Appreciating the Status Check

The observant peeps among you out there will recall that the other day I mentioned I was happy for two reasons.  The first was my newfound power of ESP dreaming.  I’m thinking all I need is one or two more occurrences before I can really cash in with a TV show on CBS (CSI: Cool Jesus?) or a tell-all interview with Barbara Walters.  Anyway, I have been reluctant to fill you in on the other reason because the other shoe has yet to drop.  But, hey, this is CJ we’re talking about and I always feel that way.  I believe someone once said of me that I won’t be completely happy until I’m dead.

I met up with Swedish Girl on Friday night.  Without making my journal jealous and divulging details, I will say that it was a great date.  I don’t think it could have gone any better.  Seriously.  And for me to say that actually means something.  Early on in the date, however, I mentioned Sweden a couple of times as we were having a great back-and-forth getting to know you conversation.  Swedish Girl started laughing, stopped me, and said, "I’m not Swedish, you know."  Well, I felt like a fool.  J.Lee had told me she was Swedish.  Talk about racial profiling!  Turns out the blonde hair, high cheekbones, and European accent fooled J.Lee because Swedish Girl is actually from Lithuania.  Does Lithuanian Girl have the same cache?  Let’s find out…

I appreciate the mid-date check-in.  I love it.  I never initiate it, but once it’s on the table, I do employ it.  Lithuanian Girl definitely showed her cards and made full use of the mid-date check-in, as well as a couple of late-date check-ins.  By this, I mean up-front questions like, "So, I’m having a great time.  How about you?"  Or even better, "I really enjoy talking to you"  And "I’m going to have to thank Papi for introducing us."  I love that stuff.  I don’t have the guts to be the first one to introduce the status check, so I thoroughly appreciated when Lithuanian Girl did.  Afterall, she wouldn’t have initiated those comments if she didn’t feel that way. 

So, the date went well and I floated home on Cloud 9.  No Red Line was necessary.  But here’s the reason I haven’t written about this until today – she hasn’t returned my call.  I polled a large sample of the population (one male – Petro; two females – J.Lee and Nurse Mandy) and took their advice by calling Lithuanian Girl the next day.  I left a voicemail and haven’t heard back since.  Bummer.  It is a long holiday weekend, so there is still hope.  Afterall, she wouldn’t let all those stellar date staus checks be for naught…would she?

Cool Jesus and the Power of ESP Dreaming

So, the long-time roommate of Cool Jesus, J.Lee, is moving out soon.  She’ll be marrying Papi down in Jamaica and then moving to the suburbs.  I am happy for them both.  This is apparently the Year of the Wedding.  We’ll just call this wedding #2 that I’m not invited to, but this one I’m actually okay with, since it’s an elopement and nobody is invited.  Anyway, bitterness is just not in my veins today.  I am happy for two reasons, each deserving of its own entry.  You’ve read about my dream in which I was dating Jennifer Lopez.  Well, if what I am about to tell you means anything then you will soon have to be calling me Mr. Jennifer Lopez.

On Thursday night, J.Lee finally told Nurse Mandy about her engagement.  Practically the first thing out of Nurse Mandy’s mouth was "Oh my God!!!  CJ had a dream about this!!!"  Now, since I am so used to my powers, I had forgotten all about this, but sure enough, she was right!  J.Lee and Papi kept their engagement a secret for a little while, but I think it went down sometime in early April.  That was precisely the time period in which I dreamt one night that J.Lee announced she was moving out of our house to move in with Papi.  When I mentioned this dream to J.Lee and Nurse Mandy the next day, we now realize just how coy J.Lee’s response was.  She gave a wry, cover-up smile and merely said, "Oh really…!?!" 

I don’t know if it was the customary Thursday night cocktails or not, but Nurse Mandy and I were flabbergasted all night about the power of my dreams.  Stay tuned to find out just how this gift manifests itself in the future.  I kind of hope it’s not 100% accurate since last night I dreamt that my sister, brother-in-law, and I were being stalked by seven-foot tall koala bears. 

Weekly Booty: May 27, 2005

It’s been a crazy week here.. My favorite is by far this video from Boston.com. So, let’s waste some time and get some Booty.

THE CROWN JEWEL:
This week, I’ve added a featured item, only because it’s too good to pass up. This is a video from the North Cambridge Family Opera’s performance of ‘Space Opera’ – A take on Star Wars. This particular video is the introduction of Chewbacca, and it’s priceless. (Source: Boston.com)

Watch the Video | More Space Opera Videos

OTHER PRECIOUS GEMS:

Jedi Song – Great tune, even better animation.

Japanese Toilets! – If only we had commercials like this here in the states..

Stunt City – We just have ads like this..

Ringtone Dancer – Strangely interesting. My favorite has to be #4.

Guinness Pops – Even though it may not feel like summer, it’s on its way. Never too cold for Guiness Pops!

Puma Store Catalog – Ingenious way to display online catalogs, for those that still like flipping pages. Too bad they still don’t have any shoes in my size!

Game time! – All inuendos aside, try to get your nuts past the squirrels. (High Score 710).

Squirt! – Is this REALLY a kids toy? C’mon.

Do you have something that???s worthy of the booty? Send it to booty at thediatribe.net, and we???ll be sure to source you and your site.

Bad vs. Good

I just picked up a copy of “Everything Bad is Good for you” by Steven Johnson. The premise is simple: From generation to generation, human beings have become more intelligent (based on IQ tests, and non-education-based exams) as a direct result of popular culture and media (ie. games, film, tv). While I don’t know if I wholeheartedly agree with the theory, it does make a lot of sense.

Johnson argues that the way that we use our brains to participate in this new media-style has helped to improve our problem-solving abilities. For instance, video games such as Tetris have made it a common practice to spin and rotate different shapes very easily. While this wasn’t difficult before – for those of you that have played Tetris for several hours know that after a while you’re seeing shapes with your eyes closed and moving things around in your head. Games don’t just improve your hand-eye coordination, they also improve your problem-solving skills.

The same is true with Television. If you take a show like “I Love Lucy” from the 1950’s and compare the show to The Sopranos or even 24 – the differences are astounding. In “Lucy,” you have few main characters (Lucy, Ricky, etc.) that face one or two small problems. All related to the main theme of the show. In The Sopranos, however, you have between 12 and 20 characters in a given episode – all of which have subplots and storylines that can extend beyond the borders of the episode. In Lucy, the problems tend to be resolved within the span of the 30 minute broadcast, and this is definitely not the case with The Sopranos.

So, while I do agree that this has had something to do with the way that our mind works, I don’t know if I can make a direct correlation to higher IQ scores. I think there are just so many factors that can result in this (evolution, for one), that I don’t think it can be based purely on media.. but it is an interesting concept and a great read. I highly recommend it.

UPDATE:
Oh, the irony. In Today’s Boston Globe, there’s an article about video gaming and how to manage video gaming time for kids. I think this is the complete opposite end of the spectrum in how kids should be raised. Read the article here: http://doiop.com/gaming.

Gaming’s initial appeal is the chance to escape your problems, whatever they are, because you get so engrossed, so wrapped up..”

This has to be the most ridiculous sentence in the entire article for two reasons. One, it begins with: “Gaming’s Initial Appeal” — making it sound like there’s a comparison between gaming and addictive substances such as Cocaine or Heroin. Secondly, gaming has nothing to do with escaping from your problems. I enjoy gaming because it’s fun — just like watching movies or television. I don’t watch Law & Order because I’m having family problems — for the exact same reason that I don’t play MVP Baseball because I screwed up something at work. I do it for entertainment. Enjoyment.

While I do think that people can become addicted to gaming — I don’t think it’s nearly as large of an issue as they make it out to be. This article should be a warning in the same way that parents should warn their kids about gambling and addiction, not in the “sky is falling, take away video games from kids” sense.

She says the newest games are multisensory so that you can be drawn in without realizing it. They’re also more sophisticated. In the past, a skilled player could achieve the highest level in four or five hours; now it can take up to 40 or 50 hours, feeding into the typical teenager’s need to master a challenge: ”I can’t quit until I get to the next level.”

This is the exact same case that Johnson makes in his book, except here it’s being used in a negative connotation. Earlier I stated that I didn’t fully agree that Johnson’s argument that popular culture has improved IQ scores. This is true, I feel that there are a number of factors at work in improving IQ scores — not just culture. But, I do completely agree that the gaming industry has changed so much that it’s important to create games that take 40 or 50 hours — making them challenging enough for the player. It’s that challenge that is enjoyable — if the gaming industry didn’t evolve into this way — and we were still playing Pong and Pac-Man — I don’t think Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo would be around today.

I sometimes wish that Boston.com allowed you to comment on articles, or at least provide Trackbacks, because I wish I could attach this post to this particular article.

The season

While I’d love to rant for a while about the weather, and these damn Northeastern’s that keep hitting the New England Area, this is more about the wonderful world of television.

For the past 5 months or so, thanks mostly in part to Miss Possible, I’ve become hooked on a number of [what people call] night time soap operas. These include Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Medium, etc.. I don’t think I can include CSI, Law & Order SVU or RR/RW Challenge in this category.. But, overall I’m watching more TV. This is probably the first time since I was in high school that I watched regular primetime television and gotten involved with these sorts of dramas. (Don’t ask me what I did before this, I can’t figure it out myself).

This past week, I’ve very much enjoyed the Season Finale’s of a number of these great shows, and I forgot how exciting it is to get hooked. I find myself pondering questions like “Is Zach really Mike’s son? What is going to happen to Captain Bush? What is going to happen between Meredith and Dr. Shepard?” — I sound like the typical soap opera junkie. It’s ridiculous.

I can’t say for sure, but I feel as though Television has gotten better. The quality of these types of shows (and I don’t even watch ER, The West Wing or 24) is so much better than what I remember. Maybe I’m questioning this because of the book I’m reading (more to come), but maybe it’s just that I missed out on good television.

Flamboyant and highly ironic imponderables at scionic speed while Captain Larby is in Atlanta

My roommate J was in Dowtown Crossing with her boyfriend Papi a couple of weekends ago and they ran into a girl (Swedish Girl) Papi once dated.  J thought this girl was just my type, so she immediately went to work.  She excitedly told me all about it that night and a few days later, after Papi talked to Swedish Girl, I was given her phone number and the green light.  That was about a week ago, maybe eight days.  I didn’t get around to calling until last night, when I left a voicemail.  She didn’t call back, so I called her again tonight.  I had to leave another voicemail.  I propose this question to you, did I dig my own grave by taking 7 or 8 days to call Swedish Girl?  Is there a statute of limitations in this situation in which the clock started running as soon as I was given the green light by Papi to call Swedish Girl?  It’s not like this is someone I met personally and then neglected to call for a week.  Should I even call her a third time or is her lack of answering and/or returning my call a sure-fire signal?

On the First Semi-Annual Quincy Center Pub Crawl, I doomed myself by sampling a veritable liquor store worth of booze, from beer, to Jack Daniel’s, to Captain Morgan, to red wine, to a Mai Tai.  At the First Annual Faneuil Hall Pub Crawl, I did the right thing.  I stuck to beer and Jack Daniel’s (with a Red Bull & Grey Goose thrown in), although Nurse Mandy claims she and I somehow switched drinks at one bar and I ended up with her Captain and Ginger Ale and she ended up with my Jack & Sprite.  Still, after nearly 12 hours of drinking and virtually no eating, I was still doing my Arthur impression.

Several co-workers who were part of the Crawl were kind enough to tell me this morning that I looked awful.  That’s what friends are for.

I don’t like being 28 years old.  It’s way too close to 30, especially since I’m still so far away from where you’d think a 30 year-old should be.  I won’t own any property for quite a while.  I won’t be married for quite a while, if at all.  There are some small consolations, however.  I still have time to publish a book before age 30.  I’ll possess the title to my car by age 30.  I’ll have zero credit card debt by age 30.  Also, another silver lining is that, although I still have the 1-800 number, I still haven’t had to call to order any haleuronic acid.  So far, my water pillows are holding up nicely…knock on wood.

King of the Crawl

Okay, well maybe I’m not *the* King of the Crawl, but I’d have to say yesterday was a great success.  Everyone appeared to be happy and great fun was had by all, despite the cool, rainy weather.  I met Neil and Cazz at The Purple Shamrock at 12:24 pm and commenced my day with a Black & Tan.  Perry and Michelle joined in after 1 pm (sidebar:  Perry loved his frosted Coors Light pint glass so much that the bartender let him take it for free; she was an early supporter of our crawl, as Cazz filled her in) and we were off to find Hardytrain, who was wandering helplessly throughout the city.  He had taken a wrong turn (walking, mind you) and walked from Park Street to Beacon Hill and then nearly to Charlestown.  We collected him at The Black Rose, where our group remained The Original Six until the next pub or so. 

Having learned from my mistakes made on the maiden First Semi-Annual Quincy Center Pub Crawl, I drank plenty of water and ate a couple of times, mainly maraschino cherries from scorpion bowls.  I think we visited 12 bars (I was totally fine with this crawl being about quality rather than quantity of pubs visited) and our group included about 20 people altogether. 

Having read the journal with all of yesterday’s entries, apparently my catch phrase for the day was "Where’s my drink?!?"  That quote seems to have come out of my mouth quite a few times.  I also seemed to go on a 20-minute rant at Ned Devine’s because the bouncer wouldn’t let me bring in a bottle of water I had just bought.  I chugged the water, threw out the bottle, and then wondered aloud if water was considered a contraband substance.

I probably owe certain people an apology for chasing them with gum.  I definitely owe some people an apology for having to see me dance.  I owe the bartender at Hennessy’s (was it Hennessy’s?) a debt of gratitude for not letting me pay for the guy’s meal when that guy claimed he was still eating that food that I put my gum on.  Rather than get beligerant with the guy, I offered to buy him a new meal, but luckily the bartender said he’d take care of it.

I was feeling mostly in control as we headed to the Union Oyster House, our twelfth and final stop.  The DJ played my request – Copa Cabana – and so I had to hit the dance floor.  Allison and Dan were leaving at 11:20 and this is where my memory needs some help.  I think I decided to walk out with them because I was tired and done drinking.  The next thing I know, I woke up on the Green Line and I don’t live off the Green Line.  I got off, but can’t remember which stop it was.  I was too tired to go back in the other direction to change to the Red Line, so I walked a bit and caught a cab. 

I was able to tell the cabbie "Exit 9 is good…" before I took a little nap.  He woke me up on the Exit 9 on ramp and I directed him to my ATM, since I was low on cash.  Unlike the night of the infamous "main access road" story, I didn’t use my library card in the ATM card slot.  I also didn’t pull the trigger in the back of this guy’s cab.  I successfully withdrew a load of cash, gave the guy a tip that was way too big, and somehow made it to bed.   

All in all, a fun day.  After doing two of these within 30 days, I think I’ll abstain from booze for the next eight months.

The Crawl

Mr. Incredible @ Ned's

More crawl photos

As sad as it is, last night was probably the last outing for myself and miss possible in Boston.. It was the pre-designated Bar Crawl organzied by Cool Jesus and his band of merry pranksters. Although they started the crawl around 1pm, we dropped by at about 4:30, and stayed out until about 10.

Our adventure started at the Office where Miss Possible and I had a flat and disgusting Sam Summer. We then progressed across the street to The Place (where people meet). Mandy and some others joined (and left) at this point and all was in control. Clarke’s was next where we watched Afleet Alex take the Preakness and prevent Giacomo from winning the Triple Crown. I’ve never seen so many people excited about horse racing, for some strange reason. We grabbed a bite to eat and prepped for the next destination, The Hong Kong.

It was at this point where things started to go downhill, and it was only a result of the Scorpion bowls that were had. We racked up quite the sume of Hong Kong points (which aren’t worth diddly on a Saturday), and collectively pounded 6 or 7 bowls.

Aside: I think I failed to mention that the Aircraft Carrier, USS JFK, was docked in port for the weekend. The city of Boston became a haven of white sailor suits all weekend and every bar that we visited was flooded with Sailors. The women loved this aspect.

The rain continued to come down as we made our way over to Ned Devine’s for the next stop. Sometime along the way Cool Jesus got a piece of gum, which turned out to be dangerous. Mr. Incredible made an appearance and hung out for a while as he had some Jack & Sprite’s and enjoyed the atmosphere.

Miss Possible picked up a (not so good) connoli as we passed through Quincy Marketplace, and made our way over to the Hennessy’s. Unfortunately Mr. Incredible stole Brian’s ABC gum and was chasing people around the bar. He then deposited the gum on someone’s partially eaten dinner. The owner of the partially eaten dinner then insisted the Mr. Incredible pay for the dinner, however his credit card was maxed out. Cool Jesus then offered to settle the dispute with the food owner/band member/scary-looking-guy.

Miss Possible and I wrapped up our adventures at the Bell In Hand, when we made it in the back door. It was just a minute or two after we got in, that they started charging a cover. Unfortunately the entire group didn’t make it into this location. The few of us that did make it in, had a drink and it was at this point that Miss Possible saw her cousin Erica. Erica and her husband Ken live 15 minutes from our new home of Hoboken NJ, so it was extremely strange to see them here in Boston. They happened to be in the city for a friend’s surprise party — very strange twist of fate (this being our last hurrah in Boston and moving to NJ, they live in NJ and came to Boston for a party).

All-in-all it was a great adventure, and although we all didn’t wear red, it turned out to be a great time. Thanks for the invite, Cool Jesus! You will be missed (and I hope you’re feeling ok today)

Captain Larby: “I’m in Atlanta”

Weekly Booty: May 20, 2005

I was starting to get a little nervous this week, because I only managed to collect a few items for the booty over the week.. it wasn’t until today, courtesy of webzen, that I was able to grab some final goodies..

On to the booty:

Logo Madness – Pick the brand that matches the alphabet letter. (My best was the 2nd Version).

Delivr – Flickr + E-mail = Delivr. Send Flickr Postcards to friends.

Tin Foil Hats – They’re trying to read your mind. Better wear one.

Mind Reading – With or without a tinfoil hat, Darth can still read your mind.

Creep – Radio Head’s Classic tune done in a low morale kind of way.

Sock Monkeys – What is life really about, they wonder…

FES – The Foreign Exchange Student and his mysterious Stuitcase

An oldy but a goodie – Weebl & Bob jam out.

Do you have something that’s worthy of the booty? Send it to booty at thediatribe.net, and we’ll be sure to source you and your site.

Icon Happy

Well done, LTJ.  The icons are a stroke of Genius. 

I’m sorry to hear that the scooter won’t make it’s way down to Jersey, but if it’s going to help hook up your pad then it’s all good.  I already have a list of activities that I’m expecting you to participate in:  Most importantly get ready for some serious Wiffle Ball. 

An imponderable:  Would Cool Jesus ever relocate?  

Last night I found myself in the same position that Cool Jesus described below; that is to say typing various diatribes and then deleting them out of concern that no one would be interested.  I guess we need to get used to throwing the arbitrary comment "out there" and hoping someone will bite.   So, here we go:

Allow me to profess my love for Abc’s Lost.  This is one of the best acted, well written network television dramas in recent history.  Next Wednesday marks the season finale and I know I’ll be frustrated as all hell by the inevitable cliffhanger, but man, will it be worth it.   I always thought that Charlie from "Party of Five" had more in him.  And, not for anything, but Kate is hot.  (The future Mrs. Larby is presently casting me a scournful gaze and stating that  "she has mosquito bites", if that means anything to you).   The point is, I dig this show.  What will the finale and next season bring?  Only The Island knows.  More importantly,  what’s in the  hatch?  And, what kind of furry beast is constantly chasing the castaways?