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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NYT Blooper

An unusually obvious copyediting error I noticed earlier today in a New York Times article about the housing bust:

"...there are simply too many homes in many parts of the country, and two few people with the means to buy them."

This has since been corrected, but for a while there, it looked like we only needed two more home buyers to turn the whole market around!

Meta YouTube

I rather enjoyed this video for a new single from Weezer, "Pork and Beans:"

This might not make any sense if you haven't watched a lot of stuff on YouTube -- all the the people in it have become part of the YouTube consciousness by posting widely-watched videos that spawned spoofs, remixes, etc (including a Carleton student, Daft Hands guy!). This is brilliant marketing, leveraging the already-familiar to give viewers a connection to the song, and it's also very well-executed. (It appears that the director actually got a number of the YouTube celebs to participate in the video shoot, which is a lot easier than getting old-school celebrities to come to your video shoot.)

It works well that the song has an individuality-affirming theme to go along with all the individuality on screen. But I really like this video because it highlights how our pop culture is now wildly building upon itself, with individual works never existing in a vacuum, and authorship and remixing available to a much wider group of people than before. It's a lot more democratic and dynamic, and although there are some benefits to having a unifying mass media, overall this new order has a lot of advantages over what it replaces. Andrew recently linked to an essay on the possibilities of the new era of participatory culture that we're entering, and I think I'm also optimistic.

I recognized about 2/3 of the source videos, which may mean I need to spend more time outside. Valleywag helpfully lists a number of the videos referenced.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hill's Kitchen

Leah D. finally opened her new kitchen store yesterday in Capitol Hill. It's called Hill's Kitchen. The store is in a beautifully renovated rowhouse immediately south of the Eastern Market Metro station, with the goods on the first floor, space for cooking classes on the second floor, and a rooftop deck where you can eat what you whip up.

I picked up a few things, like tea infusers. One nice touch is that Leah has cookie cutters in the shapes of all 50 states -- and DC. She had the DC ones specially made. I bought a Minnesota and a DC:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Air Travel

Three observations/questions from my trip back from Dayton last evening:

1) Those golf cart things that move folks around the airport beep loudly whenever they're moving so that people know they're coming. I don't think I could drive one of those...if the main tool I used to do my job emitted a constant beeping, it would drive me crazy. (However, I did witness one of them receiving a $20 tip...he promptly beep beep beeped his way over to his cart colleague to show him.)

2) We flew on one of those tiny planes with only three seats in each row, two on one side and one on the other. The magical single seats are simultaneously aisle and window -- I wonder how they're designated in the computer system.

3) For a minute or so we were flying just above a solid layer of cloud cover. It gave a better sense of how fast we were moving than you usually get, but I realized that I had little idea of the scale of all the features of the clouds, so it's still not that accurate an impression of speed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Midwestern Glory

I'm in Ohio. Though I might not want to live in the less urban parts of the midwest, it can be an antidote to DC. Last evening the weather was beautiful and I walked from our state highway motel into the nearby old-school small-town downtown. It was kinda cool, with nice residential neighborhoods around it, and I found used copies of Middlesex and The Road at the book store.

More importantly: Today we ate lunch in the cafeteria, and I got the lasagna special. It comes with two sides. Perusing the selection, I saw some small plastic containers smushed full of pale green goop [flash of recognition] -- pistachio salad! PISTACHIO SALAD! They had this in the dining hall at Carleton every couple weeks (Cool Whip, cottage cheese, pistachio pudding mix, crushed pineapple, mini marshmallows, and a very tiny amount of actual pistachios), and everyone thought I was crazy for loving it so much. It had been almost 5 years since I'd had it, and it was a very happy reunion.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Man With Teeth Like God's Shoeshine

Sitting inside on this very rainy evening, I found a good video of Modest Mouse performing "The Man With Teeth Like God's Shoeshine."

This might be my favorite song of theirs. The lyrics are raw in a way that their last couple albums aren't, and Isaac Brock delivers them like he means it. I hear, among other things, a comment on consumerism...the marketing "man with teeth like God's shoeshine" who "[takes] 'em all for the sense of happiness that comes from hurting deep down inside."
Oh! If you could compact your conscience
Oh! And you might.
Oh! If you could bottle and sell it you might have done
Oh! And you might.
Oh! If you could compact your conscience
and sell it, save it for another time
you know you might have to use it."

I'm off to Dayton tomorrow for work...thankfully, a member of our team has already scouted places to eat on previous trips, so I may avoid spending an entire week at Applebee's.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hummus part deux

I love my Sabra hummus, and I am very glad that Giant now sells it. I am even willing to forgive the fact that they aren't very good at stocking the cooler to keep up with the insatiable demand, and the fact that they usually don't have my favorite variety, Hummus with Roasted Pine Nuts. The stuff's also pretty expensive at Giant, so I prefer to get the big value pack 17 oz. container, but they rarely have those.

In fact, they have only had the big containers two or three times in the last six months (and I go to the store every few days). They have had the Pine Nuts variety exactly once, in the little containers. So, when I went to Giant on Sunday, imagine my excitement to find the hummus holy grail -- a single 17 oz. container of Hummus with Roasted Pine Nuts! It was sitting there in the sparse refrigerator case next to the only other big container, of the Chunky Hummus variety.

Perhaps my hummus excitement was visible at the register, because for the second time I was asked about it by the bagger. "So, is this chick peas?" she said. I went into my "Yeah, with other stuff, too...it's really good" explanation. And just like last time, she said that everybody was buying it, and asked me what you eat it with. I pointed to the pita bread in my bag and said that's how I usually eat it, but you can use it on sandwiches, vegetables, etc...

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Seen in the fish section of the Latino supermarket in Mt. Pleasant. Of course, it refers to these, not these, but it's still pretty funny. Someone thought it was worth emphasizing...