A School Named After Me

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A few years back, I first found about Lipson Community College which is located in jolly old England. Tonight, being totally unable to sleep, I decided to google it and man am I weired out. I grew up on Plymouth Place. Lipson Community College is located in Plymouth, England. Here is a description of the school straight from a job posting:

“Lipson is a thriving Specialist Community Arts College on the eastern edge of Plymouth. Ofsted described the College as “an outstanding ethos for learning.”

Even though the web site sucks, my sister will happy to know that the school that carries our name is focused on the arts as she is at SUNY New Paltz studying how to harness her talents to become the next Michelangelo, or at least Raphael. I really want to get a college tee shit. I think that would be cool, that is unless they are ugly, which would be a shame for an arts school.

Names and places keep following me around between the US and UK. For instance, when I lived in London in 1998, I lived in an area of North London called Highgate. I loved Highgate and will be back there in less than 3 weeks – I cannot wait! Highgate is located on the right hand side of Hampstead Heath, the huge urban yet untamed park in the northern part of London, which is just about 800 acres in size. After college, when I moved into Manhattan from Long Island, I wound up in the Upper East Side living in a building called “The Highgate.” Needless to say, the UES is in the northern part of Manhattan and its on the right hand side of NY’s huge urban Central Park, which happens to be 843 acres in size. Double weird.

Wait, it gets better and spookier. The town I grew up in on Long Island, the one where Plymouth Place lays is called East Meadow. The part of Central Park that is closest to my old apartment in “The Highgate” is called, yes, you guessed it, the East Meadow.

Weird, weird, weird!


Dropping a Deuce 211 Meters Up

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I’ve heard from my good friend Mike Perlish for years now about how great, shiny, rich, amazing, etc Dubai is and from the research I’ve done, in this case he is not embellishing. For instance, take this beautifully designed hotel, the Burj Al Arab, which looks like a giant white sail bursting up out of the sand. I think it’s the only 6 or 7 star hotel in the world, I know he stayed there and the cheapest room I could find just now was for $817. It’s also got a helipad jutting out from the side:

“Standing 321 meters high on a man made island, the Burj Al Arab has a helipad which is situated 211 meters high, covering a surface area of 415 square meters.

In case the picture above doesn’t say 1000 words, it was converted into a tennis court earlier this week for the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Andre Agassi and Roger Federer had a friendly volley on it and neither of them fell almost 900 feet to a grisly death below. The link above takes you to Fox Sports which has a 14 pic slide show. Check them out… they’re sick!

Via Chris


Orson Scott Card To Write “Ultimate Iron Man”

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One of my favorite authors, Orson Scott Card, is going to write the first few issues of Ultimate Iron Man, a new Marvel title that is launching early next month. How will the author who wrote the classic Ender’s Game (which is actually recommended reading now in a number of high school English classes believe it or not), who has never written for this type of medium before, hold up? I’ll let you know next week after it comes out.


3 Words: Lego Death Star

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I have already identified 10 months before Channukah the number one item on my wish list: a Lego Death Star.

From the Lego web site: “This incredibly detailed and faithful replica of the Death Star II from Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi will make an awesome addition to any Star Wars collection. The partially constructed Death Star looms in space above the forest moon of Endor, super laser ready to fire. This unique collectable is sure to rank as one of the greatest LEGO Star Wars models ever produced!”

Here are the specs for this coolest of Lego products:

>> Includes display stand and Imperial Star Destroyer to scale.

>> Measures a full 25 inches (65 cm) high and 19 inches (50 cm) wide (including stand).

I have only one word in response: mint! It will be released in the fall of 2005 and the only thing missing at this point is the price. I’m figuring that it will be about $100 and I just don’t care. Family and friends, starting pooling your money together and Jessie, make some room on the bookcase.


Lipso Nava is kicking up Winter Heat

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I can’t believe that someone has the name Lipso Nava. Not only is there a guy with the name Lipso, but this career minor leaguer is one of the leading batters in Venezuela’s Winter League. If his email address was his first name, first initial of his last name it would be lipson@weird.com. As it is, his name sounds like a family festival I would go to each December or a genetic condition that may be passed from one generation to the next in my family. He is now also my new favorite baseball player on name alone, supplanting JJ Putz, a relief pitcher in the Mariner’s organization.

I first heard of him in an ESPN article about how dangerous Venezuela is for baseball players. “Career minor leaguer Lipso Nava gave himself up for dead when a gun was pressed against his temple by a thief who demanded Nava’s new Hyundai Elantra.” I feel for him and his family, not just because he is my namesake. I’m hoping to meet him one day – hopefully he’ll back in the US soon playing nearby so that I can get a picture, his autograph and who knows, maybe grab a beer with him.


Summer Camp II

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On Saturday night, I attended the second Camp Lohikan NYC reunion and experienced for the first time what many other bloggers have experienced: someone came up to me and said, “I loved your post! I found your blog by doing a google search and absolutely loved it!” In this case, it was an entry I wrote last October about camp. Not only did Karen love it, but she sent it to tons of people that I knew from those days who also loved it. It was very interesting to say hello to people and to have them immediately say, “I loved what you wrote!” Not that I minded…

In the spirit of giving the people what they want, my resolution now is to post more entries about camp and my memories from those halcyon days. Not all be mushy like my first and only camp post. In fact, most won’t be. But, before I move to far along in life and before I forget even more of what I used to know, I’m going to get some of this stuff down. Stephanie has said in the past to post more memoir-style entries, to write more “I remember…” exercises and then post them and I think that camp is the perfect source of material.

So, my first memory is about Canteen, the Rec Hall and the video game Galaxian. When I was in the inter division, we had Cantenn after dinner. Canteen was a time when, with all the other campers in our division, we got to go buy candy ($1 a day stipend was provided before you had to pay out of pocket) and play video games in a room that was in the back of the multi-purpose Rec Hall. There were about 20 stand up coin-op video games in that room, some more popular than others. The popular ones always had a line and I hated lines. Canteen lasted for only a finite period of time and I didn’t want to waste that time by just standing around. So, for some reason, probably because no one was playing it because it was so damn old, I started to play Galaxian, a Space Invaders sort of game put out by Midway in 1979.

This game became MY game, mostly because no one else ever played it. It got to be a joke – “Where is Jeff? He’s at Galaxian, duh!” I played it the entire Canteen period most days during my time at Lohikan, year after year. When I became a senior, Canteen switched from after dinner to after evening activity and when a lot of people were off hooking up at the riflery range or down by Arts and Farts, I was alone in the Canteen with Galaxian.

Over time, I got really good and could go many, many levels without ever losing a ship. Others who would see me playing were in awe — I was that good. It was a zen thing, because I knew the exact patterns for the first couple of boards, it was in essence meditation after a long day. I knew exactly where to be, when to fire, how to bob and weave my way through the missiles that were fired against me and I almost never faltered. If I died on one of the early boards, I just tanked the game and started over. I became one with the machine, and it seemed that my hands reacted faster than my mind could even process the info that was being presented to me. 17 missiles would be coming at me and somehow I would be able to juke them all. It became MY thing – this game was MINE. I would stretch my 3 lives out over 20 – 30 minutes. If I got on the game, basically you were just left waiting. With so many other little things out of my control, whether or not I was popular, whether or not a certain girl liked me, etc this game was one of the few little things in camp I could control and I just didn’t control it, I dominated it.

I think it occured during my last summer but eventually the game wasn’t just mine anymore. An Australian counselor with a pony tail named John (I think he taught music, I seem to remember him travelling about with a guitar) started playing this game as well. It was frustrating to show up and find someone playing – for three years this game usually was empty or if someone was playing, they would die rather fast and I would soon be on it for the remainder of Canteen. He was a different story though for he knew what he was doing. I remember one epic night when we played a 2 player game where we each rung up around 30K – 50K points. We actually attracted a crowd around us because we both were so damn good and this game was such an odd one to feature two video game gunslingers in battle against each other. He would play for 10 minutes, then I would play for 10 minutes, back and forth, past the time when Canteen should have ended. I’m not sure what happened. I like to think that neither of us were defeated, instead we just ran out of time to continue our battle.
Years later, I not only remember the game but the battle and all the other nights that I spent playing it. I remember that when I occasionally found myself in a relationship, I still managed to find time to play it at least once a night. It was my ritual and it needed to be done. I now have Galaxian for the Atari 2600 – yes, I have a working Atari 2600 – but its not the same because you can fire too many missiles. One of the features that I liked about the older stand up coin-op version was that if you fired a missile, it either needed to hit an alien ship or it needed to leave the screen before you could fire another one. The Atari 2600 version allows you to fire missiles at will which means you need a lot less skill to excel at it. I’ve been looking on eBay for a real stand up coin-op version of Galaxian and have seen ones for around $500 – $1000. Once I get a place that is big enough for it, I’m going to thrown down and purchase it. Then it will always be Canteen time in my home. I can’t wait.


Secret In-and-Out Burger Menu

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For all those headed to the west coast soon, here is a run-down of the items on the secret menu at In-and-Out Burger. This place is quite possibly the greatest burger joint on the planet. If you didn’t know, In-and-Out Burger’s menu has only 4 items on it – burgers, fries, beverages and shakes. However, there are a number of items that are off the menu yet known to all employees. Now when you hear someone ask for their burger “animal style” you won’t be so confused…


Tell Someone What You Really Think

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Get it off your chest here…In addition to the specific city, state, and federal agencies detailed below, the city’s 311 number is a great routing service for complaints.

Filing a report with the Better Business Bureau can be a) therapeutic and b) useful for other consumers as well as publications such as MUG – we won’t knowingly ever recommend a company or service with an unsatisfactory rating.

DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division. Specific airline Customer Relations Managers.

Cable TV
Dept.of Information Technology & Telecommunications

Office of the Attorney General

Civil Rights
Office of the Attorney General

Consumer Fraud
Office of the Attorney General

Consumer Goods and Services
Department of Consumer Affairs Info, Complaint Form.

Consumer Product Safety
Consumer Product Safety Commission

Do Not Call Violations

Fake/Toy Gun Sales
Department of Consumer Affairs

Heat and Hot Water
Call 311. More info.

Call the NYS Insurance Dept., Consumer Services Bureau at 212.480.6400.

Hospital Care
Call the NYS Dept. of Health at 212.268.6554.

Identity Theft

Illegal Dumping
Dept. of Sanitation
Investor Protection
Office of the Attorney General

Mobile Phone Dead Spots


Public Advocate for the City of NY

Police Officer Conduct
Civilian Complaint Review Board

Call 311 or use the DOT form.

Rent Security Deposit
Office of the Attorney General

Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene

Smoking Indoors
Bureau of Tobacco Control

Office of the Attorney General

Street Lights

Taxi and Limousine Commission

Traffic Signals and Signs
Call 311. More info.

Websites or Internet Service Providers
Office of the Attorney General