Saturday, April 26, 2008

Really? That was one of our presidents?

A few weeks ago I came across a website that has a bunch of listing trivia games, as in "Can you name all the Presidents of the US?" or "Can you name all the state capitals?" Stuff like that. There's a lot more where that came from. Its called and I thought I'd recommend it to anyone who hasn't already seen it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #27: Pizza? Now thats what I call a taco!

Probably a fair number of you out there have seen this crazy SNL commercial for Taco Town, but if you haven't its pretty funny. My main point today is that if you haven't checked out you definitely should. Its a video site where both Fox and NBC and the stations they own are hosting lots and lots of video online. There's the latest episodes of new shows, old seasons of old shows, even full-length movies. And new stuff gets added all the time. Check it out and you'll probably find something you want to watch.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A wonderful bird is the pelican...

So this morning on my way to "work", I was on the transfer ramp from I-15 Northbound to the 201 going west, and as I came around a bend right before I had to merge right onto another portion of the spaghetti bowl, up ahead on the road there was a pelican just sitting there chilling. At first I wondered if it was a real live bird or just a stuffed one or something, but as I got closer it was looking around and I could tell it was alive. It was just sitting there in the middle of the road. It wasn't in my lane so I just went past it, but I can't imagine it surviving long there. Weird.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fin de Semana Stories

I'm having this idea that maybe if I come up with a good title/acronym I can get myself excited about doing more than just showing you a video once a week. So I've of course thought about writing on Mondays something called "Weekend Update" but that name has of course been taken by SNL and who knows how many other things. So I'm going to call mine "Fin de Semana Stories" which if you speak Spanish you'll know stands for "Fin of Semana Stories". :) Kidding aside, "Fin de Semana" actually means Weekend. Plus I figure with that name I can abbreviate it as FSS and maybe someone will thing I've got a new version of RSS going on.

Anyway to kick off this inaugural FSS edition, I'll tell you that Friday night I went to the "Grand Kerfuffle" an annual outdoor concert event up at the U. This year's show had three decent bands: Augustana, Hellogoodbye, and Shiny Toy Guns. There was also a local band that we missed. We only got there about an hour after the offical start time so we were surprised that Augustana was already playing. Personally, their music is my favorite of the three bands that played, but they were having a few issues with their sound and that really seemed to bother them a lot. Anyway, they were interesting and have at least two songs that I really like: "Boston" and "Sweet and Low".

Hellogoodbye was up next and they are pretty nerdy guys and played a fun set of songs that I really don't know. It was during this set that it became clear to me, if it wasn't already, that some people will mosh to pretty much anything.

Finally Shiny Toys Guns, who I probably am the least familiar with, finished off the show with a lot of energy, both on their part and on the part of the crowd. Like I said, I didn't really know any of their songs going in, but they were a fun concert band because they really were rockin.

Now, as for some metadata on the evening, I actually had a date with a long-time friend of mine, and we ended up doubling with her ex-roommate and her husband, who both happen to be good friends of mine as well. The sad part of the date was that about half an hour before I was supposed to go pick her up, my car died and refused to be revived. So, I was happy that this date was with someone I was already good friends with and I didn't feel too ashamed to have to call her and ask her to pick me up. My roommate joked, "You might as well forget your wallet while you are at it." But as I'd already acquired concert tickets it really wouldn't have made any difference.

I spent part of Saturday getting my car towed over to the shop and moving some furniture for my grandpa who's moving from a rehab center to an assisted living center this week. Then we went to a birthday dinner for he and my cousin at the Olive Garden, which I must say hasn't changed much in the probably five years its been since I was last there. It likely won't be breaking into my list of places I want to go out to eat anytime soon either. Just not a huge fan.

After family time, I ended up going to see 21 with some friends. I found it to be pretty entertaining, and it made me want to track down the book of the true story the movie was "based on", or perhaps "inspired by".

And finally, on a non-FSS-related note, a company in Wisconsin emailed last week to say they want to fly me out there to interview for a software developer job. However, when I got back to them with dates that would work for me in the time span they mentioned, they disappeared. Seriously, its been five days since I emailed them my available dates, one of which would require me to fly tomorrow night, and I still haven't heard back from them. Once again proving my theory that Germans love David Hasslehoff administrative incompetence is pretty much a universal constant.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #26: Mississippi Mockery

In a second installment of obscure Daily Show clips that perhaps only I remember and find humorous, I today bring you something from 2001 when Stephen Colbert was still a correspondent for the Daily Show. I think my favorite part is when Colbert explains how the South won the Civil War. Then again maybe its the flag they propose for Mississippi to change to.

Oh, and P.S. 26 Weeks of Watch this Wednesday mean this has been going for more than half a year (remember I missed a week or two along the way). Does anyone care? Perhaps not.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #25: I know its Thursday, but this is worth it

Just happened to be over on Comedy Central's website and found out that 1) you can now embed clips from their shows in your blog and/or website, and 2) that one of my all-time favorite Daily Show with Jon Stewart interviews is on there: An interview with Topher Grace back in 2001 in which Topher spends the entire interview giving his review of Wild Wild West which he'd recently rented. Enjoy.

Trip to NYC: Day 6

I'm sure you've all been waiting for the exciting conclusion of my trip to NYC, which ended now two full weeks ago. Anyway, on our last day in New York, the overcast but not too cold or wet weather we'd been having finally turned into a decent rainstorm. We were glad that we'd been able to see as much as we had in the previous days without needing raincoats or umbrellas. And given that we'd seen about everything we really wanted to see, we didn't feel any obligation to dredge through the rain to go see something just to say we'd seen it.

Instead, Randall's wife Traci was gracious enough to drive us around Queens in the neighborhood they live in and check out a few of the more local sites. And our first stop was a little place called Whitecastle. Of course, we'd heard nothing but bad things, but because we don't have Whitecastle here in Utah, we figured it was at least worth going to experience for ourselves.

Jon & Jake White Castle

Being that it was still breakfast time when we got there, I got a little breakfast sandwich combo, and luckily, they were still making their classic tiny hamburgers ("sliders"), so I got just one of those to go with my breakfast. Actually there was a special offer, so I got a "Savory French Onion" slider for only 89 cents (Jon picked up the Bacon Cheeseburger variation). Anyway, it didn't taste horrible, but it wasn't that great, and had the distinction of being a burger that kept on giving throughout the rest of the morning.

Jake White Castle

After our trip to Whitecastle, Traci wanted to show us a place called the "Socrates Sculpture Park" over by the East River. We went over there and it was basically a big grassy area with a few weird pieces of sculpture scattered around. Kind of a creepy place. Glad I wasn't there at night. It did give me opportunity to take a couple photos of the Upper East Side shrouded in fog.

Foggy Upper East Side

Jon & Jake Socrates Sculpture Park

After our stop there, we took a cruise over to a target-shaped Target department store to wander around for a little while longer before it was time for us to head to the airport to catch our flight home. Traci kindly drove us out to JFK and after a fairly normal amount of time at the airport we brought our trip to end, flying back to Utah.

Good times.

More photos from Day 6.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Trip to NYC: Day 5

After an exciting Monday, we decided to start Tuesday off with a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge. I'd heard good things about it, but was still impressed by the great views of Manhattan, some of the other bridges, and of the Harbor that can be seen while strolling across the bridge. The Bridge itself is also quite impressive.

Brooklyn Bridge Tower

Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge

Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge

It took us about an hour to get across the bridge, and to our next objective: Grimaldi's Pizza. We got down from the bridge and had to walk back to the area under the bridge to find it, and we arrived about half an hour before it was to open, so we strolled over to a nearby pier on the river and also admired the large buildings owned by the Jehovah's Witnesses located there. They didn't look very interesting though. Just big buildings that said Watchtower on the top.

Lower Manhattan

Once Grimaldi's opened, we got inside and ordered ourselves a large New York-style thin crust pepperoni that turned out to be really good. Probably my favorite meal of the trip. After polishing off half a pizza each, we were ready to head back to Manhattan.

Jake Grimaldis Pizza

We found a Subway stop with a little help from a local, and made our way back. We stopped in lower Manhattan and made our way to a little place called TJ Maxx where I picked up a hoodie and a tie. From there, we got back on the Subway and headed North toward Central Park.

Before hitting the Park itself, we paid a visit to FAO Schwartz and looked around inside for a while, stopping briefly to stand on the giant piano. It was cool, but would have been cooler if 12 other people hadn't been standing on it at the same time. Hard to play chopsticks with that many people, you know?

Jon & Jake FAO Piano

After leaving FAO Schwartz, we ventured forth into Central Park. We walked around for a good while, strolling past the Bethesda Fountain, checking out Strawberry Fields, and then on to the Belvedere Castle. Given that it was a cooler, overcast day, it wasn't too surprising that there weren't many people out in the park.

Bethesda Fountain

Imagine Mosaic

We then left Central Park, paused outside the American Natural History Museum and considered going in, but it was only going to be open for another two hours or so, so we decided to pass. We realized we were fairly close to the Manhattan Temple, so we headed down that way. I have to say its kind of cool, the way its tucked in there with lots of other tall buildings. We went inside the building and the doorman suggested we might want to check out the LDS chapel that is on the 3rd floor of the building. That was kind of a surreal experience, because upon stepping out of the elevator it felt like walking into any other LDS chapel that I've been in. Never mind that its on the 3rd floor of a building in the middle of Manhattan. At this point my feet were pretty tired, and I took advantage of the sofas there to sit and rest for a bit while we planned our next move.

Manhattan Temple

We decided to go swing past the TKTS booth and see if there were tickets available for any Broadway show we'd be interested in seeing. We headed down there and didn't really see anything that piqued our interest. Our backup plan was to check out a deli that a friend of ours had recommended on Times Square. He had commented on the huge pile of meat that came on his sandwich, and he wasn't lying. These sandwiches were pretty much all meat and only meat. Two tiny slices of bread and a thin layer of lettuce and tomato and cheese were the only things standing between me and a literal pound of turkey. It didn't really work for me. Sure, I like turkey, but just a big pile of plain turkey? Maybe I should have tried something else, but honestly I wouldn't recommend that place.

Jon Roxie Corned Beef

At this point we were pretty worn out, so we headed home with Randall, who'd shown up while we were eating. We finished off the evening by going out for ice cream at a diner in Queens near their place. Then I worked on getting my luggage in order, as we were heading home the next afternoon.

More photos from Day 5.