On Being Thankful

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It’s Thanksgiving, our national holiday of overeating mixed with family agita, and the Gray Lady has a good op-ed about it. It says in part:

It’s worth raising a glass (or suspending a forkful for those of you who’ve gotten ahead of the toast) to be thankful for the unexpected, for all the ways that life interrupts and renews itself without warning. What would our lives look like if they held only what we’d planned? Where would our wisdom or patience — or our hope — come from?

From the last Turkey Day to this one, a lot has changed in both my personal and professional lives. It’s true: the one constrant in life is change. While this change may often bring sadness and unhappiness, it can also brings delight and joy. The op-ed closes with:

Most of what life contains comes to us unexpectedly after all. It is our job to welcome it and give it meaning. So let us toast what we cannot know and could not have guessed, and to the unexpected ways our lives will merge in Thanksgivings to come.

Gobble gobble.


Roc de Blak

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Nobody usually likes to wait but today the adage “good things comes to those who wait” is an apt one for me. While awaiting my lunch order’s completion, I grabbed the latest issue of the Village Voice and in skimming through it, I learned about Blakroc, a collaboration between The Black Keys and 11 rappers (such as the RZA, Raekwon, Mos Def, Q-Tip, etc) who were gathered together by Damon Dash.
The Black Keys play music that sounds “old.” By that I mean that I thought they were a late 60’s / early 70’s band that I somehow did not know when I first listened to their tunes a few years back. The last time I made a mistake like that was when I heard Lenny Kravitz for the first time. While I haven’t gone to a Black Keys show yet, I would definitely say I’m a fan.
I’ve just spent the past 30 odd minutes on the Blakroc site listening to and watching various smokey recording (and other) sessions and boy oh boy would I have loved to have been present while these tunes were being crafted. I love the idea of cross discipline collaboration and it was amazing to see classic Midwest bluesy rock mixing with strong New York styled (Wu-Tang inflected in particular) rhymes.
The Village Voice article about Blakroc mentions “Judgment Night” as an example of a Rock / Rap crossover which made me think both of that soundtrack and movie, something I haven’t done in a long time. I believe that this crossover example will be more critically and commercially successful. It’s probably not going to ascend to the Aerosmith / Run DMC “Walk this Way” level but who knows.
My favorite part of the VV article is when Dan Auerbach, the singer/guitarist of The Black Keys, compares watching Raekwon record to “watching Bob Dylan – just someone who has such a command of their art form.” Raekwon himself says that the Blakroc project “is like brilliant acid.”
The album drops officially on Black Friday (aka the day after T-Day or 11/27) and I can’t wait to listen to all 11 of the tracks. I’m betting that the album is going to make me a huge fan of some rapper I haven’t heard of before and as new music is always good music, I’m excited for that possibility as well.


Batman owns Superman

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Recently it was called to my attention that this blog hasn’t had a picture attached to a post in quite some time and after doing some digging, it turns out that the last time that I actually posted a photo was back in February. It’s time and boy do I have the pic.
You’ll need to click on it to see it in all of its beautiful late 90’s animated gif style glory.

Thoughts on super heroes
Thoughts on super heroes

Let’s just say that if you love super heroes and/or find Christian Bale’s intensity assuming or just flat out love to laugh, then this pic is especially for you. It’s time consuming but worth it.
Via Chris


The Moon is Alive!

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A giddy sort of excitement swept through me today when I heard that significant amounts of water has been found on the moon. A NASA mission that plunged a rocket into the moon’s surface last month on purpose to possibly detect water in fact detected about 25 gallons of water in the form of vapor and ice.
“The moon is alive,” a mission scientist says. What a groovy thing to say about the lifeless rock that controls our tides.
While this is not the first time that water has been found on the moon, previously water was found in such an insignificant amount that it did not really matter at all.
This time around though things are different: this amount of water is enough to start one dreaming about setting up moon bases and then having them drill for water to survive. Carrying water is a heavy proposition – any who has hiked a decent distance will agree with that statement – and flying hundreds of gallons to the moon would be super expensive. The long time dream / fantasy for all moon explorers is that you wouldn’t need to transport water to the moon, rather you could just drill for water when you get there. Now, that seems to be at least a real possibility. Moon tourism in my lifetime? That has moved into the possible but not probable category, which is definitely better than “No way Jose.”
Via ma femme


Too Many Holiday Movies 2009

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Just in time for the holiday season is my list of movies that I will hopefully see either in the theatre or much more likely on my television screen at home. This is the third time I’ve made such a list and its been helpful in remembering what movies I at least at some point wanted to see. I add “at some point” because Speed Racer was on my “Too Many Summer Movies 2008” list and I do not think that I will ever watch that drek.
So, here in no particular order are the 11 films I would like to watch this coming holiday season: The Fourth Kind, The Men Who Stare At Goats, Precious, Pirate Radio, Up in the Air, The Slammin’ Salmon, Avatar, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Sherlock Holmes, Me and Orson Welles, The Book of Eli.
The two that I’m most excited are Avatar because I just cannot wait to see if/how James Cameron transformed the movie experience (which is something some critics are saying he did – I mean, he did make Aliens, T2 and Titanic) and The Slammin’ Salmon because its from the “Broken Lizard” comedy troupe who also made Super Troopers, Club Dread and Beerfest, some of the funniest movies that have been made over the last decade.
Like how I’ve done it in the past, when I see a movie, I’ll cross it off the list and possibly write a review blurb as well.
UPDATE: I went to see an Avatar 3D IMAX showing back over the holidays and it just blew my mind. I literally needed about a day to recover. Ever come in from the backyard into a house on a really bright, sunny day and feel that everything in the house is just washed out colorwise? Things look faded, not as sharp, and it takes your eyes a few minutes to adjust to the dimmer indoor light before you see that the couch is still the same, the carpet is still the same, etc. Well, after witnessing this 3D extravaganza, I looked at the real world for about 24 hours the same way – it felt washed out and faded. I basically had to strong arm my buddy Erik to come along with me (and boy was he glad he did) and while the movie had been out for weeks already, when we got there about 45 min early there already was a ridiculously long line. After seeing the movie, I could understand why and I feel that the hype, and ticket sales, were justified. James Cameron is responsible for about 12 billion dollars of movie ticket sales with just two movies – Avatar and Titanic. Sick.


Team of the Decade, Again

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When the Yankees played the Braves in 1999, the media hyped the event as a battle for the title “Team of the Decade.” The Yanks had made the playoffs five times in the ’90s – in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 – and won the World Series twice: in 1996 and 1998. If the Braves had won, they would have had won the same amount of championships (2) but with more playoff appearances they would have taken the title. As we all know, the Yanks swept the series 4-0 and rightfully claimed the title of “Team of the Decade.”
The next year, the start of the Aughts (as this decade is commonly known) ushered in a Subway Series for the first time in over 40 years and NYC was in a flat out tizzy. The Yanks picked up right where they left off and beat the Mets (thank the good lord) in five games to complete their quest for a third title in three years.

Now, with their 27th Championship (I’m happily watching the City Hall “keys to the city” ceremony in the background as I write this post), the New York Yankees can be considered repeat winners of the “Team of the Decade” title. Over the past ten years, the Yankees won more regular season games than any other team, made the playoffs nine times, made the World Series four times (2000, 2001, 2003 and 2009) and won it all twice (2000 and 2009), winning in the first and last years of the decade. No other team made the playoffs has many times as the Yankees. No other team appeared in four World Series. No other team won more than two. Once again, the Yankees rightfully have claimed the title of “Team of the Decade.”
Let’s see what the next decade brings. With Hal and Hank leading the charge, the Baby Bosses are ready to keep fielding teams that not only have a chance year in and year to make the playoffs but to win it all. A “Team of the Decade” three-peat sounds pretty good to me…
UPDATE 1: I just called into NY1’s live broadcast from City Hall and basically talked about this post and how the Yanks are the team of the decade, again. The “Sports on 1” anchor Tom McDonald said to Pat Kiernan at the end of my comment,

“Aren’t you impressed Pat when people call up, Jeff had all of the numbers (Pat chuckles in the background) as to when the Yankees were doing this, when they were doing that, you know, and when you do what I do for a living, you think you know a lot and then you hear from your audience and you realize they know as much if not more…”

I’ve often said that I know more than the television announcers. Now a television announcer has confirmed this belief. Nice.
UPDATE 2: ESPN has a page up on its site about this very topic titled “The Decade of the Yankees?” The page basically is a lead in for a poll and comment thread and right now, 67% of the nation believes the Yankees are the team of the decade.


Today in Flux

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On today’s date 54 years ago, Dr. Emmit Brown was standing on his toilet seat attempting to hang a clock in his bathroom, when he slipped and slammed his head on the side of the sink (11/5/55 for those too lazy to do some simple mental math). Upon regaining consciousness Brown reported having “a revelation, a picture, a picture in my head.” A picture which he crudely scrawled down on a piece of paper and subsequently spent 30 years of his life and family fortune to build: the flux capacitor.
As evidenced by three movies, two theme park rides and countless exclaimations of 1.21 gigawatts!The world has never been the same since.


Phase 2 Part 2

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I am happy to report that almost ten years after I first launched Sevensquared.com and almost six years after I first posted to WGTCTIP2 two major developments have occurred at the same time: I have changed my host (from Buzix to GoDaddy) and my blog’s content management system (from Movable Type to WordPress).   You may have noticed that I have not posted in over a month and wondered, “Why the radio silence?”  Well, backing up and moving all of my site files (as well as my blog with its 750+ posts) was a time consuming though relatively easy process that is finally complete. Sevensquared.com is dead. Long live Sevenquared.com!
These two changes (host and CMS) are big for a number of reasons:
First and foremost, I now have unlimited space and bandwidth (for a lower yearly fee no less) which means that large PDFs, images, music and movies all can be stored and served by my site along with a super stable CMS that I do not have to troubleshoot and/or maintain myself. The next time my blog weathers a comment spam attack, its someone else’s problem, not mine.
Second, its been time for a change for a long while now and I’m excited to finally freshen things up ’round the ole site.  Everything and I mean everything will be getting a redesign and/or refresh (aka a face lift) and right away you will probably notice that my beloved blog looks a bit different.  I have a new font (Georgia) and a new design theme (Thesis – which gets a lot of fan and hate mail on the web – for me thus far it’s what I was hoping for) .  Two current annoyances are that I cannot figure out how to move the next / previous entry navigation to above the post (not below the post where the nav currently resides) and that I need to learn how to code my header so that an image (and not text) appears.  Also,  search engine results will no longer take you to the entry that is indexed as I’ve moved from a static html archive system to a dynamic php based system so I’m looking into how I can resolve this issue.  In the mean time, I’ve added a custom error redirect that will take you the blog’s main page so at least you’re not stuck on a basic 404 error page.
So, look forward to lots of cool stuff happening through the end of the year and the start of 2010.   I cannot wait to see what takes shape.