Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Barclays, Steve Marino

Going to golf tournaments is sorta like attending a funeral. A large group of people gets together to be deathly quiet, with an occasional smattering of claps.

The PGA Tour took a local stop this week in Jersey for The Barclay's Golf tourney. While proximity was a key reason for making sure I made the trip (literally 20 minutes away) the other was Steve Marino. Steve was the leader after 3 rounds and he was also one co-captain of the UVA golf team (back in the day) along with one of my best friends. My buddy knew Steve well and his folks too
This created a cool moment where I basically walked the course with his parents. It's weird watching an event where a guy's successes or failures are in plain view of the whole world....and you're next to the people who made him.

Imagine if everyone in the world knew whether you were having a good or bad day at work. And then to top if off your parents knew right away and perhaps a TV crew asked your mom about how she felt about your day. Aside from some mom-chatter about the weather the whole thing could be quite nerve wracking.

While Steve didn't win (had a tough 15th hole) his parents seemed very sweet and made for another good sports moment in my books.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

note to self

If you're going to get a mohawk, make sure you don't have a bald spot first.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Bel Biv DeVoe, Blackberry's, and non-magnetically shielded speakers

If I ever played the game "Name That Tune" I would be a fucking champ. I've prided myself in being able to name songs after less than 2 or 3 seconds of hearing the opening. Sadly this skill has few tangible benefits...

So on a related note one of the annoying things about Blackberry's, IPhones, and things that generate electromagnetic waves in general is that they jack up speakers and causes this noisy interference (yes yes I know some speakers are magnetically shielded, but just shut up about that).

Well one of the odd things is that the interaction between blackberry's and the intercoms at work is that it the series of blips and noises is pretty constant. It literally makes the same beat , kinda like a machine gun staccato that sounds like "TICK, TICK-A-TICK, TICK-A-TICK, TICK, TICK"

Now for whatever reason after hearing this a few times the beat sounded reaaalllly familiar. So familar that it bothered me because I couldn't put my finger on it. And then it hit me.


The Blackberry-speaker interaction makes a beat that sounds EXACTLY like the beginning of Bel Biv DeVoe's epic "Poison." New Jack Swing is alive and well and it's been thriving on our marketing floor.

So on a quiet Tuesday morning someone's Blackberry went off and I proudly explained my hypothesis to my boss who thought I was crazy. Fast forward 30 seconds and through the magic of YouTube the desk was listening to Poison...

Let's just people changed their opinions of me quickly. From "that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard" people said "You know Shakes, you're a real hero. An American Hero." Well they didn't really say that part, but you get the drift.

What was more amazing is that when you watch the video it's pretty clear that they don't make videos of that class and caliber anymore. The choreography, the puffy jackets, the images of guys dancing in front of a giant green screen which imposes images of a zoomed in girl walking (1:21). It makes you long for the days when you could watch videos on MTV. Or BET. Or anywhere.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Save Ferris

So in honor of Ferris Bueller taking a much celebrated day off, I decided to do the same and go to my first weekday day game ever. And despite train delays and the Yanks getting blown out, it was a lovely day.

Now back to work...

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a stroke of genius

I think this year I'm gonna change things up a bit. I'm so tired of my birthday being on the same day of the same month, year after year. But alas what can I do? I'm sorta stuck with my birthday being the anniversary of....well.... the day of my birth. So there I was stuck in a rut.

Well this past weekend I went to the temple (Ganpathi Bapa Moriya!) and it hit me. Hindu gods don't use the Gregorian Calendar...they say nay. They go for something truer. Higher. Literally.

We're going to the moon, bitches.

Starting this year I'm going to start celebrating my birthday according to the lunar calendar. Which means if I'm calculating things correctly my birthday will no longer be at the end of January. No, no, no. It will now occur somewhere between the months of January and March, depending on the year. Now I can call my parents on random days like February 19th and start complaining to my folks that they totally missed my birthday.

Ingenious. Ingenious I say. And it will always keep people guessing.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lego Store @ Garden State Plaza Mall

There's something magical about the Lego Stores which makes you forget that you're about 2 decades older than you should be to play with Legos.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The British 20th Century: A poor 100 years

When I went for a 2006 World Cup match in Germany between England and Portugal the scene was absolutey incredible. If you didnt know better you'd think that Gelsenkirchen was a city in England. With the exception of a corner of Portuguese fans the stadium was full of King George flags.

English fans travel for their country. Anywhere and everywhere. Which brings us to the tragic twist to our story: the English teams tend to lose on the biggest stage.

It's sad really to have such a passionate people spend so much of their time and money only to be disappointed. Usually by penalty kicks or Boston Tea Parties. And the funny thing is that most of them expect to be defeated and yet still travel.

If the British were involved in the first moon landing the craft would've gone horribly awry and missed the moon altogether.

People on Earth would be watching on a fuzzy TV reception while the H.M.S. Apollo 7 moves towards its crescent target. Meanwhile the British fans would be there on the moon. Already. Cheering their craft on, waving flags, wearing garish costumes, and creating a general mess of the place by throwing cans of beer all about and vomiting into lunar craters. With success looking possible the punters would be thrown into a tearful frenzy as they'd watch a sure point squandered away as the spaceship misses wide right and veers towards the dark void of space as the English fail yet again.

-- Posted while roaming about

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Non-Colonizer Day

You know I started wondering why Indian Independence day was hardly noted here in England and then I realized, I was in the Land of the Colonizers.

It must be tough being English and watching all these countries celebrate their Independence Day with so much glee. All their happiness is on account of England not being around anymore with their boorish Big Bens and their oppressive double decker buses. It's like getting a divorce and watching the other person have an annual celebration day.

Well England all I can say is tough break. It was a great run but now you, like Newcastle United, have been relegated away from the Premier League.

-- Posted while roaming about

Friday, August 14, 2009

U2 at Wembley Stadium in London

The Bono

So this was my first concert I've ever really gone to by myself (well I saw Asian Dub Foundation in Central Park like in 2002, but I'm not sure if that counts) and let's just say it was a success. I ended up meeting a bunch of random foreign people and hung out with two girls during the show. I'm not gonna say that I'm suave, but let's just say that I'm not completely disgusting and unattractive.

The day was brilliant aside from the fact that I had to stay up until 4:30am London time doing some work thing. It's funny because in the past when I had a vacation day swamped by work by assistant would be sure to mark it down as a working day... now I don't really care because I know I'm not going to use all of my alloted vacation days anyway, so it's moot.

It's sorta like ordering pizza and putting the leftovers in the fridge only to throw it out in 2 days. What's the point of even putting it into the fridge?

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

London calling

There's something about landing in London which
makes you wanna listen to only Oasis and The Chemical Brothers while drinking Lucozade.

Outside of that I'm always struck by how the English try to be swift and efficient like the Germans at times, and yet get all of their wonderful schemes wrong. In the words of my friend Nate, there's no way the British Empire shoud've lasted longer than 10 or 12 years. Max.

For example it bafles me as to why a free train transfer from Terminal 4 at Heathrow to Terminal 1,2,3 should require a few minutes of head scratching simply because they aren't blatantly clearly that it's well... free... or where you are really going. The London Connect isn't the Paddington Express but it connects to it, but if you want Connections to London that's on the other side of the terminal.

Hmph. At least they still have Virgin Records in this city...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

BR & me; the nerds of SFO

Some people have life goals of curing scurvy or ridding the world of cauliflower

One of my life goals is to go to every Banana Republic in America. Today in San Francisco that goal is now one step closer to becoming a reality.

One of the unexpected byproducts of having Silicon Valley right near San Fran is that it has directly lead to the preponderance of dorks in the area. Many of whom are gathered at the airport with me tonight.

For the record the fact that an Indian guy happened to walk in front of my camera is a complete coincidence. Honest.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

PODCAST: DJ Shakes_2009-08-09 (Drums, Echoes, & Bass)

Simply drag the orange podcast icon on the top left of this page into your iTunes. Or:

1. goto iTunes
2. click on Advanced
3. click on Subscribe to Podcast:
4. paste this URL

T R A C K L IS T I N G (approx 43 minutes)
theme: Drums, Echoes, & Bass

[0:00] Bjork - I Go Humble (live)
[3:59] Miike Snow - Burial
[6:55] Miike Snow - Burial (DJ Mehdi Remix)
[8:33] Discovery - Osaka Loop Line
[10:40] David Tort - Acid (Lost in Ausfahrt Mix)
[13:50] Little Boots - Stuck on Repeat
[16:53] Depeche Mode - Useless (K&D Sessions Mix)
[20:58] Black Uhuru - Boof N' Baff N' Biff
[24:23] Desmond Dekker - The Israelites
[26:50] Gaudi vs. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Kahin Mot Se Bhi Na Jao
[32:16] Bally Sagoo - Tum Bin Jiya
[36:14] Howie B - Baby Sweetcorn (Come Here)
[40:17] Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach your Boyfriend How to Dance with you

It started out as being my "future music mix" - whatever that means - and then it just started to flow. The theme of "Drums, Echos, & Bass" is done in the spirit of many of my high school essays.... do all the writing and then try to figure out what my thesis was after the fact.

Pop quiz: Which reggae song was the first to break the Top 10 of the US charts? Let's see...was it by Bob Marley? Peter Tosh? Nopes. It's Desmond Dekker's "The Israelites" at the 24 minutes mark. God bless music education.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

...and I'm gonna miss everybody and I'm gonna miss everybody...

Is it just me or is "The Crossroads" by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony the song which people feel the greatest need to sing even though no one has any clue what the words are. "Informer" by Snow is a close second.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Turtle, Drama, & Jack Purcells

There are not too many things in life that I can be very sure about...but this is one of them: there is no fucking way that Turtle should've ever agreed to allowing Drama have a scene with his girlfriend in last week's episode of Entourage. This has all the makings of a terrible decision that will cause some sorta ...err.... drama going forward.

I can see Drama starting to like her or acting like a dick (he sorta is, anyways) or Turtle getting jealous...yadda yadda yadda. Either way, bad shit is going down.

You can just see bad things happening from like a million miles away. There is no way this ends up good.

Also, why don't most kids know what Jack Purcell's are? Is this what America has come to? Can't people recognize the name of classic shoes anymore? My informal poll of 4 random people at work showed that no one had a clue

I thought every kid would know about's as American as the Gap sweatshirt and khaki pants. But alas no one knows them. Except me. And the kind folks at J Crew.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

optometrists, liars, & puffs of air

One of the biggest scams out there is the optometrist. They basically make up this bullshit "law" that a prescription is only good for a year and than in order to get a refill on your contacts you have to have an up-to-date prescription....which means you HAVE to go to the optometrist.

Now this would be all fine and good if there actual job wasn't a total crock. Now at this point allow me to refine my venting, I'm directing this solely at the optometrists who are at like the mall. Because the reason they're a crock is because I could do their job without a degree.

Now I understand that some dudes will see if your eyes are healthy and all, and that's a fair response, but since I was only getting my examination to get a refill on my contact prescription so I wasn't looking for the full-on eye exam.

The reason why his job is a crock is because there's a machine that automatically does his job! I mean gimme a break. It's a machine where you place your chin on a plastic thingy and look into an eye hole and you see some picture of a red barn down a long dirt road....and the machine automatically focuses the image for you to "guess" your prescription.

It's ingenious! And takes like 30 seconds. After which of course you have to put your chin on another machine that blows puffs of air at you in order to blind you. This is considered to be a good thing.

But I digress. Basically the doctor can look at the machine's "guess" and start off with that prescription when he does his famed "Okay...number 1 or number 2?.....number 2 or number 3?" Test. It's highly technical. It's medicine's answer to the Excel goal seek function.

All this and I get the right to pay $140 after being demeaned when they make you read letters in Arial 10 point font that they know you can't read....BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE FUCKING ANSWERS FROM THE MACHINE WHICH ALREADY TOLD THEM MY PRESCRIPTION

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

wanna get away?

Here's a gem from Bloomberg News:
U.S. actor Ryan O'Neal says he didn't recognize his estranged daughter, Tatum, and tried to flirt with her at his ex-girlfriend Farrah Fawcett's funeral.

"I had just put the casket in the hearse and I was watching it drive away when
a beautiful blonde woman comes up and embraces me," the New York Daily News
quoted Ryan O'Neal as telling Vanity Fair for its upcoming issue.

"I said to her: 'You have a drink on you? You have a car?' She said, 'Daddy, it's me --
Tatum!' I was just trying to be funny with a strange Swedish woman, and it's my
daughter. It's so sick."
This is just jacked up on so many levels. Where to begin? Let's see: not recognizing your own daughter, pulling a Wedding Crasher-esque moment by Funeral Crashing, hitting on your daughter, admitting it in a magazine...

Now most normal blogs would sorta leave the story at that... I mean what more can you add? But alas this is why you come here... what I find to be pretty funny is that this article appeared in Bloomberg Magazine which quoted the United Press International which quoted the New York Daily News which quoted Vanity Fair.

So let's see, if I was writing a college dissertation and had to reference my quote it would look something like this:

"You have a drink on you?" - Ryan O'Neil*
[*Ryan flirted with Tatum at Farrah funeral. In Bloomberg Magazine, August 3, 2009. As in UPI, August 3, 2009. As in The New York Daily News, August 3, 2009. As in Vanity Fair, August 2009.]

Okay so it's not exactly the Chicago Manual of Style...but it's funny. Sorta.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

these are the people in my neighborhood #2

Tonight a small Chinese man ran at me across the street, handed me his phone, and frantically danced in circles while I was waiting in line at a dosa truck. He was delivery guy and got lost and didn't know English

The guy on the phone yelling at him for being late and so he saw me waiting in some line and sprinted across the street while making some screeching noise (Chinese I suppose) and gave the phone to me and was like "Here you!" (or maybe it was a pun "Hear/Here you!"... but given the fact that his arsenal of English could be described as being limited - at best- this probably wasn't the case)

So the guy handed his and started jumping around yelling/loudly saying "ding BA na nu mA!" Again I suppose this was Chinese. Meanwhile I took the phone and the guy on the other end was like "Where is my food? Who is this? Are you Michael?!"

I was like "What? Who? No my name is not important. I'm not Michael. I'm a guy on the street" and then gave the phone back. I then took my dosa and left.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

these are the people in my neighborhood

I consider myself to be a pretty tolerant person. I like people. All sorts of people. Even red heads with metal plates around their collar bones. But that's neither here nor there.

Every morning when I wake up and walk to the train station I walk past our town square where a group of a dozen or so Chinese people are doing slow rhythmic motions. They're doing some sort of morning calisthenics or something. One of the peeps is in charge of bringing stereo and they sway with the music. It's sorta like watching a Falun Gong demonstration without the harsh political overtones.

Now it's a little bit odd to be honest with you when you first see them it throw you off - especially because it's like 6:30am and I'm a little woozy to begin with, sudden dance movements can be startling - but after a while you sorta get used to it.

So this in my books is deemed all fine and good. You gotta do whatcha gotta do to make it through the day. If it's doing weird motions with odd music in the park, so be it.

I felt pretty good about this open view towards motion routine in both this specific case over the past few years, and generally speaking over the span of my lifetime.

Until last Wednesday

I woke up to the noise of what sounded like a tortured sheep and I had no idea where the fuck it was coming from. I looked around and the usual suspects for weird noises (alarm clock playing unexpected CD as a wake up noise, answering machine message, neighbors) didn't seem to apply. So I looked out the window and there was an elderly lady in a Punjabi dress. Laughing. At the Sea... or the Hudson anyway.

I looked closely and thought maybe she was on the phone...but there was none to be found. She was just laughing for the sake of laughing. WTF. And then it hit me, I've heard of laughing clubs in Bombay, basically guys who just laugh in the mornings because it's supposed to be good for you. But I didn't think it would make its way here. In front of my building. In July of 2009.

This woman was a one-person laughing club. And it scared me. Her laughter was seemingly echoing off my building and almost gaining intensity. It defied all wave-particle physics that I was aware of (did you know that Slinky's are fantastic for demonstrating the movement of transverse waves?)

I'm sorry but this is not acceptable. You wake up however you want on your own goddamn time, but scaring the bejeezus out of me is not cool. At all. This is not a Pareto Efficient outcome. One person is not able to maximize their utility without making someone worse off.

And you know what pisses me off more than racism and losing sleep? People who partake in non-economically efficient activities. Vilfredo Pareto didn't die in vain. He didn't!

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Jay-Z at the All Points West Festival

HoVa was awesome filing in for the cancer stricken Adam Yaunch & the Beastie Boys at the last minute. Probably the best moment was the opening song...a cover of the Beastie's "No Sleep 'Till Brooklyn" where Jigga freestyled between the chorus.

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