Sunday, August 31, 2008

Couch Challenge '08: Two-hour update


I'm two hours in.

There are certain contingencies that you have to plan for when attempting a feat like this. What happens when you have to eat? When you get bored? When you have to go to the bathroom?

With that in mind, I did do some planning ahead, but I'm interested to find out what unforeseen difficulties arise. Here's the basic list of essentials that I brought with me to the couch:

Xbox.
Computer.
Sheet and sleeping bag.
An assortment of magazines and books.
Juice, cereal, wheat thins, chips and salsa.
A plastic bottle for obvious reasons. Go big or go home.

The major item I lack, however, is a remote. Unfortunately, this the most important element for this challenge. Without a remote, how am I going to switch from DVD to television to video game? Hopefully, I can get someone change it for me, but if all else fails I did bring a cane to try and reach T.V.

Here are a few other interesting 24-hour challenge possibilities:
  • In Wal-Mart
  • On the toilet
  • Without sitting down
  • Without opening your eyes
  • Without talking
  • Naked
Entourage just ended, and I think I might have to pee.

Couch Challenge '08

The 24-hour couch challenge is upon me. With LoLita as my witness, it began at 3:56 p.m.

The rules are simple. All you have to do is exist on the couch for a full day without getting up. You can sleep, read, play video games, surf the Internet, watch television or movies--but leisure activities only, please.

Stay tuned for updates; Entourage is on.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

On bringing it back

The other day, I was pedaling to class when I encountered a "bro" wearing a flat-billed, fitted hat--you know, the kind with the sticker still on it--and I was overcome by a sudden urge to flick his it off as I rode by.

Then it hit me: What if we had the grade-school institution of "bully" in college? I won't continue exhaustively with this train of thought, but I was amused by the possibilities. I've always wanted to be in a fight, and that would be the perfect opportunity.



Other things I'd like to see brought back:


High fives.


Overalls--my main attire in fifth and sixth grade.





Skip-It.

Also, the elevator rule. One of my few complaints about state school is that it seems that giant herds of people have no concept of how to move around. They come into class before people get a chance to exit, and they walk mindlessly in the middle of the road. /End rant.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bacchanalian Mondays: The most interesting man in the world

I present to you the most interesting man in the world.


There are various perspectives on exactly what characteristics the most interesting man in the world would possess. Some would say he is an a specialist--an expert in his field. Perhaps he is well-traveled or a true gentleman, the picture of class and refinement. Others would say that he must simply be eclectic and mysterious. Here is one interpretation, and perhaps he is all of these things.




Stay thirsty, my friends.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Manspeak

Sports. It's the universal man language.

The beautiful thing about it is that (usually) no matter what fellow male you meet, you can bridge the conversational gap by a well placed, "So did you see the game last night?" This can provide a subject that will sustain prolonged discussion.

I, however, am far behind the rest of my brethren. Despite attending a month-long, rabidly athletic camp for 10 summers, I remain pathetically devoid of knowledge about any sport except soccer.

Examples: My NFL knowledge barely has room for a vague knowledge of who Barry Sanders is and why he was notable. My NBA knowledge is solely dependent on the 1993 video game classic, "NBA Jam." This means that the only players I am even slightly familiar with are Moses Malone, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen Dennis Rodman, and a few others.

My brother recently salvage an awkward lunchtime rendezvous with an acquaintance by discussing the highs and lows of cycling in the Tour de France and the merits of the North Carolina Tarheels. After seeing the power of sports in action, I am convinced that an integral part of becoming a man is developing a basic foundation of pertinent sports trivia.

Friday, August 22, 2008

That'll cost him about a tenth of a point right there

In the spirit of the Olympics, more video comedy from the 1980s. Paul Hunt performs a gymnastics comedy routine:



Thursday, August 21, 2008

And then, of course, releasing the vultures

Couldn't help writing another post along the Monty Python trend. Here is one man's interpretation of what to do with the lower classes:





I suppose it's a good thing neither of the two candidates for president espouse these beliefs. But what good comedy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Commentary makes everything funnier

Recent discovery #787: Commentary makes routine or casual activities funnier. Frisbee golf, eating, making coffee, novel writing?



Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Shorties

British singer Estelle is apparently into shorties, which spells good news for me. Check it out:
"I just met this 5'7" guy who's just my type..."
I'm just her type!




Monday, August 18, 2008

Bacchanalian Mondays: Croatian 'Stache Bash

Introducing Bacchanalian Mondays. Here's the plan: Every Monday, I'll highlight a new person (or group of people) that I would love to party with. Sounds like a great way to start the week to me.

(Photo--Kristian Dowling/Getty Images)

First up: The Croatian men's water polo team.

The number one-ranked national team of Croatia decided to put aside the razor--for their upper lips at least--when goalkeeper Josip Pavic showed up to training camp with a healthy 'stache. The whole team decided to follow suit, partly to honor their coach, who is appearing in his ninth Olympics, and partly to give themselves a few extra ounces of luck. It's hard to imagine a party with these gents not being awesome. Any group of fellows that owns mustaches like these is alright in my book. Hurrah.

(Photo--William West/AFP)

"It's for good luck, but we can't talk about it--it's a secret; if I tell you, it will ruin it," Igor Hinic said in an interview with Reuters.

(Photo from NBC footage.)

Another fun fact about the sport: In 1984, Terry Schroeder (now the current U.S. water polo coach) was chosen to have his body be the model for a generic statue of an Olympian because of all the American athletes, he was said to have the best physique. Another great reason to play water polo.

That being said, America dominated Croatia on Saturday, defeating them 7-5 in one of the greatest upsets of the 2008 Games so far.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

How to have better optical intercourse in just one hour

The television in our living room lacks a remote, which explains why I am watching "The Hills." When I turned it on and sat down, I realized that it was already on channel 57, a.k.a. MTV. Unfortunately, I was already solidly ensconced on the couch and obviously couldn't be bothered to get up and find something else.

Whilst waiting for someone to walk by so I could ask them to change the channel for me, the unthinkable happened. A marathon re-cap of "The Hills" came on, and I was forced to watch it for the rest of the afternoon. Season Four premieres tomorrow, which explains the all-day debauchery today, and despite my rancor toward reality television in general, and especially the SoCal kind, I couldn't stop watching.

"The Hills" and its prequel, "Laguna Beach," never cease to amaze me because they both succeed at two things: 1), Fueling the irrational obsession with Cali glamor and 2), sensationalizing conflict and poorly equipping their viewers for properly dealing with it in their own lives.

"My favorite thing about 'The Hills' is the drama." --Whitney Thompson, recent winner of "America's Next Top Model"

"'The Hills' is like crack [or porn for girls, perhaps?]," dramaholic gossip blogger Perez Hilton said during a segment that relived the top ten most thrilling moments of the show. "When Lauren chose Justin over going to Paris, the entire world said, 'What the f--- are you thinking?'"
Enough said. "The Hills" is full of people that are pros at creating discord and then responding to it poorly. Beyond their cash and pretty faces, these young ladies are famous largely for making bad decisions, because making good ones just doesn't equate to entertaining television.

Lauren Conrad, the star of the show, has been doing just that on national television for the last four years. Four years of lovers' trysts and friendships (if you can call them that) falling apart. Four years of viewers smacking their foreheads in disbelief.

But that's what makes the show the highest-rated night program and keeps 3.6 million pairs of eyes tuning in every week, greedily having optical intercourse with the drama-oozing lives of several 20-something kids that lead overly charmed lives.
"They feel like the cast is their best friend." --Perez Hilton
And past all of the artificial drama--which, thanks to the show, has become not so artificial anymore--is a fake reality that very few people in America desperately crave but can't actually relate to.
People get "to live this dream, aspirational L.A. life that they would never normally get to see." --Melanie Bromley, West Coast bureau chief for "Us Weekly"
That said, the fourth season airs tomorrow at 9 p.m., and I'll be on my couch, eyes peeled.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

8



The anticipation is killing me. 9:58 p.m. come quickly!

Truman in love with Truman

Pat and I watched "Capote" recently, and we were both surprised by how manipulative and full of himself Truman Capote was. At one point in the movie, Harper Lee makes the comment that "Truman is love with Truman." We both agreed, as I think most viewers would, that the man was incredibly vain.

But there was also something interesting about him because he was fairly confident that his book was going to be a major hit and possibly even change the way people wrote--and he was absolutely right.

What it would be like to know that what you create will have a national or worldwide impact? I guess for Truman the cheeky statement "It's hard to be humble when you're this talented..." would actually be applicable.

The same applies elsewhere: What would it be like to be Solomon, knowing that the was the wisest man in the world? Or Warren Buffet, the current richest man in the world who toppled Bill Gates with a $10 billion profit last year. Or Nastia Liukin, the Russian-American gymnast who won the gold in the women's individual all-around two nights ago. (At the age of 18, she has her own sponsored website.)

With all of these--wealth, talent, physique, success--the unfortunate side affect is what afflicted both Solomon and Truman Capote. Once blessed with success, it apparently becomes increasingly difficult to maintain humility, when in reality even the most talented individuals owe their abilities to others--if not to a higher power, then at the very least to those who have poured into them, influenced them, and enabled them to reach the heights that they have.

It leaves me wondering what will happen to Michael Phelps when he makes Olympic history.

I think the desire for fame is ultimately a wrong desire because there's no ceiling or limit to it. Do you want to be the best in your school? In the country? In the world? If fame is the main focus, there can only be disappointment because in the unlikely event that someone hasn't done it better in the past, there will almost certainly be someone who does it better in the future. More than that, focusing solely on fame negates the truly fulfilling element of achievement. The only thing that can meaningfully set us apart is how we impacted others while we were here.
(Photo from Peep Show footage.)

Solomon has this to say:
Better was a poor and wise youth
than an old and foolish king
who no longer knew how to take advice.
(4:13)

The majority of us, however, will probably be faced with a more likely dilemma. There's a bit in the British serial "Peep Show" where Jeremy says to Mark rather forlornly, "What if I'm not really in the 5 percent of people who think they are good and really are, and instead I'm actually in the 95 percent of people who think they are good but really aren't?"

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Internet image use: stealing?

I have a bit of a problem on my hands. These days, the days of mass media overwhelming amounts of information, people have a hard time slogging through even the most well-turned phrases on the Internet if there isn't additional eye candy on the page. That's just how it is.

My dilemma is this: I don't always have my own personal images on hand to supplement the copy, so I'm tempted use other pictures to enhance my blog. But is it legal?

With the Golden Rule in mind, would I want people to reproduce my images or work without my consent? Feeling the way I do about creating (potentially) interesting content, and knowing the role images play in that process, I'd have to say that I wouldn't mind as long as I was credited for them. Unfortunately, however, the Golden Rule doesn't trump the actual law of the land.

Besides, my feelings may be largely contingent upon my current status. I am hardly an established writer/photographer, and I usually don't get payed for what I write or the pictures I take, so at this point I'm just happy for anyone to promote me. It's possible, and even likely, that I'll feel much differently if I ever do reach that stage.

Internet marketer Amy Cham, who incidentally is not a lawyer, said this in her blog:

It is not necessary to file a formal application for a copyright. As soon as a work is created--a story is written, a picture is taken, or a statue is sculpted, for example--the creator owns the copyright to that work. This is the case online as well. A webpage, messageboard post, digital photo, and even email communications are subject to copyright as well.
Citing the source of the information or image, while it protects you from plagiarism and is a good start, is not a guaranteed way of avoiding copyright infringement. Luckily for some of us, there are still ways to legally incorporate copyrighted material. This falls under "fair use."

Fair use is the basic idea that comment, criticism, news reporting, teaching, research, and scholarship are all protected. Since many bloggers fall into some of these categories, it's safe to say that, for the most part, we are protected in the realm of image use.

Problogger.net had this to say:
Copyright tends to vary from country to country, but in most English common law based societies, the concept of Fair Use or Fair Dealing generally applies to the use of copyright protected images on your site. Basically using an image as an extract/ compliment to a post would normally be considered fair use. Using it as part of your blog's design however would not.

Images from commercial sites should always be deemed copyrighted unless it is clearly indicated otherwise, and you should generally consider not using them, unless you are clear on legal concepts of fair use.