Saw a link to this video on the Micro Persuasion blog. This little girl is incredibly cute and so well-spoken Check it out…
Archive for February, 2008
Saw a link to this video on the Micro Persuasion blog. This little girl is incredibly cute and so well-spoken Check it out…
One of my favorite toys growing up were LEGOs and just last month LEGO celebrated their 50th anniversary. When I was a kid the LEGO craze was somewhat limited to small plastic bricks. Now there are LEGO theme parks, LEGO conventions, and, of course, LEGO video games.
I’ve heard a lot of buzz about the LEGO video games, in particular, and I’ve been meaning to pick up a copy of LEGO Star Wars for my Nintendo DS, but I might just have to hold out because two great new games are coming - LEGO Indiana Jones (for console systems – and hopefully DS) and LEGO Universe (a new online virtual LEGO world).
Additional details about the new LEGO Universe were released last week at the Game Developers Conference. Massively.com has a great post about what they learned at GDC on their blog here.
In LEGO Universe, you have an in-game “avatar” that takes the shape of a traditional LEGO person. As a player, you’ll be able to customize the face and body of your LEGO minifigure as well as gain accessories, weapons, tools, and custom pets that will make your character unique in a virtual world filled with other LEGO people. And when the game launches (not for over a year), players will also be able to purchase traditional real-life LEGO sets of whatever structure they build using virtual blocks in the game. Very cool.
The LEGO Indiana Jones game should be coming out this summer. They haven’t announced what platforms the game will be for, but I anticipate that they will have a DS version. Check out the very cute game trailer here:
I’m looking forward to seeing how these games come out. In the meantime, I’ve pulled together a list of LEGO links that may just blow your mind:
BrickJournal - A magazine spotlighting the LEGO community.
The Brick Testament - A co-worker of mine pointed out this site to me. It is the largest and most comprehensive illustrated bible in the world with thousands of LEGO images depicting stories from the bible.
LegoLand – A theme park dedicated to the world of LEGO in Carlsbad, CA.
Lego Factory - Design, share and buy your own customized LEGO models online.
BrickWorld- An annual LEGO fan convention. This year BrickWorld will be held June 19 – 22 in Weeling, IL.
LUGNET – The International LEGO Users Group.
Flickr LEGO Photo Pool - Tons of LEGO photos.
ILTCO - International LEGO Train Club Organization
Brothers Brick - A blog dedicated to LEGOs. Check out their blogroll for a TON of other LEGO blogs.
(click image to enlarge)
Mic Monarchy will be playing their first-ever show on Saturday, March 8th at the All Asia Bar in Cambridge, MA. The show is half hip-hop and half stand-up comedy, which means that the performers will alternate between hip-hop acts and comedians. Mic Monarchy will be playing a 20 – 25 minute set around 10:10 PM. I’ve never seen any of the other acts in the show, but it should be fun and MM will be going all out for their first show as a group!
(AP) Managua, Nicaragua – The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl and ended the season with a perfect 19-0 record – at least it looks that way in Nicaragua.
The NFL donated 290 Patriots hats and an equal number of team jerseys trumpeting the slogans “Super Bowl Champions, 19-0″ to impoverished children from two small communities in southern Nicaragua.
The gifts could not change history – the Patriots lost the Feb. 3 gam to the New York Giants 17-14 – but they made a lot of youngsters in the communities of San Gregorio and Buena Vista very happy, said Miriam Diaz, spokeswoman for the humanitarian organization World Vision, which arranged the donation with the NFL.
“They (Patriots) lost, but the children won,” Diaz said. The only “football” most of the children know is soccer, but they were very enthusiastic about the U.S. version of the game once the rules were explained to them, she said.
“They were very happy to receive the hats and jerseys,” Diaz said. “They said they did not expect such a surprise.”
Neither did the Patriots.
For the past six months or so the Framingham / Worcester line of the MBTA commuter rail has been running off schedule. In my experience, at least every other day the train will be between 5 to 20 minutes late. For someone who just worked a full day and is eager to get home, 10 minutes can seem like a lifetime. Not to mention Back Bay station is the most miserable place to spend any of your free time – dark, dingy, damp, and dirty!
Over the past month, things have been on the up-and-up and the delays were fewer and farther between. Just this week the MBTA revised the Framingham / Worcester schedule. They claim that recent delays have been a result of an increase in ridership and, therefore, an increase in the amount of time spent at each stop loading and unloading passengers. Seeing the MBTA taking action gave me hope. I thought to myself ‘this is a good sign.’
I should have known better.
This evening, as I waited in Back Bay station filled with hope, I could almost hear the announcement before it was made — “Framingham local boarding next on track 5.” Instead, the intercom kicked in and I was disappointed. The announcer proclaimed “For those waiting for the Framingham local, this train has been slightly delayed.”
It wasn’t too bad of a wait (maybe 5 minutes), but I hope its not a sign of things to come.
Lucky for Dorothy, she had a cute 3-bedroom 2-bath house with a picket fence on an 8-acre farm in Kansas to think about when she uttered the famous words “there’s no place like home.” If she were living in an apartment with Auntie Em, Uncle whatever-his-name-was, Toto and the rest of the farm animals, I’m sure her memories of the place would be a little less sweet.
We’re eager to say ‘goodbye’ to renting and say ‘hello’ to a house of our own in Massachusetts. As a result, we’ve spent a good chunk of time surfing the web to see what is on the market. In order of preference, here is a list of some helpful real estate websites that I’ve encountered thus far in our search:
Trulia.com (great design, search features and selection)
Realtor.com (similar features to Trulia.com)
ISoldMyHouse.com (“For Sale By Owner” listings)
Zillow.com (also, very similar to Trulia.com)
MLSHomeFinder.com (MA-specific site)
Boston.com (website of The Boston Globe)
HomesForSaleInMA.com (another MA-specific site)
Drop us a comment if you have any other sites to recommend or even if you just have some tips for first-time home buyers in Massachusetts!
Props to Motley Crew, of course, for the Home Sweet Home video.
It’s interesting to look back at how some of our greatest presidents thought about many of the same important issues that are at forefront of the current election - for example, JFK’s take on taxes. From one of my favorite blogs, Carpe Diem, here is JFK in his own words during August of 1962 – John F. Kennedy, Early Supply-Sider.
Also, HBO will be airing a 7-part miniseries, executive produced by Tom Hanks, from March 16 – April 20 that explores American history through the eyes of one of its greatest founding fathers, John Adams. Set up the DVR/TIVO and click the link if you want to read more about it.
I have a love-hate relationship with business trips. Working at a PR agency means always having to travel to and from conferences, media events, and new business pitches in different parts of the country. In fact, my colleagues are flying out to San Francisco next week to attend the Game Developers Conference (GDC). Even though I’m not attending, I almost wish I was (or do I?).
Why would I want to go to a busy conference next week when there are so many negatives to business travel? For example:
1) Time out of the office sucks because you have to work even harder before you leave and after you get back to finish other projects.
2) You are never really in your destination location long enough to enjoy the local attractions.
3) Jet lag – need I say more.
4) Yes, you get to expense food and spirits, but often times you end up staying out later than you probably should and, with the jet lag factor, this results in a less than wonderful feeling the next morning.
5) In PR, conferences and media events often mean scrambling to pull everything together at the last minute, running errands and tying up loose ends. No matter what your executive level is sometimes you have to walk 4 or 5 blocks to pick up lunch for the rest of the staff – go team!
With the negatives, comes the positives:
1) There is nothing like staring out the window of a plane looking down on the Grand Canyon. It gives you perspective.
2) Seeing new places, people, sights and sounds (and on the company’s dime) is so valuable. If business travel is not part of your job, you would normally have to pay for these experiences yourself.
3) Those nights where you stay out later than you should – they usually are a blast, especially when you enjoy the people you work with, which I do.
4) Despite all the hustle and bustle (and stress of events and conferences), the adrenaline keeps you going and when you do a good job there is a HUGE sense of accomplishment.
5) The flight home is always longer than the flight out (or so it seems), but the feeling you get when you drop your bags on your doorstep and hug your husband reminds you of all the reasons why you work so hard in the first place.
For those who are travelling to GDC next week – enjoy and maybe I’ll see you next time!
Attention NASCAR fans (myself casually included) – have you ever wondered what the difference is between the coefficients of static friction and kinetic friction when tires are skidding along a race track, pondered the molecular properties of the drivers’ fire-retardant suits, or stopped to consider the computational fluid dynamics of car racing? Right, probably not. But if you suddenly had an epiphany, perhaps by virtue of a Newtonian blow to the head with a beer bottle, and a yearning for car-related physics knowledge…well, then there is a new book you might want to read.
The Physics of NASCAR® will be published on February 14, 2008, just in time for the 50th running of the Daytona 500. The book is written by Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, who teaches nonintuitive physics at the University of Nebraska. Here’s a link to a recent article in the NY Times about it.
Sarcasm aside, the reality is that knowing and being able to use science is a pre-requisite to winning races in today’s NASCAR. I point out this book just because the particular niche audience is sort of amusing – NASCAR fans who enjoy reading about physics. Yes, it’s a stereotype, but I don’t think I’m going way out on a limb by assuming that a large majority of avid NASCAR fans generally do not ready physics books for pleasure. Imagine a guy hanging with his buddies – let’s call them Larry and Brian - this Sunday watching the Daytona 500 who starts whining about asymmetric downforce or some other such thing. Such a man would, at best, be ignored by his friends, and at worst, get the book thrown at him :)
P.S. Here’s hoping Tony Stewart does not earn his first Daytona 500 victory.
The Grammy’s were on last night (if you haven’t already heard or, perhaps, live under a rock). Tina Turner and Beyonce’s performance of Proud Mary was absolutely FABULOUS!
Tina probably could have picked a better outfit (the silver body suit wasn’t extremely flattering for her), but I loved her hair and the overall performance from both of them was outstanding.
If you ask me, Tina’s wheels are definitely still turning!
FRB, Boston – Between 1995 and 2005, home prices in New England increased by 85 percent, compared to an increase of only 56 percent nationwide. The growth in house prices was far greater than the growth of real incomes, meaning most households in the region have seen the affordability of housing decline in recent years. As a result, there’s been speculation that young professionals are leaving New England, choosing not to move here, or facing financial strain because of high housing costs.
A recent study by the New England Public Policy Center explores whether young professional households can afford to own a home in New England using two common measures of housing affordability: (1) housing burden, defined as the percentage of household income spent on housing costs, and (2) income adequacy, which indicates whether the incomes of young professional households generally are adequate to purchase a home.
In terms of income adequacy, they looked at the ability of a median-income household to purchase a median-priced home. It would have been more interesting if they accounted for the distribution of incomes and home prices around their median values. For example, they might have looked at the question of affordability for young professional households that earn less than the median income (like the 10th or 25th percentile). There are still some interesting findings:
The figure shows that while young professional households in New England pay a larger share of their incomes on average, the percentage of households that are severely burdened is not out of line with the rest of the U.S.
They also found that although young professionals in Boston tend to earn more than their peers in other cities – like Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Raleigh - housing is also more expensive even relative to their higher incomes.
It turns out over 1,600 people showed up last night for the Boston Derby Dames bout and there were lots of interesting characters in attendance (keeping Dan and I very entertained in between periods). The Wicked Pissahs beat the Cosmonaughties, but unfortunately lost one of their dames in the last period. The poor pissah had to be taken to the hospital on a stretcher, so we hope she is doing OK. Overall, it was a blast, but I only wish our friends could have been there with us (it would have been nice to have someone keep me company in the beer line, while Dan held our seats).
With all the activity this weekend – going out Friday (friend’s birthday celebration at Acapulco’s) and Saturday (Derby Dames) - a lazy Sunday was definitely in our cards for today.
I just adore the pajama wearing, movie watching, and Sunday paper reading days like today. Today’s Ziggy strip sums it up nicely.
The only downside? Work is only a few hours away.
American icon and country legend Willie Nelson evidently doesn’t believe 19 terrorists are responsible for the tragedies of 9/11. He likens the “symmetrical” way that the towers fell to the appearence of an intentional building demolition, and makes the leap that 9/11 was therefore an inside job.
He said the following on a nationally syndicated radio show hosted by Alex Jones on Monday:
“I certainly do,” Nelson said when asked if he questions the official story. “I saw those towers fall and I’ve seen an implosion in Las Vegas, there’s too much similarities between the two. And I saw the building fall that didn’t get hit by nothing,” Willie said. “So, how naive are we, you know, what do they think we’ll go for?”
“I saw one fall and it was just so symmetrical, I said wait a minute, I just saw that last week at the casino in Las Vegas and you see these implosions all the time and the next one fell and I said hell there’s another one – and they’re trying to tell me that an airplane did it and I can’t go along with that,” said Nelson.
Emmylou Harris once said, “If America could sing with one voice, it would be Willie’s.” As an American and a huge fan of Willie, these comments are surprising and disappointing.
I work at a public relations (PR) agency in Boston and for the past few years the majority of my clients have been gaming companies. One of my first clients was Wizards of the Coast, a division of Hasbro, which produces more traditional pen-and-paper games like Dungeons & Dragons and trading card games like Magic: The Gathering. More recently, however, my primary clients are video game development companies that specialize in massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs).
The video game industry is huge – in the US and around the world. According to NPD, one of the leading analysts in this space, the US game industry posted sales of almost $18 billion in 2007 (and this number doesn’t even include PC game revenues)!
Working in the industry I’ve also learned about how popular video games are among the US troops, which makes a lot of sense. When you’re stationed in a foreign country, away from your family and friends for long periods of time, with significant down time, video games are probably a welcome distraction.
I work with the media on a daily basis. A key indicator of the popularity of games among the military, for me, has been the fact that Stars and Stripes, a daily newspaper published just for the military, actually has a regular section called Stars and Stripes GAMER to deliver video game news/features to the troops – pretty sweet.
With all of that said, I can finally can get to my point.
At work today while scouring over dozens of new video game news stories on the net, I stumbled across a Kotaku.com post about a wonderful program from CheapAssGamer.com (CAG). In a nutshell, CAG has kicked off a campaign to encourage people to donate used video games to the troops in Iraq! Once they arrive, soldiers are taking photos of themselves posing with the games. There are already a handful of photos posted on Flickr.com.
I also just stumbled across a post on the Stars and Stripes GAMER website about how Nintendo donated 10 Wiis to the troops recently (although I think with all of the moolah Nintendo is probably making from the sale of the Wii, they could have spared a few more than 10).
Regardless, giving some entertainment and enjoyment to the soldiers who keep us safe with programs like this from CheapAssGamer.com makes me proud to work in the video game industry and, as they say, proud to be an American!
To the troops – thank you
Dan and I just got home from another great meal at Dunn Gaherin’s, an Irish Pub on Elliot Street, a few minutes from our place. The service is great and the food….even better. They always have an awesome “specials” menu (not to mention our good friend Tim lives right across the street)!
Now that we’re home and my literal hunger is satisfied, I need to also satisfy my proverbial hunger for blog content. I look to Google.
So, I always wondered where the name “Dunn Gaherin’s” came from (and even how to pronounce it). Thanks to Google and the very small Dunn Gaherin’s website I now know that the restaurant/pub opened in June 1991 by Robert DUNN and Seana GAHERIN.
You learn something new everyday!
This weekend the Wicked Pissahs take on the Cosmonaughties in a bout of barbaric porportions.
I recently discovered the Boston Derby Dames, a roller derby league in the Boston area. I am truly intrigued by the whole production. In a way it almost reminds me of the WWE and wrestling – big personalities and a big competition (Miss Mary Smack, Harlot Fevah, and Vicious Vivacious Vera are just a few of the dames competing this weekend).
I’ve never been to a roller derby bout, but am so looking forward to this Saturday – not to mention there will be live music and alcohol served. I’ve convinced my husband Dan and a few of my friends to come along, so I’m hoping for a great time!
Tickets are around $15 bucks if you are up for it.
Massachusetts residents across the state are casting their ballots today. Dan and I were (I assume) one of the first to stop by our voting station in Nonantum (the “Little Italy” of Newton, MA) at 7:15 am this morning. We’re morning people – Dan even more so than myself.
Our voting station, the gym at Pellegrini Park in Nonantum, always seems empty during elections, but I hope traffic is spread throughout the day. I work in Boston, so I’m guessing there will be a lot more traffic at voting stations in the city compared to out in the burbs.
I’m no political junkie, but you can’t help feel the excitement around elections no matter your level of interest in the issues. I’m looking forward to hearing the results!