Social Networking News

So I have this blog (obviously).  I also have another blog where I review hot wings, and another that I don't attend to that much which tracks my barbecue experiences.  I also have my main domain name, which is simply a holding place for most of my links.   Then of course I have the obligatory Facebook profile, and I even still have a MySpace profile (that no one has done anything with in about eight months thanks to Facebook).  I've got my profile up on, and for more professional-related endeavors, I have my LinkedIn profile, and one on Plaxo, plus a few others that sites have cobbled together for me, with mixed results, which is interesting – social networking that I don't even have to interact with – is that called anti-social networking or social anti-networking? I recently joined on the Twitter bandwagon with an account there, which I find myself using far more than I thought I would.  Part of the reason is because I have it linked in to my Facebook profile, which uses my Tweets to update my status.   I also have my Yelp! account and Digg account linked into my Facebook profile.  Which means my Yelps, Diggs and Tweets are showing up here on this blog and on my Facebook profile. 

If you followed all that, then you should read this article about "Time Saving Social Networking Strategies" which makes me look like a rank amateur.

With all this online networking, it is bound to lead to some off-line meet-ups, and sure enough: Forrester is hosting a "Tweetup" in Boston in July, and there's even a new company dedicated to it called Tweetnetworking.   Do people Twitter about being at a Tweetup?  Do they Twitter while there? 

Remember when the Matrix movies seemed like a real head trip?  The whole alternate reality thing seems kinda tame now that we're in the world of Web 2.0!

What I Believed in “Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”

I wasn't a huge fan of the original Night at the Museum – I thought it was a cute, fun movie, that's about it.  We went to see the sequel in IMAX, and while the action and special effects were great, there were times where the movie's sheer ignorance of reality interfered with the enjoyment of the movie. 

Here is what I CAN wrap my head around:

  • A magical ancient Egyptian tablet bringing museum pieces to life
  • An ancient Egyptian doorway to the underworld that releases evil spirits

Yes, those two far-out things I can understand. What I CAN'T understand is:

  • What the heck is going to happen come the morning when the Smithsonian workers show up and find the entire front of the building smashed?
  • At the end of the movie, Larry looks at his watch while standing in Washington D.C. and says "only an hour to sunrise" but then has Amelia Earhart fly them to New York City… in a prop plane… and the sun still hasn't risen yet when they land 
  • After Amelia drops off Larry and the other exhibits, she takes off to fly back to D.C., which would all have to happen before sunrise since otherwise, she'd be crashing (not to mention the fact that the sun is visible earlier in NYC than in Washington and in the air in a plane than on the ground)
  • That the Washington Mall would be so empty of people and government security that a 40-foot tall walking Abraham Lincoln wouldn't attract a little attention
  • That a major street in NYC would be empty enough to land a plane at any time of night
  • That the tablet apparently has a MASSIVE working radius.  They take it from the art museum to the main Smithonian building to the Air & Space museum and to the Lincoln Memorial, while one of the characters is at the White House.   This is a distance of a little over a mile, just from the Smithsonian to the Lincoln memorial.   If this is how it worked, shouldn't all the museums within about a 1.5 mile radius in Manhattan start coming to life in the first film?

Here's the problem – obviously  you need to suspend some belief when it comes to a movie like this, and I'm more than willing to go along with the idea that an Egyptian tablet has some power to bring museum piece to life (as odd of a power as that is…).  I'm not that cynical.  However, when they start getting sloppy with things like "an hour to sunrise" and then they fly to NYC in a prop plane and it is still dark out… then I start questioning everything, and I end up asking questions that are way too logical, like "what's the working radius of the tablet?" 

What ends up happening is that these stupid little mistakes in the story become downright distracting and ends up taking away a lot of the magic from an otherwise enjoyable fun little movie with a lot of action.

Are you “App-Noxious”?

I admit it…  having a "smart phone" I have been known to whip it out in the middle of a conversation to look up some obscure fact, whether it is what movie some random actor was in or which album a deep cut was on. 

Thanks to the iPhone (which I do NOT own) and their Apps, there is now a name for people like me… "app-noxious."  Welcome to the new world where everyone is a know-it-all.. and we can double check our facts!

The Proposal That Will Shake The (comic) World

Back in the day, I was a big Archie comics fan.  I still have a lot of my old issues sitting in plastic sleeves in cardboard comic boxes, including some old issues that I acquired during my comic-collecting heyday that date back to the 50's and 60's. 

Since it dates back to my childhood, there are certain elements of the Archie mythology/lexicon that never change: Archie drives a crappy car, Jughead eats a lot while wearing a strange hat, Reggie is a jerk, and Archie is always torn between Betty and Veronica.

Today, while getting ready for work, I heard a segment on the news that shocked me: Archie comics has announced that Archie is getting married.  I thought it was a funny little segment, but I've already heard more about it than any other news item today.  People are paying attention – not just in comic discussion groups like this one, but check out this on line poll.  Wow.  A lot of discussion going on just because of a comic book character.  I'm also surprised that Betty is winning by such an overwhelming majority.  Perhaps we should take this as an example of our "anti-greed" and "back to simplicity" national temperament?  Or maybe people just think that Veronica is hot, but a bitch… 

My thought is that it won't be Betty OR Veronica.  Since the story is going to be set in the future, it is probably a means by which to introduce a new character and tell her entire back story.  Maybe they will do a "Archie goes to college" type of series.  Or maybe we'll see Archie doing keg stands and hooking up with a strange girl in the alleyway behind a club? 

Star Trek Movie and Explosions

Saw the new Star Trek movie last night – I won't do a full review, since it has been reviewed by just about ever other magazine, newspaper, and blogger out there.  Plus, I'm largely uneducated in the Star Trek oeuvre – I have never seen a full episode of the original series and just about nothing of any of the newer series.  I also haven't seen much of the movies either.  It just hasn't been one of those things that I've felt compelled to see. 

However, I'm very aware of the impact it has had on our popular culture – there are many quotes that have become part of our everyday parlance: "Set your phasers on stun," "I'm giving it all she got sir," "To boldly go where no one has gone before," "beam me up Scotty,"etc.  I'm glad to say that nearly all of them – along with the general sense of humor and self-aware kitsch – is present in the movie.  Again, not being a "Trekkie" I found the movie entertaining and thought they did a nice job explaining the origins of the crew, based on what I know.

Of course, there was a climatic space battle scene, complete with front shields fully powered and all phasers firing away at the enemy ship, resulting in massive, loud… operatic music. 

This is a trend in recent sci-fi action movies that I find disturbing – the final, climatic battle scenes aren't filled with the most mind-blowing explosive sound effects, but are instead shown along side quiet, nearly soundless clips or buried under soaring vocal choral music.  I don't get it – 100 years of sound technology development, and two hours of great sound effects, but when it counts, we get a crappy version of a Wagner throw-away or sound effects that make you wonder if the sound track is skipping. 

I say give me more – push the limit of the sound system!  I want borderline ear-bleeding effects that keep me from even thinking about what's going on.

Book Review – “Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do”

Is there anything that is more a part of our everyday lives than driving?   Even if you're a die-hard pedestrian or cyclist living in the city without even owning a car, you still have to deal with them every day.  So isn't about time that someone write a book about driving?  Luckily someone has: Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us).

Even better, it is a good book, though one that just may scare the daylights out of you.   I just finished it and I'm already finding myself analyzing my own driving and becoming more aware of the strange things we do when we drive.   Did you know that traffic circles (aka roundabouts, or a rotary) is safer than a traditional intersection?  But the reason it is safer is because it feels MORE dangerous, so we pay more attention.   It makes sense – you probably wouldn't think twice about driving through a four-way intersection while chatting on a cell phone, but going into a traffic circle?  "Sorry, I gotta go."  Or at least that what you SHOULD be doing.

Basically what it comes down to is this: driving is hard.  Like, ridiculously, amazingly hard.  None of us should be doing it.  There isn't a computer smart enough to handle all the things that need to be done while driving, and here we are, doing it while talking on a phone, sipping coffee, and flipping through radio stations.   We should all be dead, I tell you – DEAD!

Not only did the book appeal to my inner geek of wanting to know how things work, but it also provided some interesting insight into various cultures.  I had no idea that Belgium has such a disregard for authority (fight the power you crazy Belgians!) or that more people get hurt crossing streets LEGALLY in New York City than people who get hurt crossing illegally. 

The book does throw a lot of statistics and numbers at you – you'll never remember them all, unless you practice reading the Yellow Pages for fun, but it doesn't matter.  Vanderbilt's writing allows you to understand what he's trying to get at without having to parse out what the percentages and ratios mean – he's done the work for you and it makes for a fascinating read.

Just don't do it while driving!!!

Travels With Barley – Book Review from Good Reads

Travels With Barley: The Quest for the Perfect Beer Joint Travels With Barley: The Quest for the Perfect Beer Joint by Ken Wells

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Interesting mix of beer novice and beer geekdom. The author starts off as a Bud-drinking everyday kinda beer drinker, but they in his quest to find the ultimate beer joint, discovers the craft brewing industry and becomes a "Hophead" (like myself). This results in a book that is a little schizophrenic – it can be a bit basic for beer geeks like myself that have already taken a dozen tours of breweries and know about microbrews and beer festivals, but probably gets a little too wonkish about beer as it starts to focus more on microbrews. I think my favorite parts of the book were the side trips – reading about yeast smugglers and Dogfish Head brewery, etc.

View all my reviews.

Beef On Weck

I thought Buffalo's only major original culinary tradition was the Buffalo Wing, invented at the Anchor Bar, but this week I found another delicious delicacy: roast beef on kummelweck roll, commonly referred to as "beef on weck" (pronounced "wick").

You all know I love trying the local food, so when I found out about this, I had to try it.  It really is just your standard grade roast beef sandwich that will be made as good as the roast beef is, served with horseradish and au jus on the side.  But the roll is this incredibly and wonderfully salty combination of kosher salt and caraway seeds.  This isn't for those on a low-sodium diet or who don't like a lot of salt.  However, the seeds and salt add not only flavor, but great crunchy texture to the sandwich, kind of like how sticking potato chips or a piece of lettuce adds crisp to a sandwich, but much more savory.

So next time you find yourself in Buffalo (be smart and don't go in February like I did), get some buffalo wings and a beef on weck!