Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

This is a dynamic post (will be updated if possible).  For current post, click on "Read More"
General information
  • Projected to hit NYC as a Category 1 hurricane Sunday morning.
  • Track the hurricane, along with other data via Google's

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5.9 Earthquake (Virginia) felt in NYC

Quick Post: A 5.9-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale was felt at around 2 P.M. here in NYC.  At first, I thought it was just strong winds blowing at my house but upon looking outside the trees were calm.  The house was creaking.  But after a few seconds it repeated and this time the floor shook for about 3 seconds.  The chandelier in my dining room was swinging back and forth for back and forth 10-15 degrees off its normal position. Perhaps because we New Yorkers typically don't experience major earthquakes as often as say, Californians do, so Facebook and the internet lit up in the moments after. Local and live coverage here: 7 online - 5.9 earthquake hits Virginia, rattles NYC, east coast As of this post, over 9,500 people have "checked-in" to Foursquare - Earthpocalypse. Facebook statuses: "ahhhhhhhhh earthquake!!!"..."Uhh, did anyone else just feel that earthquake?"..."I just felt a very small earthquake! did anyone else felt that?"..."Earthquakes are the coolest things ever. I'm moving to Cali."..."totally freaked out right now."..."Too hungover to notice the earthquake."..."Missed the earthquake back home. Laaaame"..."i thought i was too heavy for my chair" Submit your reaction to the USGS' site to help them evaluate the effects of the earthquake here: USGS - Did You Feel It? - Post 209 (Dated today, see 200th post for reason) Creative Commons License

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Linkdump: Windows & Apple(s), Google & Paying More

Taking a cue from Second Avenue Saga's recently titled post "Vacation Linkdump", I'm posting a bunch of links with brief descriptions which have been sitting in my "To Be Posted" bookmark folder for a loooong while.

PC World - 23 Years of Wacky Windows Launches - A great amalgamation of videos of Windows launches from Windows 1.0 to Windows 7.  Truly history-making and is remarkable seeing how something so simple eventually made all of today's technology possible.

Seattle Times - Precocious 5-year old gives Windows 7 pitch - Continuing with the Windows theme, this kid has been the talk of the town as Microsoft launched one of its most successful TV ads in awhile.  From critic reactions, they're finally getting it right to fight back against Apple's successful 'Mac vs PC' ads.

Personal note - And have you ever seen the classic ad from Apple that told people to "Think different"?  The ad is available for your review here; also see the infamous 1984 Superbowl one showing everyone following Windows and Apple helping break that monotony.  But today, things are different, indeed.  Today, Apple's products look alike.  Basically all white, all in a plastic case.  The same design for mp3 players, the same phones, the same desktops, the same notebooks.  This standardization

Sunday, June 19, 2011

EcstaticE 2.0

After some experimentation, this blog finally has a new look!  After 3 years, 5 months since my first post (quite short) of the same, somewhat bland, blue and green and white backgrounds, it has a fresh design, using Blogger's somewhat new template designer.  Links you haven't yet visited are in an easy-to-find Red, while ones you already have clicked on turn to Blue.  I chose blue instead of the default darker color to still allow you to be able to find a particular link in the future.  In addition, a more concise footer (eliminating the redundant comment info), instant feedback, and new share toolbar! Also started using a page break feature to help redirect traffic to the site when people use RSS/shared links - Subscribe to see for yourself!
Let me know what you think by commenting!  And take a look at the before/after comparison after the break to judge for yourself!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Instead of a Picnic on Governor's Island

Arghh forgot to take pictures of the two loverly couples!!!  [two pictures here] We were supposed to go to Governor's Island to have a picnic, but with the threat of a thunderstorm later in the day, we opted to stay in Manhattan instead. Well anyways, today got off to a pretty long train ride to 14 St.  My buddy J and I walked to Union Square before heading back to 7th Av to meet up with his girlfriend and his two other Columbia friends, G & D.  As we passed by the L train stop at 6th Av we coincidentally saw his gf emerging from the exit.  Greetings exchanged - this is E, this is JC!

Went to a really cozy but humble restaurant, Elephant & Castle (not the bar chain) in Greenwich Village to have brunch.  Apparently, D was able to tell from the restaurant's decor and age of the furniture that the venue has been open since 1976.  Or maybe because we all saw the menu, dated 1976 and with the pre-inflated prices on it, hanging by the entrance! :)  The menu wasn't too expensive for the food we received.  $11.50 for the "Canyonland Poached Eggs (two), with Balsamic Jus, Fresh Tarragon, Tomatoes, Avocado and Wild Mushrooms, and Toasted English Muffin."  I felt that the best part about the restaurant was the restaurant physically stretched from one street to the next because of the relatively awkward block geometry (windows on both sides!).  Also the antique cash register - it had rows of push-buttons with some going from 10 to 90!  All 4 of us treated J, with my total coming to $18 - not bad compared to Jean-Georges last year haha.

Afterwards, we walked back to Union Square to

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cooper Exploits New Building, Hopefully for Cash

Ever since the opening of the Cooper Union's New Academic Building, otherwise known as 41 Cooper Square, photographers and film crews have been all over the site.  Every so often, I see such people outside and inside the building, from small photo shoots for a new line of Tumi luggage on 3rd Ave earlier this Spring, to huge productions such as the one for Ugly Betty in 2009, which I covered here.  Most recently, I have also seen IBM film an ad with actors playing doctors and patients, with old IBM equipment placed as props around the building.  Hearsay indicates that just a few days ago the show "White Collar" also filmed there. But some of the most widely-seen shots of the building are probably in advertising.

Although most of the ad for Cadillac features a fake museum-like interior, the final 4 shots are of 41CS, in the following order: 1 shot facing North 3rd Ave of a couple exiting the (empty as of now) rental space on the southwestern corner of the building, 1 closeup head shot with the doors closing behind them, 1 of them staring back at the building's "skateboard ramp" aka emergency stairs with the car next to them, and 1 of them entering the car, now MAGICALLY parked on East 7th St, with a view of the Foundation Building in the background.
EV Grieve: Cooper Union fit for a Caddy  and the ad it's referring to Youtube: 2010 Cadillac CTS Gallery Arsenal FX

Bowery Boogie has a link to the Time Warner Cable ad, featuring Yes, Dear's Mike O'Malley on a tour bus passing southbound by Cooper Square on 3rd Ave.  As the blog points out, "Landmarks featured most prominently are the new Cooper Union academic building (spacecraft) and the Cooper Square Hotel (glass dildo)."
Bowery Boogie: Time Warner Cable on Cooper Square

With the shortest feature of 41CS, Samsung shows a slanted Eastern elevation of the building, which then cuts to a closeup of the lobby windows with fake TVs inserted in the lobby.
Youtube: Samsung Apps

And in a recent viewing of the indie film Win Win, Fiat had a pretty long commercial before the film to introduce itself to the US market.  A shot of the building from across the Square with the words "Derivative of Nothing," implying that the building and the car were originals.  I've got to admit, the ad was pretty catchy, confusing at times, but well-produced.

Post 205 (Dated Today)
What do you think? Comment below! Creative Commons License

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Neighborhood Crime Wave - We're Just Never Safe

Despite the Mayor saying that violent crime in NYC had fallen since 2001, similar to the nationwide fall, there has been a spike in the past 2 years in NYC, such as in Queens - NYTimes: Steady Decline in Major Crime Baffles Experts

The following is my eyewitness account.  Times are based on approximate durations.

2:10 A.M.: Earlier this morning, I awoke to some loud sounds, as if people were hitting garbage cans and yelling.  I then heard a car alarm - sounding like our car's - and lurched out of my bed and peered through my window blinds, looking for signs that it was our car.  Indeed it was.  The car lights flashed and I saw one person running to the right, another next to the side of our car.  In retrospect, I probably should have waited to see the perps' clothing, but my fight or flight response made me turn on my and another room's lights.  I yelled out to my parents that it was our car and that there were people outside.  Running back to my window, I saw that the criminals had now ran off.

2:12 A.M.: Dad went outside to take a look - front windshield was badly damaged from their using a neighbor's bundle of cut tree trunks wooden fence slats waiting to be thrown out by the garbage truck later that day; the bundle was still sitting on the front hood.  Worker across the street came out but said did not see anything.  Several neighbors from the left side of the block came over - they said that some of their cars had been similarly vandalized.  The first one had already called police.

2:14 A.M.: An SUV charges down to the right side of the street (against the one-way); I thought it was the perps' vehicle.

2:16 A.M.: SUV comes back; driver actually lives at the end of the block and heard the commotion and attempted to give chase as soon as the goons started running away.  He said that he saw some teens at the gas station.

2:20 A.M.: One police car arrives.  Hearing about the gas station, they go down

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Healthcare Reform: Sept. 2009

"Postcard from Canada: Why I Missed Obama’s Speech" - Single Payer Westerchester. 9/13/09.  After President Obama's speech on his push for healthcare reform in Fall of 2009, this blogger remarks on the benefits of a single-payer healthcare system based on their experiences in the Canadian system.  An interesting first-hand account that many naysayers often hide.

"Class Warfare"  - Tim Allen Journal. 9/21/09.  When I first read this I was amazed that Tim Allen wasn't only a funny man, but also someone who is able to understand certain economic ideas that some politicians and people just refuse to accept or think about.  He makes a good point about how social programs such as a public option in the healthcare reform package are intended to be subsidized for the good of all, and profit-making isn't a primary goal.  Only point is that the USPS is not directly subsidized by tax money.
"What’s the fuss with a public option?
Well, the post office for one...As a business it’s hard to defend sometimes with lines and spotty service. As a ‘social’ program it’s a wonderful place to assure a reasonable fee to get written or printed material and packages anywhere. If you asked FedEx or UPS to mail a letter, the carrier would scan it and you would wonder why you are paying $12.96 to send something when you could use the Post Office and mail it for under 50 cents. That’s the cost advantage provided by a ‘public option’. We are taxed to keep the price ‘fixed’, the fix augments the price of