Saturday, December 30, 2006

Today's News

I don't usually read the USA Today because I think it is a highly mediocre newspaper. This week has been an exception because I have been out of town and staying in a hotel. Most hotels, at least the ones in Florida, are so cheap that they only give you the USA Today because they can get it for free. Although most of the news sources I rely on are actually online, there is nothing quite like reading crumpled sheet of newsprint while munching on my cereal. Today's headlines were especially extraordinary and outrageous. Would you believe they even offer the articles online. I can't imagine anyone would read them when there are so many better papers available but its convenient to link to.

I'm not sure but this seems a little stranger than the usual range of morning headlines. Maybe I just haven't been reading between the lines.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Video Stunt

Film director Michel Gondry recently posted a video on YouTube, claiming to be able to solve a Rubik's cube with his feet. This alone isn't all that interesting except that it seems pretty much impossible. Turns out it was actually a video riddle. Someone figured out the solution to how he made it appear that he was solving a Rubik's cube with his feet. Watch the original video here and then see the response with the solution here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Guitar never seemed so hard

As a guitar player myself I think this is really cool. I wonder if stuff like this has ever been done before?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Navy does hip-hop

The men and women of Navy Carrier Squadron VAW116, otherwise known as the Sun Kings, have had a lot of time on their hands out at sea. Some guys dreamed up the idea of making their own music videos and did a great job of it. Watch military men and women get their groove on in Hey ya and Pump it. These have got to be two of the greatest home videos I've ever seen.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I often use Pandora radio to find new music that I like but I have just discovered a new way to look for tunes. Russell Davies wrote a post of Musicovery and I completely love it. Through a twisted matrix of songs, you can choose a mood, genre, or time period and it lets you travel through the musical maze. The concept is very hard to explain so you will do better just to look at it yourself. It's available for the UK as well as the US. The only down side is that the sound quality sucks unless you subscribe for a monthly fee. All the same, a lot of fun to fool around with.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Capital Steps

I went to see the Capital Steps when they were in town this past weekend. This is the second time I have seen them and they were as good as ever. The only disappointment was that the guy who did Lirdy Dies this time wasn't as good as the guy who did it last time I saw them perform. The Capital Steps are a rather liberal political comedy group based out of D.C. If you live in the United States and aren't holed up in a cave you will find them funny. There website has a ton of free audio clips that you can listen too and I promise you will be hooked. Most of what they do is parodies of songs so just listening is enough to appreciate it. They travel all over the country and are often on NPR so keep your eyes and ears open for a good laugh.

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain

Over Thanksgiving break I was sitting around with my family looking for a movie to watch On Demand through Comcast. The recent movies they were offering that we hadn't yet seen didn't look any good so we decided to take a gander at the free movies which are mostly older stuff. I was scrolling down the list and my aunt suggested we watch this thing with a really long title. She has excellent taste in film so we went with it and I was blown away.

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain is a British film made in 1995. It is categorized as a romantic comedy but it is really a work of art. The photography is unlike anything I have seen in recent movies. Set in Wales, the scenery reminded me of a recent trip to Devon, England. The acting is really quite wonderful especially Tudor and Hugh Vaughn who play twins Thomas Twp and Thomas Twp Too. Despite being a romance this film is really a strong anti-war story, set during the time of WWI. It shows soldiers coming home shell shocked and in pieces from the trenches of France.

There is really little more that I can say. This film is so jam packed with amazing photography and great acting that everyone should really see it. There were shots of the mountain that gave me chills and quite a few moments that split my sides. When it came out in 1995 it wasn't a big deal because there was no sex or violence but this is by far one of the best movies I have seen since then. Best of all, its family friendly. The rating is PG-13 for mild language but due to the strong dialect most of the "bad words" wouldn't be understood by young ears. For a feel good film that shows why movies are made, this is the one to watch.

Walk for Diabetes

For the past three years I have captained a team for the American Diabetes Association's Walk for Diabetes. The team, made up of my friends, raises around $2000 every year before participating in the 7 mile walk. The American Diabetes Association is doing a lot to help with diabetes research. The cause is especially important to us because one of my guy friends has diabetes. As the holiday season approaches, I urge you to choose some cause you support and donate either time or money to it. Its the right thing to do and is absolutely necessary if we want to make the world a better place. The New York Times ran this article on the ADA, but theirs is just one fight among many. Its easier than you think to spare a little time or to write a check, so give back for the holidays this year.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

View of Columbia River Gorge

This was a picture taken by David F. Gallagher and featured on his site I was trying to choose my favorite from the shots on the front page of his site (and having quite a hard time of it) but this one kept on catching my eye. It was taken at Bonneville Dam, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon. He does great work and as an avid amateur photographer I really appreciate how he captures the feeling of a location. Check out his site to see more great photographs taken all over the country.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Discovery Channel runs a show called Mythbusters that I am absolutely in love with. It is very educational but without trying to be. I remember watching episodes in physics class freshman year. I think the teacher enjoyed it as much as the students. The New York Times visited the set and ran this cool slide show about the filming of a new episode. You might have to create an account to view it, but it's free and you should have one anyways. For some of the myths they use a test dummy named Buster who usually ends up getting mauled. I must say, any show where things get legally blown up is a show I want to watch and I think this one tops the list.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The picture is way more interesting than the article it accompanies in the New York Times

See article here.

Lego my Eggo

My beloved Lego's are finally leaving Denmark and going to bigger and better places. Production is moving to Mexico and the Czech Republic in order to lessen manufacturing costs. Read the article and fondly think back on childhood memories.

Science for ya

Discover Magazine has compiled a list of the 25 greatest science books of all-time, which I found through More on that coming later.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Choo choo

This is a really artistic piece of video about trains. Obviously it is not professional and the quality could be a little better, but I think somebody could do something really amazing with the idea. See Train Surfing for yourself, at

Ha's funny.

The caption in The Onion reads "Skywriter Trailed By Skyeditor."

Global Village

As someone fascinated with learning languages and traveling, a global village is a very appealing concept. This is partly identified by Concordia Language Villages, a program for high school students to live in an intensive language environment in the United States, which I attended. Someone has compiled statistics about the world and presented them in the form of a global village containing just 100 people. All the percentages stay the same, but the numbers say a lot more on a smaller scale. You can see studies like this here, here, here, or here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Soda POP

This is so incredibly cool. Well worth the five minutes it will take to watch. I think Diet Coke and Mentos make Dominos might have to be my project for next summer. To the evil mega corporations who sponsored this little experiment, you are my heroes.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Top 10

In case you have yet to notice my t-shirt fixation, here's a list of my top ten favorite places to find t-shirts online:
  1. Threadless
  2. Mission Playground
  3. Imaginary Foundation
  4. Octopus Ink
  5. Fullbleed
  6. Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
  7. Commune
  8. Monsieur T.
  10. Owl Movement

Beautiful Minds: A Voyage Into the Brain

This guy is a fascinating artist. I would think his skills could provide scientists with some insight into the autistic mind.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Another article on Google's wishes for their name not to be turned into an all-purpose verb was published in The Morning Report this morning. Read "Googling for Trouble" here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

"Just google it"

Google has launched an effort to keep people from using their name as an all-purpose verb.
Yea, I know, really. Anyways, you can read more about the corporate mayhem here. And remember you can't say that you "googled it" if you were searching on Yahoo. It is interesting to think about the evolution of a verb from a noun. I think I'll go and ponder for a while.

iPod Etiquette

The Morning News has just run an article on mp3 etiquette. As much as I love my iPod, I must agree with most of the statements they make about when ear buds are appropriate. I had an urge to send this to a professor who always pretends to be talking to you when he walks by if you are wearing headphones. He mouths words just to make you take the headphones off an annoy you. Since I know how to lip read I usually just answer his mouthed questions and he gets irritated and walks away. Luckily, I resisted the urge an instead got to bad mouth him on the Internet. Oh, the wonders of the modern world.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


If you have ever considered using performance enhancing drugs, I promise this will scare you out of it. Outside magazine did an article by an amateur cyclist who tried a normal athlete's drug regimen to see what the effects would be. Its scary stuff and frankly I find the effects disturbing. Nonetheless, read the article here to find out what happens when $1,000 drugs take over your body.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Fox 2

The new version 2 of Mozilla Firefox was released yesterday. New features include lost entry recovery. If you accidentally close a window or tab in the middle of typing an e-mail or blog entry you can set Firefox to automatically recover it. Also, the new version has individual close buttons on each tab. So you don't accidentally close the wrong one. Plenty of new add-ons too. I highly encourage everyone to switch over to Fox. Its a better system than Internet Explorer and I like that fact that I am not falling victim to the Microsoft monopoly. Plus, its completely free. You can download Fox 2 here. Also, Mozilla also offers Thunderbird, which is free e-mail software. I have used it but have heard good things.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Post from yesterday that I forgot to publish

Yesterday's word of the day was "dork." Here are some of the ways in which it was used throughout the day, most of them directed towards me.
  • Me to a friend coming to sit at our lunch table: "Help me, I'm surrounded by dorks." Her reply: "Newsflash, hon, you are a dork."
  • Me asking a friend an innocent question: "J, what kind of sandwich do you have for lunch today." His reply: "You are such a dork." (He had a cheese sandwich, by the way.)
  • And later, me to J after finding out who he was dating: "Oh, you're such a dork couple."
Also, this one isn't a dork quote, but it is amazing nonetheless. I was talking with two friends about weird family habits. C.C. says in her family they call rotisserie chickens magic chickens. I ask if that was something her parents made up when she was little to explain to her how the chicken was already cooked when they brought it home. And the other friend says, "Like sex?" I think this was in reference to explanations your parents make up when you are little, but I was laughing so hard that I didn't get the chance to ask. I know, my friends are pretty awesome. Thanks, guys.

Math Class Quote

We were talking about inverse sine, cosine, and tangent and how their domain is set for the simplest possible answers in math class today. After wondering why mathematicians chose the easiest way to solve the trigonometric inverses, the kid in front of me raises his hand and says:
Real men don't use one-to-one functions.
Priceless, absolutely priceless.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


If I had a dog, he would probably be dressed up like this for Halloween.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Gallaudet Protest

Anyone who has been reading the papers closely should know that there is currently a protest happening at Gallaudet University about the appointment of Dr. Jane Fernandez as the new university president. Gallaudet is the only Deaf liberal arts college in the country. I am studying ASL in school so I find the controversy very interesting. I believe that Deaf people should be proud of their Deafness and the that the hearing community needs to make efforts to cooperate with the Deaf community. I am not a fan of the new choice for President, who does not sign well. She has been doing interviews on the radio (through an interpreter) without providing transcripts for the students at her school. Here are some links for those of you her want to learn more.
In other news in the Deaf community, a couple on Martha's Vineyard is doing one of the first ever plays to be signed and spoken simultaneously by the same actors. It is about the Deaf community living on Martha's Vineyard in the 1890's and is called "This Island Alone." The Vineyard Gazette did a very interesting article about the production which goes up this weekend. I am hoping that they will make a VHS/DVD of the show for the public to order. NPR also did a segment on the production, which is available to listen to on their web site. Unfortunately they do not seem to have posted a transcript as well, but there are some accompanying articles on issues in the Deaf community that could be interesting.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


A couple days ago I saw this article posted on It lists the 7 most overused and worst fonts typically found in word processing programs. Looking to spice up your documents a bit? You can buy fonts at T.26 Digital Type Foundry. These fonts are not mainstream, and are custom designed for sale by graphic artists. They're a bit pricey but worth looking at and helpful for generating ideas.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Red Hot Chili Peppers

No, I'm not talking about the band. To check my e-mail I use a program called Eudora which was originally designed for Macs but is now also compatible with with my Dell desktop. I love Eudora because it checks all my different e-mail accounts at once and puts them all on one screen. I don't have to sign in to get my e-mail because I don't actually have to open an ISP to get to it. I can still check my individual accounts through Comcast and Yahoo when I am away from home. The way I keep it set up is so that Eudora is always open when I'm signed in on my computer and it dings when a new message comes in. This is incredibly convenient as I am no longer a compulsive e-mail checker; I just know when I have mail

Eudora is free software yet it is jam packed with features. Besides the address book and stationary, I haven't really figured out how to use very many of these yet (despite having the software for more than two years.) The other day I wrote an e-mail to a friend containing what my sister would call a "bad word." When I clicked the send button a window popped up telling me, "Your message is the kind of thing that might get your keyboard washed out with soap, if you get my drift. You might consider toning it down." Amazing, my computer actually has a sense of humor. Well, against my better judgement I took out the offending word and sent the e-mail. I know you can override this feature but I can of enjoy the program's cheeky humor.

I didn't really think anything of it until I got an e-mail the next day that had three red chili peppers next to it in the queue. These appeared in a category that Eudora calls the Mood Watch status. I opened the e-mail and sure enough there was an f-bomb that one of my friends had dropped into his narrative, just for emphasis. Although I was in NO way offended, it all seemed to make sense. Eudora screens the e-mails and if there is anything offensive it is indicated with red hot chili peppers. Now that's a laugh.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Bloggercycle

One of my favorite blogs (besides this one of course) is the blog of MassBike, called the Bloggercycle. Unfortunately its writer has left MassBike, because he is moving to New York, and therefore will no longer be able to work for a Massachusetts organization. The good news is that he had decided to keep the blog and continue updating with interesting and hysterical bike related news. Being a cyclist myself this is a great relief because his is the best bike blog out there. Check it out in the 'links" list.

Something useful I actually learned in math class

In math we have recently began studying circular trig. This would be of no particular interest to me except that my teacher has decided that we should include a little bit of math history in the unit. Well, in the process of talking about how the Babylonians decided there should be 360 degrees in a circle we got slightly off topic and somehow got onto the topic of leap years. Now I thought I understood leap years: they are used to compensate for the fact that each year is a little more than 365 days. I was mistaken, though, in thinking we just added a day every four years. There is actually a complicated system of making sure that our calendar stays on track. I found this whole thing about math history and calendars quite fascinating, even the part on radians (if you don't know, don't ask.) If you like me, are enough of a geek to learn more you can click here.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

More news

I just got back from my SAT prep course which went outstandingly well, and I am now feeling much better about taking the PSATs in two weeks. Not only did I not get yelled at for a change, but I also got every single practice problem I did correct. Not bad for skipping out on the homework. My tutor was absolutely shocked. Hope its a good omen, because standardized tests seems to hate me.

Please don't cringe

I am sure it is rather blatant by now, but my computer skills are rather lacking. I have no problem with the actual blogging. But of course, blogging is just writing and I'm good at writing. It is the website design that I am really clueless about. Things such as html send waves of confusion through my brain. I see other blogs filled with creative graphics and template updates. At the aforementioned I am 100% useless. For now at least, I must sullenly admit that my blog will go on in its rather boring state, with only creative wording to keep things interesting. I really would like to learn but a) I have no time and b) I have no one to teach me. Oh well. Guess I'll have to find some other way to spice up my life.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cool Art Tool

I recently received an email from a friend raving about a site she had found online. Although these are the type of mass emails I really hate to get, I warily followed the link and ended up discovering something really cool. is a site that lets your mouse draw in drip form. It starts out in black and every time you click, the "brush" changes color. As trivial as it seems, this has allowed me to create some amazing pieces that I never would have been able to do with paper or on any other program that I know of. This strange tool is actually a great way to express creativity. It is impossible for me to accurately explain what I am talking about so my suggestion is that you just visit the site. So far I have not found a way to print any of my creations but I will update if I have any luck. Happy drawing!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What I do in my (not so) free time

Because I enjoy procrastinating and not working on my schoolwork I have chosen my top ten favorite dumb laws in my state. Here's the list:

  1. Defacing a milk carton is punishable by a $10 fine.
  2. Bullets may not be used as currency.
  3. It is illegal to put tomatoes in clam chowder.
  4. It is unlawful to injure a football goal post. Doing so is punishable by $200 fine.
  5. Snoring is prohibited unless all bedroom windows are closed and securely locked.
  6. Mourners at a wake may not eat more than three sandwiches.
  7. All men must carry a rifle to church on Sunday.
  8. Quakers and witches are banned.
  9. All families must be given a hog from their town's mayor.
  10. No gorilla is allowed in the backseat of any car.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The God of Cookery

I recently watched a Chinese film called "The God of Cookery." The movie was originally shot in Cantonese but since I do not speak any Cantonese I switched the language to Mandarin. Since my Mandarin is not good enough for me to really understand what is being said I also turned on the English subtitles. This creates an interesting effect. I read the subtitles most of the time, keeping my eyes at the bottom of the screen. Then, every now and again, I look up to see the faces when I can understand the Chinese, but because the movie is dubbed over I get very disoriented looking at mouths that are not actually moving with the words. The whole thing generates a sort of language overflow that makes my brain hurt.

This alone would not make "The God of Cookery" anything special, as many mainstream Chinese movies, such as Shaolin Soccer, are formatted like this. This was one of those movies where it was so awful that it was actually funny. The movie is about this guy who is the God of Cookery but really he can't cook at all. One day his apprentice figures this out and steals his title from him. Now the former god cannot go anywhere in public safely. He ends up hanging out with a bunch of street vendors in an alley way of a rundown neighborhood. There he meets a women who owns a noodle cart, named Turkey. She is actually his biggest fan and they partner together to advertise a new product called, get this, pissing beef balls. Somehow things go wrong and the former god is forced to leave town. He ends up at a Shaolin monastery headed by a monk named "Wet Dream." I am not sure whether this is a direct translation from Chinese or not, but the movie would not be complete without this unneeded sexual reference. In the end he escaped from the monastery and uses the martial arts skills to reclaim his title as the God of Cookery.

Of course, this is all a little fuzzy because the icing on the cake is that the subtitles were not translated properly and they use improper English grammar and spelling. My final review: Although this was possibly the worst movie I have ever seen it would be a great thing to see on a rainy night with some friends. Make sure their is nothing hard that you could hit first, though, because there is the chance of falling off the couch laughing.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cool T's

I would just like to share with everyone the amazing T-shirts on one of my favorite sites, Threadless. Here's what they say about themselves:
Threadless was created by Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart. They came up with the idea after Jake Nickell won the NMUF London tee shirt competition. It felt good to win a tee shirt competition and we thought it'd be cool to extend that to the level that Threadless has become.
This has basically resulted in a site that every week releases six new amazing T-shirts for the public to buy. The shirts are unlike anything that can be bought at a chain store and offer greater variety. The Threadless community, although somewhat cult-like, is full of amateur and professional designers who inspire each other to stay creative. Their T-shirts are great quality for the price and insure some unexpected reactions when walking down the street.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Summer's End

Driving on the highway yesterday I noticed for the first time that the leaves are beginning to change which is an ominous sign that autumn is on its way. School starts on Thursday. I have mixed feelings about going back to school because I want to see my friends but dread the return to long nights spent doing homework.

This summer ended up being quite amazing. I saw beautiful sights along the California coast, learned to speak Chinese and made the greatest friends at Sen Lin Hu, and then set out to save the world at Camp IF. Alas, the Summer must come to an end but I am looking forward to all that will happen in the fall.

The Walk for Diabetes is in October and again this year I will captain a team. Everyone should come. Email me for more info. Also, I am planning on producing a film for 48 hour film fest, which is in April. Again you can email me if you are interested in participating in any way.
More soon once school starts.

Hello and Welcome

As many of you know I spend more time than I should e-mailing with everyone and trying to stay up to date on things. To make things just a little easier for myself I have created a blog so you guys can keep track of what's doing in my life. I have appropriately named this blog "The Mixed-Up Files" after one of my favorite books, From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Koningsburg. Because my life, my style of thought, and my writing are all very random the title fits perfectly with what you will see on this page. Check back for more soon. (Up next, a recap of the summer.)