Monday, February 23, 2009

Long Lost Twins? #2

Last time, I compared how MADTv's Nicole Parker and actress Tara Summers looked alike.
This time, after watching the Oscars (which were awesome) I noticed a striking resemblance between the star of "W" and most recently "Milk", Josh Brolin, and 007 star Pierce Brosnan. See the similarities?

Published Post Number:110/116
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Oscars Were Great

Sure, Jon Stewart has a great show on Comedy Central, but him hosting the Oscars just plain sucked. So with Hugh Jackman hosting the 81st Academy Awards yesterday, it breathed new life into the show. His hilarious musical opening along with an "impromptu" inclusion with Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway, accompanied with his jokes throughout the show made it a lot more fun to watch over the previous years' shows. In addition, the use of five previous Oscar winners in major categories such as Best Actress, Actor, Supporting Actors in introducing and toasting this year's nominees was new and touching. The great use of the five movable screens (mostly for the previous toasts) to showcase this past year's numerous films in numerous categories really made the entire show entertaining. This was mostly a move to get viewers interested in going to the movies in 2009 despite the bad economy. In addition, the show managed to cut itself down to 3.5 hours (8:30 - 12), the shortest that I've ever seen.

For a complete list of nominees and winners, and for even more detailed recaps, visit the official Oscars website.

Published Post Number:109/115
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No More Flying and Driving Without a License

Sad news from the aviation and train simulation games world - Microsoft has canceled the production of their sequel, Train Simulator 2 as well as closing the production team for their more than a quarter-century long enterprise, Flight Simulator. Both games were pretty fun to play and will be sorely missed. Train Simulator had been canceled several years earlier, but was restarted shortly after that. Flight Simulator has had 10 releases in 27 years, making it the longest-running video game franchise. This announcements comes along with Microsoft's decision to cut 5,000 jobs worldwide.

Published Post Number:108/114
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Monday, February 16, 2009

R160s on the E!

In a previous post, I gave my account of the exhilaration I felt when I saw new trains, the R160, being tested on the F line. Just recently, I got videos of two R160s in revenue operation on the E line. The end of the video also has some oddities in a new sticker the MTA put on those new trains.

Link to my YouTube video-watch in HD!

Published Post Number:107/113
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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cooper Union Builds (a New Building & its Status)

Cooper Union New Logo
The Cooper Union embarked on the construction of a New Academic Building in 2004, and the building (scheduled for completion last week) will most likely be opened in time for classes in the 2009 Fall semester. Located on Third Avenue between 6-7th Sts, the 8 floor building will actually be 20% smaller than the current Engineering Building, located a block away and scheduled to be torn down and leased to a developer. It will have spaces for students from all of the schools at Cooper (Art, Architecture, and Engineering) as well as being New York City's first "green" academic building. It will surpass Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC's challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by possibly obtaining LEED Platinum status, a measure of a building's environmental friendliness. The building, originally estimated to cost $94 million initially, is now expected to cost $157.9 million (school paper). However, this cost is expected to increase, as the way some of the concrete floors were poured resulted in a slanted floor.
>>>A Daily Dose of Architecture has some shots from January 2009.

In addition, last week The New York Times published a story regarding Cooper's large increase in early decision applications this year - 70% - a huge jump from increases of 5-10% annually. As one of the nation's most competitive colleges, with an acceptance rate of roughly 8%, it is also one of the few colleges that provide all students with a full-tuition scholarship. With the prices of attending both private and public universities increasing, this college is especially attractive in today's slowing economy, and its Board of Directors has even recently voted to not raise the prices of mandatory student "lab" fees for the 2009 Fall Semester.

Also, the Cooper Union recently unveiled their new logo (as seen above) as part of their rebranding campaign which also celebrates its 150th Anniversary. The logo can be explained by an interview with its designer here.

Published Post Number: 106/112

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Bacon Explosion Looks Chinese

The Bacon Explosion, a bacon and sausage combo released by some barbecuers, looks like roast/Peking duck, a popular delicacy in Chinese cuisine. Just a lot more unhealthy.

Published Post Number: 105/111

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What Happens When a New Building meets New Year

An investigation is underway, but early reports say that fireworks/firecracker activity in celebration of the Chinese New Year near the new Television Cultural Center (TVCC) in Beijing, China may have caused the building to be engulfed in flames. A Daily Dose of Architecture covers it with local video here, and what the building looked like afterwards is provided here.

Published Post Number (PPN):104/110

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gantt Reappointed

David Gantt, the man infamous for screwing over New York City's traffic enforcement cameras as well as defeating funding for new bus-lane traffic cameras has been reelected to his position as chairman of the State Assembly's Transportation Committee. By Sheldon Silver. Even the New York Times called for Gantt's removal. SHAME ON SILVER!

Published Post Number (PPN):103/109

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Taylor Swift... an awesome singer.
Music video for "Love Story":

Music video for "White Horse":

Published Post Number (PPN):102/108

Monday, February 9, 2009

Grammy's Out of Touch

Who are Robert Plant and Alison Krauss? And how did they win 5 Grammys with their folk album? They beat out the most popular and best artists this year, including but not limited to M.I.A., Katy Perry, Ne-Yo, Leona Lewis, Coldplay, Sara Bareilles and more!

>>>51st Annual Grammy's Award List

Published Post Number (PPN):101/107

Thursday, February 5, 2009

HAPPY 100!!!


Yes, this is my 100th published post (more about the number at the end) and I just wanted to give a recap of my more than a year of posts while being a little self-congratulatory! My first post was published Wednesday, January 23, 2008 (Oops, forgot to celebrate that) on Mayor Bloomberg's new coalition with California Governor Schwarzenegger to build a better America (I misspelled the title when I first published it, hence the 'ayor' in the URL. :P)

Shortly after that, I started posting about the shortfalls and criticisms of the Bush Administration. Throughout the year, I published more of that but also included events in my personal life (such as my graduation), politics-especially about the 2008 Presidential Election, my position that the environment needs to get more attention and action, and better healthcare. I also moved my news reporting from my site to the blog.

As the year progressed, and I became a commuter, I began to be very passionate about the funding woes for New York City's (and the nation's) mass transit systems. I have watched the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's fiscal situation (MTA) go from somewhat hopeful (May) to desperate (today).

If I had to pick my most descriptive and passionate posts, I would have to go with Car #1224, and my series of posts about what an extraordinary mayor Mike Bloomberg is (he is one of my heroes.)

So, although I know that I don't have that much of a constant readership, and no one really does comment (maybe I should switch to Wordpress?), I will continue to blog about everything that happens in my life and in the world. I have always been lost before I started blogging; I've always wanted to share some info or thought with the rest of the world, but never truly had the means until this blog (I did experiment with posting my thoughts on a Geocities page, but haven't maintained it in a long while.) So thanks for reading through this celebratory post and for reliving my thoughts with me and I hope you will continue to come by every now and then. And of course, comments are always welcome. Just be nice. :)

Last but not least, posts in the past week or two have included a "PostID." This is mainly for administrative purposes; a way to let me know the # of published posts / the # of unpublished posts (drafts). This has now given way to the "Published Post Number (PPN)," that is until I, in my rush to send a post hot from my keypad out inadvertently change it to something more easily remembered (PPID).

Published Post Number (PPN):100!/106

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Say NO to Boxer/Inhofe Amendment

Currently, there is an amendment for the stimulus package proposed by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK) - Inhofe is a global warming denier - that would kill mass transit funding and give $50 billion for highway construction. I recognize the fact that having large-scale road construction is a more visible sign of stimulating the economy, but more roads = more cars = more demand for fossil fuels = higher prices for fuel, increased pollution, more funding towards potential terrorism. Tell your senators to vote NO to the Boxer-Inhofe amendment and to vote YES on Senator Schumer's (D-NY) amendment to the Murray bill (which was defeated) that would boost transit funding to (a still measly) $15 billion while leaving $40 billion in highway funding intact, either by calling them or emailing them. More information here:

Urgent Action: Oppose Highway Robbery in Senate Stim Bill
Urgent Alert: Oppose Wasteful Highway Funding Amendment
Tell the Senate: Vote NO on highways-only amendments!


Obama: Win & Loss in 2 Days

Yesterday, President Obama's nominee for both the Secretary of Health and Human Services as well the director of the new White House Office of Health Reform, Tom Daschle, withdrew from his nomination because of his tax troubles. Obama had counted on him, with his years of experience dealing with the health industry, to reform health care. Personally, I believe that Daschle should not have withdrew himself - everyone has a skeleton in their closet and he revealed it before he took office and was transparent about it in the past month or so about it. This is a major blow to the commitment that Obama made to provide better access to healthcare to the country. I hope he will find a replacement with as much (or more) experience soon.

Today, Obama overcame the sad news yesterday by ordering a pay freeze on executives of companies which were receiving taxpayer money from any bailouts. The salary would be capped at $500,000; any additional money paid by the companies would have to be issued as stock that cannot be sold until the company has paid back its government loans. This move is especially important, considering how companies still paid their executives over $18 Billion in bonuses last year, and many more bonuses, such as Wells Fargo continuing their annual tradition of an exclusive 2 week retreat for top-performing employees - this time a trip to the pricey Wynn in Las Vegas - until public outcry forced them to cancel it this year.