Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pseudoreid's Top Albums of 2008 - December 16, 2008

In no particular order, I aggregated a list of the top 30 albums I loved to listen to this year. Once again, I must make it clear that there is no particular order to this list. Unlike Shark at the Jo-Tel, I will not be dropping any mad knowledge, nor will I tell you why I chose each album. I will also not go to the extent of giving any details about the musical nature of each album. Just take this for what you will!!!

1. Empire of the Sun - "Walking On A Dream"
2. Fleet Foxes - "Fleet Foxes"
3. Of Montreal - "Skeletal Lamping"
4. Crystal Castles - "Crystal Castles"
5. Girl Talk - "Feed the Animals"
6. Chairlift - "Does You Inspire You"
7. Death Cab For Cutie - "Narrow Stairs"
8. The Hold Steady – “Stay Positive”
9. Okkervil River – “The Stand Ins”
10. Conor Oberst –“Gentlemen’s Pact”
11. The Walkmen – “You and Me”
12. MGMT - "Oracular Spectacular"
13. Kings of Leon – “Only By The Night”
14. Vampire Weekend – “Vampire Weekend”
15. Elbow – “The Seldom Seen Kid”
16. Lil Wayne - "Tha Carter"
17. Bon Iver – “For Emma, Forever Ago”
18. She & Him – “Volume One”
19. Robyn - "Robyn"
20. The Islands – “Arm’s Way”
21. Beach House - "Devotion"
22. Portishead – “Third”
23. Shearwater – “The Snow Leopard”
24. Alina Simone – “Placessness”
25. Haley Bonar – “Big Star”
26. Mountain Goats – “Heretic Pride”
27. No Age – “Nouns”
28. Santogold –“Santogold”
29. Flying Lotus – “Los Angeles”
30. The Helio Sequence – “Keep Your Eyes Ahead”

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tweetwasters - December 15, 2008

I've never been a huge proponent of Twitter, nor am I an avid user of the product. I do recognize the value Twitter provides individuals & brands , however, there is a distinct problem Twitter faces, mass adoption. That being said, Twitter has been successfully used by all sorts of people and brands and companies to help communicate their message, but was it really worth the time and effort?

A newly birthed piece of Twitterware has been developed, and its purpose is to show how much time someone has spent tweeting. The way Tweetwasters calculates this number is by taking the amount of updates someone has posted, and then multiplying it by 30 seconds (the big caveat is that it assumes it only takes 30 seconds of time to tweet). Tweetwasters will then let you know how many hours of your life you've spent tweeting, as well as how you rank amongst the rest of the Twitter population.

It's a cool idea, especially if you try to use it to determine ROI for any brands or companies that have a presence on Twitter. AdLab had a great break down of the Comcast Twitter feed (ComcastCares):

"ComcastCares is run by the company's director of digital care who makes, let's say, $50/hr and has written 20.719 tweets in ~173 hours. Total time investment into Comcast's Twitter account is $8,650. The account has 6,001 followers, which results in $1.44 per follower"

It's an interesting attempt at giving marketers an idea of what it costs to get a follower, however, it neglects to measure the additional sphere of impact a brand generates by having a focused and relevant feed on Twitter (however, that may be impossible to ever do).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Drawdio - December 8, 2008

If your pencil or pen ever had a voice, do you wonder what it might sound like?  I imagine that an expensive felt-tip calligraphy pen with rich and potent black ink would sing opera, while a dingy, gnawed on number 2 pencil might have a tinny squelch. 

Drawdio (draw + audio)want you to know!

Drawdio' created by Adafruit and Jay Silver is a pencil that lets you draw with the music.  The kit is an analog  synthesizer circuit that straps to any soft-leaded pencil, and lets you crank out electronic sounds while you  sketch. Using a single AAA battery for power the 'drawdio' works by taking advantage of the conductive properties of the graphite in pencil lead.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Healthy or Unhealthy State? - December 4, 2008

Do you live in a healthy state? Here is a list of the most healthy to unhealthy states in the U.S. Alright, my home state Texas still ranks as one of the worst places to stay fit!!!

1. Vermont

2. Hawaii

3. New Hampshire

4. Minnesota

5. Utah

6. Massachusetts

7. Connecticut

8. Idaho

9. Maine

10. Washington

11. Rhode Island

12. North Dakota

13. Nebraska

14. Wyoming

15. Iowa

16. Oregon

17. Wisconsin

18. New Jersey

19. Colorado

20. Virginia

21. South Dakota

22. Kansas

23. Montana

24. California

25. New York

26. Maryland

27. Michigan

28. Pennsylvania

29. New Mexico

30. Alaska

31. Illinois

32. Ohio

33. Arizona

34. Indiana

35. Delaware

36. North Carolina

37. Kentucky

38. Missouri

39. West Virginia

40. Alabama

41. Georgia

42. Nevada

43. Arkansas

44. Oklahoma

45. Florida

46. Texas

47. Tennessee

48. South Carolina

49. Mississippi

50. Louisiana

To find out more about the most obese states, check out the Calorie Lab.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Warchalking and Hobo Codes - December 1, 2008

During my Thanksgiving vacation my Dad alerted me to a recently failed trend, warchalking, which was intended to inform pedestrains about locations of free wi-fi.

The idea was to develop a set of standard icons/symbols that people would associate free wi-fi with. It was the responsibility of anyone to draw an icon/symbol in a public place where it was viewable by others. It sounds like a great idea, but nothing ever came of it.

I think the more interesting story is the fact warchalking eminated from hobo code. Hobo code was a means of icons/symbols to help aide the homeless in finding shelter, avoiding dangers, locating food, etc. It was established at the National Hobo Convention, which was founded in 1900 and has been held every year since.

Here are some various ways hobo code can provide helpful information:
- A cross signifies "angel food," that is, food served to the hobos after a party
- A spearhead signifies a warning to defend oneself
- Three diagonal lines means it's not a safe place
- Two shovels, signifying work was available

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Scavenger Hunt

A couple of years ago I convinced Shark, Hip E, and Johnny D to enter an SF MOMA sponsored scavenger hunt. Needless to say, we didn't get the opportunity to participate, because I guess SF MOMA thought we lacked the skills necessary to complete their trivial tasks (p.s. No, I'm not at all bitter about this).

Anyways, I wanted to share the application I submitted to the contest. I thought for sure we'd win, but maybe I wasn't creative enough, or perhaps too creative? Not sure, you be the judge:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Am I Dreaming - November 21, 2008

I got an email today from my Dad telling me a hilariously embarrassing story. It reminded me of something that happened to me in college. I thought I might share it with you all. Without further adieu....
The second night back at Columbia during my senior year, I went out with some swimmers. After a long night of drinking I stumbled back to my new dorm room that was located in the EC building. I returned to my room in one piece, and proceeded to pass out on the bed. Mind you, I was back in NYC so early that all my storage from the previous year had yet to arrive, so I was sleeping on a bed with no sheets, and my roommate who might be able to lend me some sheets has not yet arrived. I was forced to wrap myself up in my parka and a couple of the winter jackets that I packed with me on the plane. Oh, did I mention I was sleeping in the buff (i'm not sure why...perhaps it was the thing to do at the time).

At some point in the middle of the night, I wake-up to go pee. In my incredibly sleepy and totally discombobulated mindset, I stumble out of bed and head in the direction of the bathroom. I open up the bathroom door, and walk into the bathroom...man, it was a bright bathroom. WAIT, this wasn't the bathroom, this was the dorm hallway! Oh no! And.........my dorm room door slams shut behind me! My muddled brain manages to process this information.....the door is locked, and I'm stuck in the hallway! This isn't happening, this isn't happening. Oh my god, it is happening, this is really happening.

For what seems like an eternity, I snap out of the sleepy doldrums and I grab a discarded cardboard box to use as a barrier between my body and any embarrassment I might incur as a result of my situation. This, however, has yet to solve the issue. The door still remains locked, and because I moved into the dorm room earlier than anyone else, the resident advisor for the floor wasn't even there. I had no way of getting back into the room, and unlike living at the frat house, I couldn't scale the side of a 20 story building.

I soaked up all the courage I had left and headed to the elevator to consult the security desk for a solution. At this point I liken the experience to no worse than when I had to parade around NYC in a Speedo for an oddly fun, yet still alienating swim team initiation ritual. As I stepped out of the elevator and into the common lobby of EC, I was astonished to find that there was no one in sight...a plus for me. I tip toe over the cold cement as quickly as one holding a cardboard box around oneself to hide one's privates from the public as one can. As I enter the security desk office, my appearance immediately solicits concern and bewilderment from the guard.

In as little time as possible, I recount my story and situation to the guard and plead for help. Sadly, he has no way of getting into my room, and suggests I head to the key center at Columbia, which so happens to be open 24/7. Mind you, I'm currently at 119th st and Amsterdam street, and the key center is at 114th st and Broadway, a full 5 block and 1 full avenue between me and a key back to my room. Only carrying a box to separate and protect my family jewels from the wild and crazy inhabitants of New York City, I rapidly decide this is a terrible option for me. Instead, I pick up the campus telephone, ring the key office, plead my case, and convince to have the only key office worker on staff hand deliver my key.

Victory indeed, however, I still had to endure another 15 minutes of the situation. The worst part of it all was that the key center worker requested I remain in the security office so that I was easy to find. I'm fairly positive it's not terribly difficult to spot a half naked man walking around, using a cardboard box as his Haute couture.

Of course while I'm waiting the inevitable happens, a group of drunk frat-type guys trickle into EC. Strangely enough, instead of receiving hateful tongue lashings from the group, they offer assistance, in so much that one of them to removed their shirt to give it to me. It was a great offer, but to put on the shirt would require that I let go of the box, and that certainly wasn't happening. The group scuttled along, and left me waiting for the key master, who finally arrived a full 20 minutes after I called.

The key center worker wasn't at all stunned by the situation, and simply muttered, "I've seen worse." I can only imagine what that might have been. I was safely escorted back to my room, where I was let in, and told to not let this happen again. I expressed my deepest appreciation and regards to the key master for making the journey to come and save my ass (literally), and I headed back to bed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

North Beach Art Installation - November 19, 2008

First off, yes it's been a while since I've posted.  Let me briefly argue in my defense; vacation and new job!

SOOOO...to kick off some much needed blogging, I wanted to share with my SF brethren a (hopefully) incredible art installation in North Beach.

Brian Goggin, with Dorka Keehn, have built a piece called, “The Language Of The Birds,” and at dusk on Sunday, November 23rd it will come to life.

This public artwork is a sculpted, illuminated flock of twenty three translucent, suspended open books with bindings positioned as if they are the wings of birds in flight. These books will appear to be taking off and flying above the plaza.

Phrases, taken from books by neighborhood authors or written about the surrounding communities, will be scattered and embedded in the plaza as if the words have fallen from the pages, forming an aesthetically beautiful and random pattern. The words will maintain their fonts from the books and will range from 1.5’’ to 3”.

At night the books will act as fluctuating lanterns light up by internal LED lights. The changing lights effects will be prompted by the unamplified beat and tempo in selected recordings of Jazz and other music played in the area over the last fifty years.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hexapod Robot - November 11, 2008

Hexapod robot....seriously, need I say more? Watch it as it carves a human face out of this foam.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

16 Horror Flicks - November 4, 2008

Halloween is my favorite holiday, as such it's important that I keep abreast of all horror flicks and scary movies. This year I used my DVR to record a ton of frightening movies. I watched them in no particular order, and I didn't do research on any of them. As a result, I wasted some precious time, but also uncovered some hidden gems.

Here are the 16 movies I saw over the month of October, and my quick review of each one.

30 Days of Night (2007)

Way too chessy and not suspenseful, Alaska sucks. Wouldn't the polar bears kill the vampires?

The Woods (2006)
Retarded plot, very much not believeable. Seriously, hungry plants?

The Abandoned (2006)
Lots of boob and scant clothing, including a sexually frustrated lesbian. It was good up until the bubble bath scene.

Casper (1995)
Too cute, Casper might be gay, so gay Sosia fell asleep

The Curse of El Charro (2005)
Bad enough to be good, a ton (no pun intended) of Steel Reserve product placement, and did someone say cinnamon Churros?

Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004)
Hmm…U.S. western outpost in the late 1800s, werewolves, and two sisters who love startled expressions, what’s not to love?

Underworld (2003)
Hollywood and Fredricks of Hollywood quality clothing. Nothing wrong with a little flirting between vampires and werewolves.

Feardotcom (2002)
I love killing people via the Internets! If it wasn’t so terribly bad, it might have actually been an interesting precursor to The Ring.

The Tripper (2006)
This movie clearly is an infatuation of the crazy mind of David Arquette. Who else would create a slasher flick about party going hippies being hacked down by a masked Ronald Reagan?

Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror (2006)
I’m amazed that Snoop was actually able to put together an amazing series of haunting vignettes. Even though most of them had a gangster theme, I'm willing to dismiss the ridiculous thug slang for some great blood and guts.

Hocus Pocus (1993)
Who knew Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler could look hot as witches. Okay, I’m kidding about Bette Midler, but all in all this family Halloween flick reminds me of girl-next-door romance comedy meets mystical adventure.

Final Destination 3 (2006)
This movie is like death’s version of a Rude Goldberg machine. Ridiculous plot, terrible acting, and the chicks weren’t horror movie cute.

The Toxic Avenger (1985)
What screams Hollywood blockbuster like a janitor turned into a tutu wearing, WWF wannabe, mop toting, and evil eliminating bad ass? The Toxic Avenger that is! The town of Tromaville brings you the best of sex, death, and modern clich├ęs in this 80’s cult classic.

Halloween (1978)
Do I really need to explain this? If you haven’t seen this movie, go out ans watch it pronto! Sorry, Jamie Lee Curtis doesn’t drop her top in this horror flick.

Clive Barker’s The Plague (2006)
I was pretty sure James Van Der Beek was killed in Dawson’s Creek, but I guess I was wrong. If that terrible T.V. show didn’t kill his carrer, this movie certainly did. PLEASE, spare yourself the time, and don’t watch this one.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1978)
This is perhaps the best horror/slasher movie of all time! The budget must have been insanely cheap to shoot this movie, but as a result, it is incredibly authentic and raw looking. I love it. Please, do yourself a favor and watch this classic.

Friday, October 31, 2008

5 Wonderful Things From Etsy - October 31, 2008

A little journey through Etsy took me across these five very different, but equally interesting and odd pieces. Oh, how I love Etsy. Check out the prints here.

Get the grenade here.
Get the egg here.
Get the felt beard here.
Get the terrarium here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fantastically Free Tours in SF - October 29, 2008

Since moving into the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, I've become absolutely intrigued about the history of the area. I find myself wandering through the streets admiring the architecture and landscape, and imagining what it must have been like here over one hundred years ago. Was it safe, was it loud, how did it smell, were the colors bright or dull, what did people talk about, and who lived here are the sorts of questions that pop into my mind.

Out of the many cities I've visited in the United States, San Francisco is certainly one of the most unique. From the actual physical land to the culture, there are very few places like here. As a result of my general fascination with the city, I find that I want to dig deeper to uncover the history behind it all. As part of my investigation, I came across this resource, San Francisco City Guides, a series of free walking tours in the city.

San Francisco City Guides founded in 1978, is a non-profit organization with more than 200 trained volunteers who lead FREE history and architectural walking tours in San Francisco. We are sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library and are a project of the Tides Center. Tours are offered 52 weeks a year, rain or shine. Approximately 30 different walks are offered each month. Last year they gave over 2,000 tours, and over 21,000 people attended those tours. I wanted to go on this tour, but alas, I missed the date. I'm going to have to wait until May!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Week!!! - October 27, 2008

The week of Halloween is upon us finally!!! Yay!

I've decorated my apartment as such. Behold, the glorious scary apartment!!!

And of course, Sosia, covered in cobwebs on the floor.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Village Pet Store - October 24, 2008

I know that Banksy's pet store has been passed around the Internet for several weeks now, but I haven't seen any great video documentation of the store. Since I'm in San Francisco, it's a bit tough to make a quick visit to the lower east side of Manhattan. Finally, NOTCOT produced a HD quality video of the store.

Here it is:

NOTCOT: Banksy's Village Petstore & Charcoal Grill from Jean Aw on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rubber Band Boats Are Cool - October 23, 2008

My good friend Ken, host of This is Clutch, had an incredible post about the strategic development that went into the creation of a rubber band powered boat. Although the idea is seemingly simple, it ended up being far more complicated than thought.

Mostly, I admire how Ken and his team collaborated on the project using Web 2.0 technologies. Additionally, Ken went to great extent to document the process so that others could learn how they went from ideation to concept to execution.

I'm reposting Ken's Slideshare presentation as well as his video documentation of the project. Once again, I want to reiterate how well I think Ken recorded the entire process of the project.

Rubber Band Boat Deck
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: engineering design)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cheese, Cheese, Cheese!!! - October 22, 2008

Several weeks ago Sosia and I attended the Locavore class at the Cheese School of San Francisco. Sosia is a cheese aficionado, and she loves local food products, which made the Locavore class a perfect fit. In case you forgot, a locavore is someone that sustains their diet using food products found within a 100 mile radius of their home.

The Cheese School is a quaint establishment located in North Beach with an incredibly friendly staff, and very knowledgeable instructors. Our class was run by Sheana Davis, a Sonoma based cheese and wine maker, who gave wonderfully thorough explanations and histories about each cheese we sampled. The Cheese School conveniently provided us with a custom printout so that we could take notes on all the cheeses. As a cheese tasting amateur, I took this as an opportunity to jot down my thoughts so that I could remember what my taste buds enjoyed the most.
The instructor, Sheana, was awesome! I really want to take her beer and cheese class. Here are the notes, accompanied by my recommendations on what cheeses I thought were the best:

Delice de la Vallee (Sonoma – pasteurized cow & goat’s milk) – MY FAVORITE OVERALL!!!
Fantastic smooth, creamy, and melty feel. Easy to spread, and not too pungent or over-whelming. Nice white color and good looking whipped texture. I don't have a picture because the cheese isn't officially out on the market yet, but will be shortly.
Harley Farms, Monet (Pescadero – pasteurized goat’s milk) – WOULD BUY AGAIN
Nice and smooth, but somewhat of a likeable texture. Very subtle, with strong hints of herbs.
Pug’s Leap, Petit Marcel (Healdsburg – pasteurized goat’s milk)
Seems to dry the mouth the second it touches your tongue. Bland and hard to spread
Andante Dairy, Acapella (Petaluma – pasteurized goat’s milk) – WOULD BUY AGAIN
This will wake you up. Very potent rind, but mild in the end. Texture is nice and easy, and the color is pleasant.
Elk Creamery, Black Gold (Elk – pasteurized goat’s milk)
Waxy and has an odd texture. The rind is just too much, certainly something I won’t buy.
Redwood Hill Farm, Camellia (Sebastopol – pasteurized goat’s milk)
Tastes like a typical blue cheese. It’s got a fantastic rind, but the cheese isn’t soft enough. It feels like I could eat a lot of this, but not be satisfied.
Cowgirl Creamery, Mt. Tam (Petaluma – pasteurized cow’s milk) – WOULD BUY AGAIN
Always a winner! Very smooth and delicious with hints of herbs. No wonder it’s a local favorite.
Bellwether Farms, San Andreas (Valley Ford – raw sheep’s milk) – WOULD BUY AGAIN
This is a harder cheese, which has a very nice subtle flavor. Will probably kill to eat this cheese again.
Vella Cheese Company, Mezzo Secco (Sonoma – raw cow’s milk) – WOULD BUY AGAIN
Great rich and creamy taste, with an incredible texture of both hard and soft. The cheese does look hard though.
Pt. Reyes Farmstead, Original Blue (Pt. Reyes – raw cow’s milk) – WOULD BUY AGAIN
Wow! Powerful, yet controlled blue cheese. It’s like there’s a party in my mouth and everyone’s invited.
I'm not an expert, experienced, or even remotely trained cheese taster, so please, take all my reviews as you like. I hope this gives San Franciscans a better idea of the local cheeses that surround us.