Monday, January 31, 2011

two things...

1) If dumb people and athletes weren't allowed to have twitter my nightly viewing of news and SportsCenter would result in actually watching stories about news and sports.

2) I think I missed the memo where people now feel okay about casually driving through red lights. Red is the new yellow.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

video games imitating life imitating video games

I was watching the NHL skills competition and then remembered seeing this video from a little while back...

Basically it's a junior hockey team from Canada which celebrates their wins like the characters from EA Sports' epic video game NHL '94. The players celebrations after wins was essentially guys holding their sticks over the heads with both hands and moving them up and down. It was especially funny to watch people skate in all directions (backwards and forwards) while stuck making this pose...

Big props to #3, defensemen Brandon Underwood, for doing the backwards booty shake.

This one is pretty awesome and the Kamloop Blazer's website even has the reaction to the celebration as one of its top stories. Dude, when you're a Western Hockey team and you're getting 140,000 hits in less than a few weeks on a 30 second posting of your celebration, you know you're doing something right.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

the illadelph

Part of my MLK weekend where I had a nice little day trip. If you're looking for a city to kill a day in, Philly is your city. After spending about 24 hours there there is nothing which makes you wish you had a few more hours there.


Philly gives you all that you can handle in one single day. Any more and you start wonder why it feels like a dump if you move more than 10 blocks away in either direction from City Hall.

New York feels like you barely got your feet wet in one day. You're actually doing yourself a disservice by only going for one day.

Boston has too much history to be capture in one day.

DC will always leave you wanting to go to one more museum or memorial.

LA will.... well.... you'll probably spend most of your day in traffic so by definition you need more than a day.

Philly, on the other hand, will leave you wanting for your train ticket, Bolt Bus pass, boarding pass, or car keys after one day.

There are nice restaurants, nice places to spend a few minutes (e.g. Rittenhouse Square), decent shopping blocks, the token college bar hangout spot (Old City), but after that...well... don't hold your breath.

One of the best summaries of Philly comes from Hockey Hall of Fame goalie Ken Dryden, in his book "The Game." While Ken was referring to Philly's hockey team in his blurb, you can feel his view of the city is captured in the passage as well:
I don't like the feeling I get in Philadelphia. It is a hollowness, deep and disturbed, as if something is about to happen that I don't want to happen but can't stop. Before the day's end I feel threatened and physically afraid. I will hate fiercely (and admire). I will scream and curse, and get angrier than I ever get. In victory, I will gloat. Then slowly the hollowness will return, and I will be left to wonder about feelings I didn't know I had, about the nature of what I do, about things I never wonder about at other times. Only the Flyers do that to me.
And there you have it. Now clearly I went to Philly under my own volition - and it does have its moments. The thing is that all those moments can be quickly digested without the need for wanting much more. Sorta like a 10 piece Chicken McNuggets. Philadelphia, give it a day and you'll be happily along your way. Philadelphia, now less relevant than ever. Philadelphia, where the only thing they're #1 in is artificial cheese sandwiches.

I should work for Philadelphia's tourism board.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chinese mothers, my parents, and the Wall Street Journal

There was recently a pretty funny article ("Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior") in the Wall Street Journal about why Chinese moms approach child-raising from a different perspective than Western moms. Essentially the author tackles the expected issues: forcing kids to study hard, not accepting bad grades, frowning on sleepovers at friend's houses, being forced to play an instrument, etc., etc

Now early on the writer, Amy Chua, makes the comment that many of these same Chinese mom traits can be applied to Indian families too. So with that I felt a few important clarifications needed to be made with my experience versus the one Chua writes about. So here are some key observations from my perspective

- I don’t think I was ever prevented from going to sleepovers, but I didn’t exactly go to many. I can count the number I went to on one hand. So it’s hard to tell whether my Parental Units were “normal” or if it they only “seemed” normal because I never really pushed the envelope. It’s sorta like in college… one of the sadder things was seeing how many kids were basically “informed” by their parents what their major would be (mostly the pre-med kids). When I told them that my parents never once questioned my major they thought it was pretty cool. And it IS pretty cool I think, but this is the thing: I wanted to major in economics and poli sci. These aren’t exactly controversial majors the parents have arguments about.

- As a corollary to the sleepover issue, I did have a seemingly unreasonable quasi curfew of 10pm (basically the time when The Parental Units started getting annoyed if I was still out). In high school I finally realized the sleepover/curfew arb (namely no issue with sleeping over, versus annoyance of staying out late) and I frequently claimed I was sleeping over at my friend Jason Woolman’s house down the street. When I would return home at 2am under the premise that “I wanted to just sleep in my own bed and wake up in my own house” it was actually weirdly endearing to my mom. I’d actually win bonus points for coming home in the middle of the night.

- Technically speaking my parents always said we’re happy with whatever grade you get, as long as you try your best.* The important disclaimer is that apparently “my best” was always getting an A.

- I don’t know how to play an instrument but randomly like 2-3 years ago my mom thought I should, so she mailed me a harmonica (mind you this is while I was like 30 years old). When mom told me of her objectives (despite initial protests such as “I don’t know how to play one,” “I don’t want to play one,” “help?”) such she ended the phone call with the ominous statement “maybe you should just take it around with you so you can play and practice when you have spare moments.” Bad move mom. Bad move. So I then embarked on a month long odyssey of taking the harmonica everywhere and texting pictures of it to my mom. So Ihad pictures of the harmonica on my car dashboard, at a bar next to a beer, next to a tree, at work, with friends, on a plane seat…Luckily mom has a sense of humor so she was mildly amused.

These are my thoughts, observations, pains, and struggles …

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