No Better Place

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Scaffolding is not meant to be used like monkey bars

So remember when you were little and it was really fun on monkey bars to swing up and hang by your knees and then do a backflip off?

Yeah. Doesn't work so well anymore.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Resurrecting this bitch to try my hand at transportation engineering


I read that the MTA is thinking about doing away with G train service in Queens, which don't bother me none, since, you know, Queens. HOWEVER, in the same article I read that they don't really know what the hell they're doing with the G, and might instead extend it to Church Ave. Here's a map for those of y'all who aren't up on your Brooklyn subway ish.

The G train goes all the way to Church Ave. anyway, since they turn the trains around there or something, so they're toying with the idea of letting them pick up people on the way. I'd be down with that, for sure (Church Ave. is my F train stop, should have mentioned earlier), since it means I could get to Williamsburg without going through Manhattan or changing trains, and half the people I care about in the world are all moving to Williamsburg. But, I think we can do one better than that:

Why not just extend the G all the way to Coney Island and make the F express in Brooklyn? They share a track from Smith/9th to Carroll St, and there's an express track at least to Church Ave. because sometimes the F runs express from Jay St. Maybe they'd need to lay down more track, but whatever, worth it. That would drastically shorten the trip from anywhere in western Brooklyn to Manhattan, and would allow uninterrupted service to Williamsburg, finally uniting the borough via subway, since who wants to deal with the B61 anyway? It's the best plan ever, and if anyone from the MTA happens to read this and wants to pay me for the right to use it, email's on the sidebar.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Dear Evangelical Christians,

You already ruin everything. Please leave baseball alone.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Liveblogging the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee

I’ve been around the live-blogging block a few times now (namely, two Grammy awards and Category 7: The End of the World), but this is probably the event that I care more about than anything in the world. Yes. The 2006 Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee, the greatest example of child exploitation and pre-adolescent awkwardness in the world. With things like Spellbound, Akeelah and the Bee, and Bee Season, the National Spelling Bee is something of a cultural phenomenon now, to the point that they shifted the finals from they’re historical mid-afternoon ESPN slot (best sport ever, btw) to prime time on ABC. Should be EPIC. With an entire 12 pack of Beck’s dark and some kickass thunderstorms in the background, here we go:

8:00 pm: FINAL 13! LET’S DO THIS!
8:01 pm: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all children are created equal, but some are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable gifts, that among these are focus, determination, and the pursuit of precise spelling.” HELL YES. Sweet intro montage, glad we’ve got the big ABC budget to play with this year. Also some footage from Bee Week, which included outdoor activities. I imagine they were VERY closely supervised.
8:04 pm: First pan shot of the kids on stage, looking completely and utterly terrified.
8:05 pm: Saryn Hooks, age 14, has studied the entire dictionary. Otherwise not notable on this stage, but unlike the others, she looks like she might actually get a boyfriend some day.
8:06 pm: Hey, Chris Collins. They’re using the ABC sports team to introduce the little back story sequences where they have the kids use their extensive vocabulary to describe themselves with expected spazziness that you want to laugh at, but sort of feel guilty. As mom #1 says, “We knew Jonathan was put together a little differently from most kids.” Jonathan Horton, incidentally, wears Velcro sneakers. And thinks he’d be in the NBA if he put more effort into basketball.
8:09 pm: Spelling starts. Dr. Jacques A. Bailly, the pronouncer on this thing for, like, ever, is one of my favorite people on earth. He won the competition in 1980, and one of my biggest regrets is that I wasn’t alive to see that. Most soothing voice ever. Also, Jonathan Horton gets “exergue” correct.
8:13 pm: DING! “Awwwww.” And Allion Salvador goes down on “Nauruz.” To the comfort room with you, in this gentle, gentle competition. 12 left.
8:15 pm: Serious thunderstorm activity outside. My computer is plugged in and sitting on my lap. I’m risking my life to record this thing for you people.
8:16 pm: Kavya Shivashankar goes out on gematrial. I thought she was going all the way. Seriously, I just told Joe how awesome she was. But she’s only 10, she has 4 more chances. That said, I have no favorite anymore. I guess the potentially hot girl.
8:22 pm: Profile on Katherine Close, the girl from the Jersey Shore. She’s disappointingly normal for someone who’s been in 5 National Spelling Bees. She likes sailing, and her dog. At least this is her last bee, so we don’t have to listen to her boringass story again.
8:25 pm: Michael Christie is the year’s “biggest surprise.” I have no idea how they figure that out, though I have been wishing I could get advance scouting reports so I would know who to root for. He squeaks by on “epityphlitis.”
8:27 pm: Saryn’s up, wearing makeup and with actually washed and brushed hair. And she’s PISSED that Dr. Bailly isn’t enunciating well enough. Oh, moment of suspense, the judges may not have heard properly, but they DO have instant replay… and she apparently spelled “hechscher” wrong. I don’t care anymore.
8:32 pm: We just learned about “focus time,” which gives you an extra minute to think, BUT only once a competition. There is way more strategy involved with spelling than YOU would ever guess.
8:33 pm: There’s no comfort room for the finals. The kids sit on the floor next to their parents when they lose. HUMILIATING. They don’t even have extra chairs.
8:41 pm: SARYN’S BACK IN! WHOO. The judges admit they were wrong, and she’s back in! AMAZING! Ok, I’m reinvested. The announcer informs us that, “those are definitely tears of joy.” That’s why they have experts for these things.
8:43 pm: Jonathan Horton gets “kamaaina” correct. Fuck. He memorized every word, ever. In every language. And he still can’t tie his shoes.
8:47 pm: Rajiv Tarigopula is the renegade speller. Stayed in his own hotel, didn’t go to the cookout, and never smiles. Ever.
8:48 pm: Just before the commercial break they reveal that Saryn in fact did spell hechscher incorrectly, but the judges still reinstated her… judging scandal imminent. This could be the biggest controversy since that ice-dancing thing in 2002.
8:54 pm: Ah, clarification. Saryn was right all along, the WORD LIST was wrong. Wow. Good catch, judges. And she’s up again to nail “sphacelated.” YESSSSSSSS.
9:06 pm: Round 10. 7 spellers. Jonathan Horton goes first again, we don’t like him. Give us the hot girl!
9:07 pm: He doesn’t know it! He’s wrong! Might want to pursue that basketball dream, Jonny-boy. “Sciolto” is NOT “shalto.” Post-loser interview reveals that he “thought they were putting an easier word in a later round,” then attributes his success to, “I dunno, God?”
9:15 pm: The blooper reel corresponds with my third beer. Thanks ABC!
9:18 pm: “Shedu” is spelled correctly by our Jersey girl, who HAS apparently studied her Assyrian spelling norms. Her parents look baffled and incredibly relieved.
9:19 pm: Big Surprise Michael Chrystie goes down, keeping Syracuse winless since 1987.
9:20 pm: Saryn Saryn Saryn Saryn. “Croquignole” without asking ANY QUESTIONS SHE IS A VERY ATTRACTIVE SPELLING MACHINE.
me (9:21:02 PM): oh man the hot girl is kicking ASS
ellen (9:21:18 PM): shes a bit overconfident for me
me (9:21:27 PM): she knows her words.
ellen (9:21:38 PM): she knows words about curling hair
me (9:21:39 PM): or maybe she derives her spelling ability from her sassy haircut.
ellen (9:22:01 PM): her hair is incredibly shiny
ellen (9:22:05 PM): ill give her that
me (9:22:48 PM): jealous much?
ellen (9:23:00 PM): no
ellen (9:23:01 PM): yes
9:25 pm: They play the same clip about the Canadian girl that they played this afternoon. So what if you’re the best speller in Canada? You still have a Canadian accent.
9:27 pm: Jacques is “worried about the middle there.” LISTEN TO JACQUES, THEDORE YUAN! He asked if “syringadenous” had any alternate definitions. How Jacques Bailly never screams, “Oh, wait, yeah, there is one. It also means SPELL THE FUCKING WORD!” is beyond me. Yuan got it wrong, by the way.
9:34 pm: German words are not fair. “Heiligenschein.” A bright light around the shadow of a person’s head. The Teutons do love their words. Joe and I simultaneously yell when Rajiv starts spelling, “There’s no ‘y’ in German!”
9:37 pm: No boys left, only three girls, all three of whom look like they may reasonably be attractive someday. This has to be a Spelling Bee first.
9:39 pm: Saryn tosses her hair saucily, revealing that she totally fucking knows how to spell “austausch.” No questions, once again, she is SO AWESOME.
9:43 pm: Championship Word time. If this were a Nintendo game, the music would have just gotten faster.
9:45 pm: Holy shit these girls can spell. There’s nothing gender-specific in that (Ellen), I swear, but they just throw those words out like nothing.
9:47 pm: Saryn goes down on “icteritious.” She said “ictericious.” I’m inconsolable. The Canadian better lose. Let’s go Jersey! 5th time’s the charm!
9:50 pm: Just found Saryn Hooks’s MySpace profile. That’s all.
9:53 pm: Katharine Close stays alive. USA! USA! USA!
9:56 pm: “Saryn likes classic activities—hanging with friends, talking on the phone, and shopping—and classic rock, especially the Electric Light Orchestra.” I’m never going to recover.
9:58 pm: Katharine gets “psittacism.” These two know every word ever, this isn’t going to end. Maiuetic, aubade, poiesis, kanone, tutoyer, izzat, koine, tmesis… I think Jacques Bailly is making up words and they’re still getting the right.
10:05 pm: Finola has a blog.
I sort of like her a little more now.
10:06 pm: “Weltschmerz” trips up Finola, because she started it with a W. But she said “zed,” which is sort of adorable.
10:07 pm: “Kundalini” is nailed by Katharine (who goes by Kerry, which I admit is sort of weird, Ellen). ONE MORE WORD AND SHE WINS.
10:08 pm: The audience just freaked when Jacques pronounced her word. And it does sound like the hardest final word in a long time. “Ursprache,” however, is no problem for Katharine Close WHO WINS THE 2006 SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE, keeping it out of the hands of the damn Canucks for another year. Sponsored by the fine folks at the Asbury Park Press, too. Congratulations, Katherine/Kerry/Adorable little beach girl who likes to sail. Sorry I called you boring a little while ago.

Definitely the most well-adjusted final three I've ever seen. Solid bee all around.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

For people who think baseball is boring

Watch this video of Cubs catcher Michael Barrett punching White Sox catcher AJ Pierzynski in the face. If you know much about baseball, and AJ Pierzynski, then it's the most awesome thing ever. If you don't, it's still a pretty sweet punch in the face.

On reading

The Da Vinci Code was the worst book ever. People who liked it are illiterate. There's a movie now, for people who weren't even literate enough to read it. The newspaper of choice for illiterate people is the New York Post. This is what Lou Lumenick of the New York Post thinks about the movie:

"Ron Howard's splendid 'The Da Vinci Code' is the Holy Grail of summer blockbusters: a crackling, fast-moving thriller that's every bit as brainy and irresistible as Dan Brown's controversial bestseller."

The fittingly illiterate full review here.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

My habit of talking to crazy people will probably get me killed someday

Setting: 4th and Broadway, 6 pm
Crazy Homeless Guy With Wad of Bills That He Is Waving In Everyone's Face: I've got more money than any of you!
Me: Can I have some?
CHGWWBTHIWIEF [totally serious]: Sure! You want some?
Me: No, you keep it man.
CHGWWBTHIWIEF: No, no, take some, really!
Me: I was just joking.
CHGWWBTHIWIEF: I'm being serious! Take it! I'm just trying to hang out here!
Me: It's cool, man.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

John Vanderslice confirms what I've written four papers about in the past year

After that I was like, "Fuck paying a publicist to work your record, lets just email all the bloggers and send them a record or some MP3's."

From Brooklyn Vegan.

And here's one of my diatribes about it.