A whole new wardrobe…

I think I’ve spent more money on clothes in the past 3 days than I ever have in my life. With the upcoming events planned for the next six months or so, I figured it was high-time to get myself a new suit.. considering the episode at Matt & Jamie’s wedding last summer (not to mention the New Year’s Fiasco).

So, while we tried to head out to the Wrentham Outlets on Sunday, the Easter Bunny got in the way and prevented our success. Monday, I ended up going to Men’s Warehouse where I was persuaded (read: sucker) into buying not only a Navy suit, but also a charcoal gray suit (for those times when my blue suit is being drycleaned and I NEED one urgently — which happens SO frequently). I was expecting to pay about $400 for the whole shabang. So, buying two for about $450, it turned out to be a bargain, I guess.

Side Note: Reminds me of my father’s argument growing up:
Mother: Look what I got, I got two of XXXX because they were on sale, two for $20!
Father: But we only need one. Why would we need a second one?
Mother: Well, if I was planning on spending $20 for one, and I can get two for that price, why not?!
Father: But, just because you were planning on spending $20, doesn’t mean you needed to..

Which.. brings me back to my suit story…

So, I bought the Gray and the Navy. I also went and repaired my watch (not a camcorder), that was given to me by my Grandfather for my Bar Mitzvah. Haven’t seen or worn it since I was 13, so I thought it was time to get that back in working order.

Then there was the escapade last night at Filenes, to buy some new slacks and some new jeans.. I ended up getting about 3 pairs of dockers and 2 pairs of jeans for the modest price of $150. Everything was on sale (as it usually is at Filene’s) so, again, I followed my mother’s logic and took advantage of the prices.

So to summarize:
1. I’ve gotten a lot of new clothes
2. I’ve got a watch I haven’t worn in 13 years
3. I’m a sucker

And I feel good about this. Go figure.

BLINK!

When Malcom Gladwell published his first book The Tipping Point, I thought it was truly one of the most fascinating concepts. He’s a great author, in that he demostrates highly scientific ideas by example and uses language anyone can understand. He occasionally gets published in the New Yorker as well, and I try to read his articles whenever possible.

He recently published another book entitled Blink. This is the latest book I’ve been reading, after I finished Faithful. And Mr. Gladwell has done it again. Truly amazing concepts, explained with examples that make sense to everyone. This time, his book is about the split-second decisions we make in our life, and how often our mind makes these decisions based on non-conscious information — gut feelings and such.

I don’t want to give away all of his ideas, as it’d take away from the read, but one interesting test he recommends trying out is called the Implicit Association Test (IAT). There are a few of them that you can take online, and I recommend them. It’s pretty cool.

Basically, it tries to demonstrate that most human beings have unconscious propensities towards or against certain groups or beliefs (age, gender, religion, etc.). I didn’t fare nearly as bad as I thought I would, but it’s interesting to see the results. Check it out.

Trust your body, he says…

A day late with the Horoscopes, I know.. but I had so many other interesting things to say yesterday, that I figured the ‘scopes could wait a day.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): From an astrological perspective, it won’t
be a good week to make big decisions based on what you read in
newspaper horoscope columns. Similarly, the cosmic rhythms won’t be
aligned in your favor if you sit down in the middle of an intersection
and beg an angel for a sign about which way you should go. On the
other hand, you shouldn’t rely on the advice of practical experts or
logical analysts to direct you, either. Their influence would be equally
wrong. In my opinion, there’s only one thing you can trust right now:
your body. You should formulate specific questions and invite your
body to reveal the answers through its feelings and sensations.

According to Master Rob, I should be wary of making any big decisions over the next week. I need to “trust my body.” Hmmm… The only major decision I see in the next 6 days would be my “major” purchase.. which is my new suit that I need to buy. I can’t think of any other way of buying a suit, than trusting your body, really. I mean, would you buy a suit that was way too big just because it was the right color? I mean, I wouldn’t be caught dead in <%popup(cache/20050324-suit.jpg|400|533|This Suit)%> no matter how good it looks on me. (Biggie Small’s suit).

Interested in your Horoscope? Read choose to read the full article..

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840) was a
virtuoso violinist as well as a master showman. Not content to dazzle
audiences with his technical wizardry, he sometimes resorted to tricks
to evoke even greater levels of astonished appreciation. Before one
concert, he partially sawed through three of his violin’s strings. When
they broke in the midst of his first piece, he finished using just the
remaining string. I’m telling you this story, Aries, because you may
soon enter a Paganini-like state. You’ll be at the top of your game, yet
also tempted to add extra glitz to your shtick. It’s not really necessary;
your work will speak just fine for itself. But if you can’t restrain
yourself from going over the top, make sure you don’t sacrifice any of
your substance as you pump up your style.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): From an astrological perspective, it won’t
be a good week to make big decisions based on what you read in
newspaper horoscope columns. Similarly, the cosmic rhythms won’t be
aligned in your favor if you sit down in the middle of an intersection
and beg an angel for a sign about which way you should go. On the
other hand, you shouldn’t rely on the advice of practical experts or
logical analysts to direct you, either. Their influence would be equally
wrong. In my opinion, there’s only one thing you can trust right now:
your body. You should formulate specific questions and invite your
body to reveal the answers through its feelings and sensations.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): My Gemini friend Thomas will be throwing a
big party for himself soon. He’ll be celebrating his graduation from a
local college where he has been taking classes since 1993. His many
years of matriculation can be explained in part by the sheer enjoyment
he gets from being a student. The other reason for the delay is that he
has had trouble passing a certain course that’s necessary for his
degree. But he’s doing well in the course this time around; his teacher
has told him he’ll probably pass. I believe his imminent completion is
something like what’s unfolding in your life. Whether or not you’re
formally enrolled in school, you’re about to complete lessons you’ve
studied for a long time.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): The government of Uzbekistan has jailed
over 6,000 people for their political or religious beliefs. With the help
of a large secret police force, its dictatorial ruler ruthlessly suppresses
all opposition movements and independent media. Meanwhile, the
United States has steadily expanded its military assistance to the
Central Asian nation, increasing its contributions 1,800 percent since
2001. According to my reading of the astrological omens, this is a
perfect example of behavior you should avoid in the coming weeks. Do
not, under any circumstances, support anyone or anything that
squelches freedom or inhibits vitality, even if they purport to be doing
it in a good cause. Give yourself generously, on the other hand, to
influences that help people thrive in all their fertile diversity.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Isaac Asimov once said something that should
be especially meaningful for you: “The most exciting phrase to hear in
science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka! I have
found it!’ but rather ‘That’s funny . . .'” According to my analysis of
the astrological omens, your imminent destiny should lead you to some
fascinating adventures that begin with “That’s funny.” Be hungry for
what piques your imagination and tickles your love of mystery. Attune
yourself to anything that seems out-of-place or oddly juxtaposed.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): When’s the last time you really gave
yourself permission to watch a sunrise or sunset for more than a few
seconds? I bet this activity has fallen so far off your list of things to do
that if left to your own devices you may not treat yourself to it for
months. That’s just one reason I feel called to do an intervention. The
other reason has to do with your current astrological omens. They say
that you desperately need to be lifted up out of the everyday trance
and exposed to sublime beauty; that you need to commune with our
home star, the source of all the energy that fuels your life.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “If there’s a book you really want to read
but it hasn’t been written yet,” said author Toni Morrison, “then you
must write it.” In the event that you’re a writer, Libra, I direct her
counsel to you. It’s timely advice. But if you’re not a writer, take heed
instead of the following: If there’s a world you want to live in or a gift
you want to receive or a deed you want to benefit from or an
adventure you want thrust upon you, make it yourself.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “The greatest pleasure in life is doing what
people say you cannot do,” said English journalist Walter Bagehot. I
don’t agree with that in general, but it could temporarily be true for
you, Scorpio. There may be no other activity that will generate as
much satisfaction as refuting the low expectations others have had of
you. Even classic thrills like sex, drugs, and rock and roll may not
generate feelings equal to the bliss you’ll enjoy when you accomplish
what some supposedly knowledgeable person said was impossible.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Some readers complain when I draw
inspiration from a public figure they consider a bad person. Once I cited
philosopher Bertrand Russell, and Patti G. went ballistic: “Russell was a
terrible father! How dare you give him any credence?” Another time I
invoked a bit of wisdom from ex-U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt. “Why
would you give that militaristic bully any space in your column?” wrote
Arthur H. Here’s how I usually respond to these grumbles: If I refused
to learn from people unless I agreed with everything they had ever said
and done, I would never learn from anyone. What about you,
Sagittarius? Have you set up your life so that everyone is either on or
off your good list? The astrological omens suggest it’s an excellent
time to dole out more slack, and to cultivate a capacity to derive help
and insight from people who aren’t perfect.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In all of North America, from Oaxaca,
Mexico to Canada’s Prince Edward island, there is only one state,
province, or territory that does not yet have a McDonald’s fast-food
restaurant. It is Nunavut, in northern Canada, which the Inuit people
inhabit at a density of about one person per 3,300 square miles. You
should be like Nunavut in the coming week, Capricorn: unspoiled by
mediocre food, vulgar entertainment, crass commercialism, and cheap
plastic *anything.* Be like a vast, pristine empire that’s immune to
soul-deadening crap.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): As a performer in Canada’s Daredevil
Opera Company, Tom Comet set a world record for juggling chainsaws.
He threw and caught three of them 44 times while they were turned
on and full of gasoline. Though there’s no need for you to take that big
a risk, Aquarius, you’re likely to have a similar ability in your own
chosen field. Whether you’re managing to be all things to all people or
trying to be in several places at once, I bet you’ll demonstrate an
extraordinary skill at juggling.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): A group of 12 workers in Derby, England
bought a lottery ticket last December. They stuffed it in a plastic
beaker at their workshop and forgot about it. Two months later, one of
them read in the newspaper that the jackpot prize was still unclaimed.
He tracked down the old ticket they’d bought and realized it had the
winning numbers. Soon he and his cohorts were collecting the British
equivalent of $9.6 million. I regard this as a metaphor for a situation in
your life, Pisces. You have not yet claimed a goodie that has been
available to you for some time. Remedy that oversight, please.

All horoscopes courtesy of Rob Brezney’sFreeWillAstrology.com.

The fast-paced world of Internet Marketing

As you probably know, I work in Internet Advertising. I’m the first to admit that you have to catch on to the “next big thing” in online advertising before the guy next door does, in order to make your money. Here’s a perfect example.

While I’m not condoning this at all, it’s what we’ve come to expect from the Internet and it’s fast-paced marketing ways.

Searching for “Terri Schiavo Case” on Google or Yahoo returns AdWords for companies offering living wills. I guess LegalZoom.com (one of the primary results) has been using this keyword (and other related words) for a while, other advertisers have tried to jump on the band wagon. [ Read the Mediapost article ]

I’m not sure how familiar you may be with the “auction-style” use of google adwords, but here’s the gist: Similar to e-bay ddvertisers bid as to how much they’re willing to pay per click for a particular search term. So for example, if LegalZoom buys 100 clicks for 10 cents each, and XYZ Law firm buys 50 clicks for 11 cents each, XYZ will serve their ads until they’ve reached the 50 clicks — then it moves to LegalZoom who was the next highest bidder. LegalZoom can go in at any time and change their bidding price and click amount they’re purchasing, they just have to keep an eye on these things.

So, while this case may be helping the prominence of companies offering living wills, it’s also costing them a lot more to do so.. new players are popping up driving up the CPC (cost-per-click) price for legal zoom.

The reason I bring this up, I guess, is just because I think it’s fascinating that people raced to their computers on Sunday night (when the Senate was instructed to validate the court’s decision on the case), to input their bids on keywords for the case.

Now, I’m not justfying making a quick buck at this woman’s expense. Not at all. It’s been shown in the past few days, that the number of people interested in purchasing living wills has increased significantly since this case became such a hotly-contested topic. These companies are just trying to put their names out in front when people are looking for these types of services. Someone who’s interested in the Terri Schiavo case could very well be interested in a living will as well.

How great a Red Sox victory is..

As I mentioned last night, I’m really excited for baseball season. Miss Possible can attest to this. As I’m playing MVP 2005 every waking moment that I’m not in the office.

I also happen to be reading the Steven King / Stewart O’Nan book “Faithful.” This book is fantastic, if you’re a Sox Fan.. especially because it dives into every aspect of every game played over the course of last season, day-by-day. The best is when you remember certain things that happen either that day, like the Grateful Dead show I went to where everyone was talking about the Nomar Trade (July 31, 2004) or the “Day that Changed the Season” (July 24, 2004) or even the day Pokey hit two home runs, one in-the-park (May 8, 2004).

I think my favorite memory, though, has to be the playoffs. The day after game two, and I know everyone will agree.

From: ‘Ol Hoss
Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2004 8:35 AM
To: The Captain, LTJ
Subject: wait til next year



It’s over, boys. Pedro needed to be great. He needed to be a Hall of Famer. He was quite good, but not lights out. His fastball was popping and he pretty much pitched about the way we can expect from Pedro these days. The offense let him down. How can they not hit a tub of lard with a surgically reconstructed pitching arm? Did you see that shot of his elbow scar?!? And they couldn’t hit that guy? This doesn’t feel good at all, but it’s serving one purpose – it’s taking all the gut-wrenching drama out of it that we had to deal with last year. However, the Sox are quite capable of winning all 3 at Fenway…

I just read this day in the book, and it just gave me chills.. I can’t wait until games 4,5,6 and 7. Such an amazing season. I love those guys.

But everyone HAS to agree.. we ALL felt this way after game 2.. that nervous, “Maybe-they-won’t-win-but-there’s-still-a-chance-at-home” feeling. And it only got worse after the shalacking at Fenway during Game 3. EVERYONE had lost hope at that point. I didn’t even watch game 4. I watched Desperate Housewives©. I’m so ashamed.

It’s almost time.. I can’t believe it..

Today.. it was over 50 degrees! Can you believe it? I never thought it would begin getting warm.

Granted, I can’t expect it to be this warm nearly every day, but it’s a start. You know what they say about March, and all of it’s crazy animals. So, I guess I should’ve expected it to start mellowing out.

But you know what the warm weather means, and I already saw one today.. Scooter time. I just gotta get my battery juiced up, and I’ll be able to roll out the scooter for another great year of riding. SO excited.

Between that, and the start of the Baseball season, I don’t know which has me more hopped up!

A New Domain

So, I’ve purchased a new domain for my site.. I never really liked brandonjs.com — I wanted something quirky and catchy. But, because I didn’t really have an idea for a web site name, I definitely didn’t have any ideas for a domain name.

So, now that this is running _fairly_ smoothly, I figure I might as well get a better domain.. a cooler, hipper domain. So.. in the new few days, I’ll have Diatribe.us. Someone is squatting on diatribe.com for some reason and Diatribe.net is a Web site for a Los Angeles playwright group that hasn’t been updated since 2002. Granted, that would’ve been a lot cooler than diatribe.us — but then again, I’m just as cool as del.icio.us, now.

Random Items

So, while poking around on my del.icio.us account, I came across an interesting technology blog. The person mentioned using a Gmail Account (ask me for an invite if you want one), as 1 gig file server.

Apparentely, there’s a shell extension that you can download that will allow you to physically mount your gmail account and drag/drop files into your e-mail account to backup data. It seems like a pretty cool concept, especially for someone like me, who recently lost my .mac account in favor of my new home here at brandonjs.com.

Getting back to my del.icio.us for a second..

I found another cool tool that will allow you to sync your del.icio.us bookmarks with either firefox or safari. Firefox is easy.. you can use the live bookmarks feed when you’re on your site. And then access them through your bookmarks folder. Miss possible (who’s a huge del.icio.us fan), tells me that there’s also a firefox plugin you can download.

MacOSX Hints offers up a great tidbit to allow you to auto-sync your del.icio.us bookmarks and Safari, which even more handy for us mac users.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I did a little cleanup with the blog today as well.. the rail is looking a little better. Now if only I could clean up the bottom chunk. Ugh.