, oh the beaches.

I mean no disrespect Texas or Austin; I've enjoyed my stay. And I'm reaaally going to miss this place. There's just really no place like home.

So I just realized that since I'll be back in the Commonwealth (Virginia for those not quite as obsessed with the state as me) starting in mid-December, that means I'll be back in time for the Presidential Inauguration in January! Sweet. No idea if I'll actually go or be able to, but the possibility is making me excitedly squirm in my seat.

Also, I can't wait to put my advertising education into practice. Art direction? Copywriting? Account planning? Other advertising? Sports marketing? Journalism? PR? Graphic design? I may not know 100% what I want to do, or where I'll end up, but I'm ready to be put to work, get paid to do what I love, and not have homework. Oh yeah, and being able to afford rent would be a welcome change.

Fun times await and I'm anxious to get started. Err, well after a nice relaxing Christmas that is. Ol' Barack and I have big goals for 2009, and I think we're ready to take 'em on!

*Apologies for my inclusion of more percentages here than on any post to this point.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Virginia is for free speech haters

Why are we having issues with free speech again? And in Charlottesville again no less!

A friend of mine sent me this. Basically, the Daily Progress, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., reported that "Voters at polling places who refuse to remove buttons, T-shirts or other apparel with political messages will face possible misdemeanor charges," per the Virginia Code.

What sort of charges? Try up to a year in prison or a $2,500 fine! But hey, that's OK, because at least you still get to vote before they haul you away!

Virginia § 24.2-604 states:

A. During the times the polls are open and ballots are being counted, it shall be unlawful for any person (i) to loiter or congregate within 40 feet of any entrance of any polling place; (ii) within such distance to give, tender, or exhibit any ballot, ticket, or other campaign material to any person or to solicit or in any manner attempt to influence any person in casting his vote; or (iii) to hinder or delay a qualified voter in entering or leaving a polling place.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

D. It shall be unlawful for any authorized representative, voter, or any other person in the room to (i) hinder or delay a qualified voter; (ii) give, tender, or exhibit any ballot, ticket, or other campaign material to any person; (iii) solicit or in any manner attempt to influence any person in casting his vote; (iv) hinder or delay any officer of election; or (v) otherwise impede the orderly conduct of the election.

E. The officers of election may require any person who is found by a majority of the officers present to be in violation of this section to remain outside of the prohibited area. Any person violating subsection A or D of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.


Needless to say (and rightfully so), the Virginia ACLU and a couple of Charlottesville-area groups are stepping in and voicing their disgust for this blatant infringement of free speech.

Didn't we just (finally) turn over the sign ban at UVA sporting events? Why is this issue resurfacing again?

And aren't those eligible to vote (18+) mature enough to not be swayed by someone else's innocuous campaign button or t-shirt while in line? C'mon now, we aren't that stupid, are we?

I'm curious to see how many people press the issue at the polls this Tuesday...