Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Well well, sixteen Russian

I received another gem of a spam email today. I figure this must be a technique of getting junk mail past spam filters, but I prefer to think that crazy people are composing these messages.
From: Jackson Mcgillicuddy
Subject: Well well, sixteen Russian

[a link that I will not reproduce here]
Hear it occurred to call upon. Said pott with large room Gabriel grub was carried away. Stop in every night before. ovodpkxg
Winkle trembling with such thing. Because they seemed rather think. Samuel slumkey hall and contented himself
I think this might be inspiration for a poem. Actually, it may already be a poem. I can totally see it. That's some deep stuff. Clearly Gabriel Grub is a metaphor for man's sense of purpose. That he is "carried away" is a symbol of the directionless ebb and flow of modern society. Samuel is obviously the prophet Samuel who anointed King David, but in the contemporary world there are no more poet-kings in whom he can put his faith, so he contents himself with an existence of slumping through halls, ever in search of a bygone age.

Yeah, I'm practicing for grad school. I think I'll be fine.

*UPDATE* Upon further research I discovered that Gabriel Grub and Samuel Slumkey are both characters from Dickens's The Pickwick Papers. This opens up whole new avenues for analysis.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fun with camera effects

Because the phrase "self-indulgent blog post" is beautifully redundant, I'm using today's post to show off my iPhone photo taking/editing skills. Marvel at how hipster I am!

The world's most pretentious night stand:

Thanks to the magic of photo editing, this overly dark picture, 

can become this overly creepy picture:


And finally, an attempt at making a photograph of myself with 
a head massager on my face look kind of like a Chuck Close painting:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Final Countdown!

Yesterday at work I was listening to Pandora - as you know I am wont to do - and I was invited (by an ad) to listen to 5-Hour Energy's "Get Up and Go" station. It's all pump-up songs to get you moving and excited. Also to keep you awake at work, I wager. The first few numbers were of the pop hip-hop genre. Then they played one of the greatest pump-up songs ever: "The Final Countdown" by Europe. If you haven't heard it, GTFO. No, no, I'm joking. I will post it below for both newbies and seasoned listeners alike.

Many of you will recognize it as Gob's theme song from Arrested Development. But I wonder how many of you have ever actively listened to the lyrics of this little ditty. It's clearly about space travel, that much I understand. The "countdown" of the title most likely refers to the countdown before lift-off. Okay, that's fine. But when you really listen to the verses, you start to realize that English is not Europe's first language. (They're Swedish.) And then you start to wonder how they came up with the words that make up "The Final Countdown." Maybe they thought these words sounded good in succession. Maybe they knew these words all had something to do with space travel. Maybe they had a really bad translator. I don't know. It seems like they're going for something deep, but it's not coming across.

Listen carefully to the lyrics, and you be the judge. Keep in mind: you will accept these words at first as making sense because grammatically it works, but then think about what they're saying and tell me if the story of the song means anything, particularly the part about Venus and a previously-unmentioned female character. I say it means nothing. But then again, so do a lot of songs. It's still epic. I just wanted to bring this to your attention. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy Pi Day!

Dear readers, yesterday was 3.14, or more popularly, Pi Day. To celebrate, I decided to make a blueberry pie. The following chronicles my epic journey to pie greatness.

To start, I had been craving blueberry pie for a couple weeks, ever since my dad made one for a family dinner we had at our house. I was excited about the pie, but because he opted to go for pre-made pie filling, the end result left something to be desired. We have great blueberries in Florida right now, so after I got off work yesterday, I popped down to my local Publix and picked up a couple pints and some pie crusts. Also I got some blueberries. Hyuck hyuck.

Back home, I assembled my ingredients, which were surprisingly few.

That, for the record, amounts to:
4 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 pie crusts
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A little bit of butter, to be used at the end

I mixed the dry ingredients together and then coated the blueberries with the mixture.

Next I poured all that into the bottom pie crust and dotted with butter. (I eye-balled that.)

Ok, here comes the tricky part. The recipe told me to make a lattice for the top crust, but on how I was to accomplish this feat, the recipe was frustratingly silent. Thanks to the trusty Internet, however, I found a way. I won't go into detail on how I did it. You can follow the link if you're interested, but here's a picture of the crust I sliced for it.

Lattice complete, I decided to brush the top with an egg wash - 1 egg, beaten, mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar - to help the top get pleasantly browned. That was my creative contribution to this product.

Then I baked it at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes. The recipe called for 50, but the egg wash browned that sucker pretty fast. The end result was a thing of beauty.

Immediately after it came out of the oven, this thing was bubbling like a pit of lava, so naturally, I videotaped it. Listen close to hear me whispering to the pie and telling my mom to be quiet so you can hear it bubble.

Finally, here are some progress shots from my consumption of this masterpiece.

I invited some friends over, and all agree, Pi Day was a rousing success. Jealous? How about after I tell you that I ate the second piece with ice cream? Yeah, I thought so.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My problem with Pandora

First of all, let me say that I am a huge fan of Pandora Radio. If you don't use Pandora, you probably should. Though, apparently, you can use it too much. I have a friend who recently was told by the site that she had exceeded her monthly usage. Didn't know that was a thing. Be that as it may, I love being able to make my own radio station that will play music I like and introduce me to new bands. I have it constantly playing during the four hours I spend at work each morning.

But I have one major problem with it: the ads. I'm not saying the presence of ads bothers me. I understand why they're there, and I'm not willing to pay a monthly fee to have them go away, so I tolerate having my music interrupted occasionally by 30-second spots. What I wish, though, is that I could somehow decide which ads I get. You know how Hulu occasionally asks you whether the ad is relevant to you? I want that. Because when I'm a receptionist in the front room of my parents' office, I don't want loud advertisements for Trojan's new Fire and Ice Condoms suddenly blasting from my computer. The worst was the two weeks before the movie No Strings Attached came out. Promos for that movie played constantly on Pandora, and about two seconds into it, Natalie Portman practically shouted, "Do you want to use each other for sex?" That does not sound good to passers-by, clients, tenants, the people I'm talking to on the phone, or particularly, my parents. Doesn't Pandora realize that people listen to this at work? Can't they have nice ads for things like office supplies or vitamins? Is that too much to ask?