Friday, January 29, 2010

What I would do if I ran a private university

If the world were to be turned upside down, and I was somehow made president of a prestigious private university (think Dartmouth), my first order of business [aside from several blatantly sexist practices first suggested by Bill Simmons (Ctrl+F, "university"), including the admissions requirement whereby "female applicants just send pictures"] would be to issue every sophomore and incoming freshman an iPad, Apple's latest uber-gadget.

I'm nowhere near convinced that e-readers and physical keyboard-less tablet PCs are going to take over the world anytime soon.  Perhaps it's just that I love holding physical books in my hand, and don't feel the need to take my entire literary library everywhere i go (unlike my feelings about music libraries), but I have no desire to purchase a Kindle.  The iPad can clearly do much more than a Kindle--and I wouldn't mind owning one--but I'm not going to rush out and drop a minimum of $499 on one.

That said, I do think iPads have the ability to take over the education world.  With the help of several thousand $499 devices, universities like Dartmouth, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, etc.--armed with their massive endowments--could go paperless almost overnight.  Students would spend less on textbooks, receive course readers and assignments via e-mail, write and submit papers and exams directly from their tablets, avoid the annoyance of selling textbooks back to bookstores at the end of the semester, and save thousands of trees in the process.  The entire college student-centric reprographics industry would be put out of business overnight (don't feel sorry for them, they'd undoubtedly reinvent themselves as creators of iPad apps).

Imagine downloading a physics textbook onto your iPad.  One could read a chapter, highlight sections (with the swipe of a finger) and equations, and rapidly generate a custom chapter summary--no physical highlighter or notepad required.  Lab books?  Thing of the past.  All the work would be done on the iPad an e-mailed to a professor [and cc'd to the applicable grad student(s)].  Entire lectures could be wirelessly downloaded as the lecture is taking place.  No need to take notes (though one certainly still could)--instead provide the professor with 100 percent focus (yeah right).1 I'm getting fired up just talking about this, and I haven't even gotten to the audio/video/multimedia embedding opportunities.  I can't even imagine how iPads could/will change things like foreign language courses.  Could one have an entire educational "conversation" with their iPad?  I don't doubt it.

You can't tell me this wouldn't work?  Even if the cost proved too steep for the university, I don't see any problem charging incoming freshman $300 for an iPad. What's $300 when one is paying a $47,000 tuition? Heck, Apple might even donate them, considering all the apps they would stand to sell--both educational and non-educational. The opportunities are endless.

Note - this is all predicated on the iPad not straining the eyes when used as an eBook for extended periods of time (similar to what the Kindle has accomplished).  If it's painful to use for more than an hour or two of reading this entire scheme is semi-moot.

1 I'm sure playing games, browsing Facebook, and Gchatting would be a concern, but Apple could easily devise a workaround (perhaps "modes" the device could automatically be placed in, via a "Professor's Edition" iPad.  For example, "test mode" and "lecture mode" seem easily attainable).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Inspired by a bumper sticker

          Ocean Park isn't as bike friendly as I remembered.  I'm not even to 34th and the bike lane's already disipated.  Where did it go?  Oh well, it's still better than Pico.  Pico's a fucking disaster.  I swear a bus passes me every 30 seconds I'm on that goddam street.  I love public transit as much as anyone--I'm on a bike aren't I?--but those buses terrify me.  What good's a bike lane if you share it with a three-ton bus?  Is there a better solution--bus stops on the center median?  bike lanes in the center?  Fuck it, it's not like the the city gives a shit about this crap.
          Good call bringing the bike over last night.  Ahh, there's nothing like a four-mile ride to start the day.  I just wish I had aired up the tires last night.  It seems like this always happens.  Dammit.  Oh well, it's only four miles.  The front tire never has enough air in it, and I just checked it for flats.  Nothing.  What a pain in the ass.  It's ok, I'm on not driving.  But crap, I hate riding on ocean park.
          At least I get to ride by The Counter.  I wonder if that cute waitress is working today?  What was her name?  Claudia?  Do I care?  Not when she looks that good in a [one size too small] T-shirt.  Jesus, that was amazing.  It was a woman like her that inspired "I'd like some fries with that shake."  There it is--the doors are already rolled up.  Only in LA.  Nine more blocks and turn right--gotta take 20th; 17th doesn't go through.  Is that yogurt place new?  Must be, I haven't se
          Jesus
          "Watch what you're fucking doing," I yell.
          Why is she angry at me?  I have a right to the road too.
          "I have a right to the road too," still yelling.  Thanks for the honk.  What a cunt.
          "Cunt!"  Now she knows.
          I was sure she was going to pull out in front of me.  I still remember the last time that happened.  Well, at least right until I hit the fender.  And the physical therapy.  Can't forget that.  I should have worn a helmet today.
          Why are there speed bumps?  Would people really speed down 20th?  What am I saying?  I'd speed down 20th.  They may as well have put these here specially for me.  That's great, fly past me and slam on the breaks for the bump.  Way to save gas.  Jackass.  A BMW.  USC Alumni.  Shocking combo.  Only a 3-series.  Douche.
          My rear tire's rubbing against the frame.  I adjusted it yesterday and it's already rubbing again.  Fuck me.  I should have brought the Trek.  I'd already be home if I was on the Trek.  But then I would've had to deal with shoes.  I need to sell this bike.  I can't sell it, it gives me such hipster cred.  I should sell my mountain bike.  I can't even remember the last time I road it.  Anybody living in an apartment isn't meant to own three bikes.  Why can't I bring myself to sell it?  I have a rule--if something hasn't been used in a year, ditch it.  Why doesn't it apply to my bikes?  Tire's still rubbing.  I'm not stopping.  Got to make this light.  I never hit this light.  Yes, I'm actually going to
          "Fuck."
          I never hit this light.  Fucking Olympic.  Sweet, I get to wait behind someone who doesn't know they're allowed to turn right on a red.  Amateur.  I wish I had the authority to revoke bad drivers' licenses on the spot.  Alas.  'I'd Fuck A Catchers Mitt'...?  Who the fuck would put that bumper sticker on their car?  I need to meet this person.  Wait, I definitely don't need to meet this person.  Some of these bumper stickers boggle my mind.  Do people actually pay for them?  Is there some sort of shitty bumper sticker store I'm not aware of?  Does this bozo actually think it's funny?  Does he (she?) have kids?  These are the things I need to know.  There should be a website that chronicles these abominations.  I'm thinking ridiculousbumperstickers.com.  It would be like People of Walmart...only not as funny.  I'd go to that site.  No I wouldn't--I never even visit People of Walmart.  My attention span isn't short enough.  Long enough?
          Green light.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Steal this idea - RidiculousBumperStickers.com

Bumper stickers are like "wild" Vegas stories--we've all got them, they serve little purpose, involve Stickum, and inevitably leave the audience wanting more.  Whether it's a "witty" slogan, high-horsish condemnation, or douchy USC Alumni swath of sticky-backed plastic, they're all annoying, and often downright ridiculous.

My days of pasting stickers on the backs of my vehicles are long gone.  In fact, I'm already looking forward to not pasting my child's "Student of the Month" and "Honor Student" stickers on my hybrid.  I know it may seem cruel, and semi-sociopathic, but they're just gateway stickers to armed services ribbons and campaign O's.  No thank you.

More and more I notice the unbelievable slogan, saying, or full-blown rear-hatch sticker infestation and simply shake my head.  Who are these people?  What is going through their minds when they purchase(?) these abominations and subsequently vandalize their own vehicles?  And why isn't their a central hub where I can marvel in their utter lack of good taste?  If only someone would steal this idea and create www.ridiculousbumperstickers.com--a simple, user-generated collection of riculous sticker(s) photos.  The site would be run similarly to People of Walmart, and highlight vehicles whose owners felt the need to decorate them with such beauties as "Baby NOT on board", "Save the cockroaches", and "Having congress fix the economy is like... O.J. hunting for the 'real killer'".1

1 How is it that most bumper stickers are dated before ever fulfilling their manifest destiny, and actually making it onto a bumper?


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

iPhone's Killer App

By now we're all intimately familiar with the iPhone.  They're beautiful, functional, and increasingly ubiquitous (we're at the point where any time 5-6 people get together, there's guaranteed to be at least one iPhone present).  There are plenty of competitors out there (including Blackberry, which dominates in the business market), but no touchscreen device, er, touches it in terms of popularity.  Despite what the phone makers at HTC, Google/Android, etc. seem to think, they won't approach the iPhone's popularity until the tackle one simple issue.1

First a look at two iPhone advantages that can be overcome:
1.  Beautiful design
The iPhone's design is nearly perfect--but that shouldn't be a surprise considering Apple's other resplendent products.  They are sleek, sexy, thin, and minimalistic2.  I love them.  But there are others just as beautiful (or at least close to it), most notably the Nexus One.  The iPhone definitely started the trend, but it's easily replicable.

2.  A massive head start, particularly regarding apps
There are now over 100,000 apps in the iTunes store (as compared to a rapidly increasing 10,000 that are Android compatible).  That's obviously a huge head start--and the apps are fun to play with--but the dirty little secret about the app world is that roughly 99% of them are completely useless.  Some are certainly awesome, but the "awesome app difference" ratio between the two is much smaller than the aforementioned 10:1.  Both these ratios will continue to shrink as the Nexus One and other smartphones continue to unveil advantages over the iPhone.

And now the iPhone's killer app (no pun intended).
The two-fingered pinch/spread zoom function
The "two-fingered pinch/spread" may sound like one of my go-to moves in the bedroom, but it's actually what I see as the biggest advantage the iPhone has over all the other wannabes.  It's a simple, brilliant design, couldn't be more intuitive, and is superior to every other zoom/navigation system I've seen.  Why no other company has copied it is beyond me (a patent?), but unless there's a legal reason barring duplication, I feel like other touchscreen device manufacturers are committing a monumental bed shitting.  Is there a single person who doesn't like the iPhone zoom system?  Would any iPhone user trade it in for an alternative?  I doubt it.  And until Google, Blackberry or someone else realizes this, their products will continue to play second fiddle.

1 Anyone that has seen my cell phone probably thinks I'm the last person that should be making definitive claims about smartphones.  You may have a point, but I have two counters:  1) That line of thinking has never stopped me from spouting off before.  2)  Just because my cell phone was made in 1993--and has an inbox with a 30 text capacity--doesn't mean I don't have good design and business sense.
2 I like my cell phones like I like my women--thin, sexy and low maintenance.  Oh, and virus-free.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Music Monday - Hockey, Music Go Music, The Vanish, Yeasayer

Thanks to Coachella--and the release of their 2010 lineup--initiating a near jizzing in Undeployed's proverbial pants, the last week has brought the site dangerously close to morphing into a music blog (something we very much do not need or want).  With that in mind, we're going to limit today's Music Monday to a lightning quick recap of the non-Coachella music thoughts that have been swirling through my twisted mind over the last seven days.

Loving "Hold On" by The Vanish; Thursday already, time for Music Go Music at The Echo; Wow, no need for indie goggles with their lead singer; I love bangs on women; They knocked their set out of the park--and closing with "Warm in the Shadows" nearly brought the house down; Yeasayer's new album--Odd Blood--is quite nice;  It's very nice; Jesus, I love this album; Has an artist ever gone from "I kind of like them" to "currently my favorite band" status faster than Yeasayer?; Have I mentioned they're playing at the Natural History Museum in two Fridays?; Hockey concert tonight; Huh, not all that great live; Lead singer is kind of a tool; Opening band--Asa Ransom--stole the show; I've now listened to Odd Blood approximately 270 times.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Final Coachella Post

It looks like the fat cats behind Coachella are NOT selling any single day tickets to this year's festival.  I have one question:  Are you fucking kidding me?

We're balls deep in the worst recession since the Great Depression and Goldenvoice isn't happy unless music fans are forced to shell out a checkbook-raping $300 (after FBSTMFs).  Heaven forbid they should allow concert goers on a budget the option of paying for just 1-2 days.  (This shouldn't be the least bit surprising, but 1 ticket garners the holder 1 wristband for the entire weekend, so there's no opportunity to split the 3-day pass between two people.)  Give me a GD break.  I guess the exorbitant profits they're making on camping, parking, food, alcohol and water sales just aren't enough--they've got to wring out every last cent.

I suppose that if I (or anyone else) doesn't like this draconian policy they can just stay home.  Personally, I think the more attractive option is for the masterminds behind this decision to go fuck themselves.

Note - I was probably going to get a 3-day pass anyway (and still will), but it's the principal, dammit.

One more "over the top" Coachella spreadsheet

Since I just couldn't help myself, I've put together one more "over the top" and "completely unnecessary" Coachella related spreadsheet.  It's a look at my favorite albums of the past year, and which of their creators will be dominating a Coachella stage.  Looks like the final tally comes to a delicious 10 out of 23.  I apologize for the randomly numbered denominator, but as you can see, it's a pretty sweet percentage.

If only Calvin Harris was making an appearance.  Alas.

Note - my complete 2009 Top Albums reviews are available here and here.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quick Coachella Rundown

At long last the Coachella lineup has been released.  And at long last I'm once again torn as to how many days I should attend.  I've been through this before.  Nary two years ago I was battling the heat, douchebags, and lack of running water that have become synonymous with the three-day festival.  In exchange, I was treated to two days of unforgettable music, a rash that took far too long to extricate itself from my groin, and the start of a lifelong friendship with sunscreen.  Anyway...thanks to my vivacious girlfriend, it's looking more and more like I'll be spending three painfully long days at the festival this April, and it's probably for the best.  I love live music, and there's no better, more condensed way to experience it (at least in Southern California) than Coachella.

The organizers--who may or may not be evil--have once again provided a stellar line-up, with talent evenly spread like creamy peanut butter over the three days (making it impossible to choose just one or two days out of the three to attend).  I'm not going to bore you with a rundown of every artist that's performing (mostly because I haven't heard of half of them), or even list every artist I'm excited about1.  Instead, I'd just like to highlight a couple musicians from each of the three days, and [very briefly] explain why I'm willing to torture myself in the desert to see them play:

Friday, April 16
LCD Soundsytem - Probably the band at the top of my "I need to see them live, and soon" list.
Passion Pit - Could be hit or miss live, but I can't wait to find out.
Aeroplane - Has produced some of my favorite remixes of the past year; curious to see them live.

Saturday, April 17
MGMT - One of my favorite performances of Coachella '08.
Hot Chip - Ibid.
Tokyo Police Club - Not sure how I've never seen them live.

Sunday, April 18
Florence and the Machine - Excited just thinking about it.  She was my first [Music Monday subject].
Local Natives - Fawned over here.
Miike Snow - Please let them play at night.  Fawned over here.
MuteMath - Energy for days.
Phoenix - I'm guessing more than a few Coachella-goers will be geared up for this performance.

1 Click here for my initial Coachella breakdown that was subsequently described as "over the top" by the aforementioned vivacious GF.



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Underappreciated produce (guest post) - Dates and figs

Today's first--and very special--guest post is brought to you by Undeployed's favorite Friend of Dave, Mike Roy.  It shouldn't be surprising that after four months of Undeployment we've gotten a little lazy, but fortunately, Mike was warmed up and ready to pinch hit.  We hope to bring you additional guest posts in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, enjoy another delicious slice of underappreciated produce.

It seems food guilt is everywhere these days; it's hard to find anything that's healthy, good for the planet, and edible all at the same time.  Those tater chips you're munching on?  1 part empty carbs, 1 part diabetes.  That sweet, juicy hamburger patty you're drooling over?  I can smell the methane from here.  The non-organic grapes you're eyeing?  Balls deep in pesticide, not to mention creating immortal strains of ebola.  Your 6-pack of RC cola (yeah, remember the good old days?)?  Suffocating baby ducklings.  The coffee grounds you're huffing (that help you feel every morning that life is worth bothering with)?  Probably responsible for some Argentine farmer having to sodomize his goat, or worse, vice versa.1

But there does exist one place where no such tradeoffs exist, a magical place where the sweet tooth and wisdom tooth are one and the same.  To speak less metaphorically: I'm referring to two wonder fruits, or, to be more botanically correct, one oneder fruit and one false fruit. Dates and figs, people.  Dates and figs.

Now, if you're somewhat like me, those words probably fill your head with images of toga-clad Romans lounging around their triclinia, playing the lute and wittily holding forth on Luctretius' De Rerum Natura.  And if you're uncannily like me2, you are baffled by how they were able to conjugate verbs 25 times more complicated than English ones and decline nouns 50 times harder than ours, all on the fly, but were nonetheless dumb enough to believe it was bad luck “to meet a mule in the street carrying a [sic] herb called hipposelinum”.  For better or for worse, all that belongs to the past.  To dates and figs belongs the future.  Here's why:

Both of these delicious delicacies carry a mysterious appeal.  Everybody knows that they're tiny and fruitish, and that they come from the Middle East or something, but most would be hard-pressed to tell you what they look like, how they taste, or where you can find them.  Many (people) are even under the misapprehension that they (D n F) are vaguely raisiny, perhaps mixing them up with sultanas.  Consequently, he/she who possesses these exotic preciouses gives off a certain air of non-provincialness, a noble je ne sais quoi  that unmistakably identifies him/her as a member of society's upper echelons.  And yet!  Dates and figs are common, if not downright plebian where they come from.  They are all-natural, unprocessed, free of "added value," impossible for any corporation to appropriate3, incapable of being "indulged" in or labeled "decadent" for advertising purposes, and, in their unadulterated state, have nothing to do with social climbing.  They can't be served as hors-d'oeuvres, even though they make great finger food.  They allow for noisy chewing and sensuous lip-smacking.  All this means that the date/fig consumer has plenty of grounds to flaunt his counterculturecredentials.

In other words, dates and figs, not unlike, say, couscous, are bobo4 food par excellence.  Plus, they're portable.  Keeping a sack of them in your messenger bag at all times will guarantee that no matter where you go, no matter who you meet, you'll be able to give the exact impression you want.

Here are some other relevant factoids:

-Both go great in a variety of dishes, from granola to ice cream to rice pudding to fruit salad, or can be eaten as-is for a quick, no frills sugar fix.
-Both allow for a wide variety of puns and other sorts of wordplay, even pick-up lines.  Please use pru(n)dently.5
-Dates are possessed of a firm, smooth, leathery outside that leaves fingers clean (I'm eating as I type, even), while their chewy texture prolongs the inevitable mouthgasm resulting from the creamy, custardy, caramel-malty flavor.
-Dates contain spittable pits - God made them (the pits) just the right size to fit into a plastic straw, and just the right weight to be able to put out an eye.
-Similarly, figs' distinctive disc-like shape make them the most tossable of all members of the class “Mangnoliopsida"
-With 10g of fiber per 100g serving, figs keep you regular like prunes, but make you feel more like a bobo (see above) and less like an old fart (no pun intended).
-For all you who want to become vegans, Dates and Figs offer an easy alternative to desserts and sweets like ice cream, chocolate, cookies, marshmallows, and candies, almost all of which have some animal product in them somewhere.
-For all you environmentalists, Dates and Figs require very little processing (though transportation may be an issue [though maybe not compared to the foods listed above]), and if you can find them in bulk, they don't require much packaging, either.
-Yes, it is perfectly permissible - even preferable - for you to slap any smartass who just can't resist asking, "But where's the newton?"

1 Technically, this would probably be taking place anyway.  How's that for a mental image?  (Mike didn't get the memo that we're trying to keep this family oriented site rated PG.)
2 God help you.
3 Our "fruit and cake" friends would beg to differ.
4 See also, Undeployed, Mike in Korea.
5 You can think of this guest post as Mike and Dave's first date. What, too easy?

Not sure if this picture helps or hurts Mike's argument:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Things Undeployed probably spends way too much time thinking about - The proper definition of the word "manorexia"

You're all in for a treat--"The proper definition of the word 'manorexia'" is the first entry in Undeployed's succinctly-worded new recurring feature, "Things Undeployed probably spends way too much time thinking about."

The term "manorexia" was coined by a budding writing star on the Berkeley campus in January of 2005. The simple definition of manorexia was set as:  a condition whereby the afflicted person (or manorexic) is obsessed with working out and the gym.  The piece went on:
Manorexia is a recently discovered phenomenon. Its symptoms do vary, but seem to include patronizing the local gym five or more times a week, subscribing to Men's Fitness, having watched the documentary "Pumping Iron," and consuming ridiculous amounts of cottage cheese.
Much to my chagrin, there now seems to be growing consensus that manorexia is simply anorexia applied to men, and a male anorexic equals a manorexic.  As opposed to what the mouthbreathers at Urban Dictionary seem to think (and this thinking took place well after January, 2005), that is stupid.  Anorexia already applies to men and women, making this fraudulent definition completely unnecessary and repetitive.  It would be akin to calling skinny men minny.  Or bulimic men mulimic.  I've already given these bogus definitions a big thumbs down, but it offered little solace.  I guess all that's left is to spend way too much time thinking about it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

On running up the score

In yesterday's Viking-Cowboys game, Brett Favre and the men in purple ruffled their opponents' feathers by passing for a needless touchdown with around two minutes remaining in a game that was clearly decided.  Sure enough, the Cowboys called the play "classless", and the Vikings gave the standard "if you don't like it, stop it"/"we're just trying to execute at a high level" series of BS responses.  Perhaps I'm just sick of hearing the name Brett Favre1 (and this story has further kept him in the news), but I have a few thoughts on the issue (shocking, I know):

- Despite what the Vikings claim, they were trying to run up the score and embarrass the Cowboys.  To state otherwise is a complete farce
- They knew scoring the touchdown would piss off the Cowboys
- If the tables were turned, the Vikings would be pissed, and the Cowboys would feign ignorance
- It was ridiculous to even have Favre (and Adrian Peterson) in the game with a 24 point lead and three minutes to play (how great would a Favre injury have been on that play--I can picture the annoying camera shots of his family in their suite now)
- If you want to run up the score (for your fans, or whatever) fine, but own up to it and don't trot out the same sorry excuses.  Again, this plays out exactly the same every time--pro or college--so let's stop acting baffled when the victimized team is upset

1 I've played a season-long drinking game where every time Favre's name is spoken I take a gulp. I'm currently two Vikings games away from a liver replacement.


Here's the play, including Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking's reaction:

Music Monday - Indie Goggles

I'm a big fan of female singer/songwriters.  Huge fan.  Can't get enough of them.  There's just nothing sexier than the thought of an attractive lady strumming a guitar while singing softly into my melting ears.  For this reason I (and all men the least bit hipster) have a tendency to view female musicians as being more attractive than they really are; we get "indie goggles" (© 2010, Undeployed.com).  Think of them the same way we think of "beer goggles" (and much to my chagrin, "Berkeley goggles")--strap them on and all of a sudden that girl at the keyboard couldn't look hotter.

A suscinct definition (provided by your resident trendsetter) for indie goggles can be found at Urban Dictionary, but in case it's blocked at your office, here it is verbatim:
Indie goggles - The tendency for otherwise rational males to grossly exaggerate the attractiveness level of women with an "indie" look--particularly if the female in question is in a band.

Pretty simple right?  In case you're still confused, let's take a look at several indie chicks from the world of music, rate their looks with indie goggles (on a scale of 1 to 10, with no such thing as a 71), then their actual rating (same scale).
Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley.  Indie goggles score: 9.  Actual score:  6.
Leslie Feist.  Indie goggles score: 10.  Actual score:  5.5.
Zooey Deschanel:  Indie goggles score: 10+.  Actual score:  8.
Beth Ditto of The Gossip.  Indie goggles score: 1.  Actual score:  1.
The women of Au Revoir Simone (scores from L to R).  Indie goggles score:  9, 8,8.  Actual score:  8, 5,4.
Ladyhawke.  Indie goggles score:  10.  Actual score 6.5
La Roux.  Indie goggles score:  8.  Actual score:  3.

You get the idea (I could go on all day).  The concept of indie goggles is still in the nascent stages of development (coalescing somewhere in my cerebral cortex), so the idea--and accompanying rules--are not fully fleshed out.  Despite that, the ranking exercise above draws me to several interesting observations:

1. Indie goggles propel nearly any female band member to at least an 8.
2. There is no correlation between a woman's indie and actual scores, but the mean delta is probably 3+/-.
3. Beth Ditto is completely resistant to indie goggles.
4. Zooey Deschanel is pretty Effing attractive (she wasn't supposed to rank higher than Feist).
5. I'm a heathen.
6. I can't wait to strap on my indie goggles at catch Warpaint at the Natural History Museum in a couple weeks.

1 © 2005, R. Radford.

Note 1 - Beth Ditto may be repulsive, but she sure can belt it out--and if it's subsequently given the Fred Falke treatment, so much the better.
Note 2 - I'll also take credit for "hipster goggles."  Same definition.




Friday, January 15, 2010

Trends I Started - Trends I Started

My buddy Mike had to know this was coming (perhaps this is all a clever ploy to increase traffic on his blog), but it looks like I've started another trend:  starting trends.

I'll let his excellent post--and the equally excellent trend he's attempting to start1--speak for itself, so please check it out and help us start a myriad of trends.

1 If you're too busy to read his post (or were wondering what the picture below has to do with this post), the trend is "elevator carbon offsets."


Thursday, January 14, 2010

The 5'5" and Flats Theory

Like most of my theories, the 5'5" and Flats Theory was spawned shortly after being shot down by a lovely lady whilst binge drinking at Bodega Wine Bar.  Fortunately--unlike most of my other shamings--this fateful encounter actually resulted in a rule with which to avoid future letdowns (of this particular variety--I still experience myriad letdowns with the ladies).  I'll spare you the gory details of the misfire, and simply hit you with the theory:
If a woman is 5'5" or shorter, and is wearing flats at a club, bar, concert, or other ritzy event, it means she has a boyfriend.
If you think about it for a second, you'll see it's really not as far fetched as it may seem.  We can all admit that women like going out, dressing up, being ogled by meatheads, receiving free drinks, and making some "mistakes."  When a woman slips on a pair of flats, much of the aforementioned possibilities go out the window.  She is advertising she's not on the market, isn't going to have much fun, and is poised to "help" her friends and block some cock.  Think of it as a precursor to the "I have a boyfriend (or girlfriend) and now I can enter 'I've given up on myself mode', gain ten pounds, and stop wearing makeup" phenomenon.  Perhaps more to the point (actually, it's much less to the point--so it goes), flats are like a wedding band--only the person sporting them is way more bitter because their man isn't totally locked up, and their left hand issn't rocking an expensive piece of jewelry.

Some of my female readers may not like what I've laid out today, but it's time tested, and completely infallible.  My male readers can thank me later.  Either way, check out bookmark design four, and help spread word.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Music Monday (on Wednesday?!) - The artist's favorite genre

(The following probably won't make a lot of sense, but is more my attempt to distill a few of the scattered thoughts I had two nights ago, during a post-concert weaving across Los Angeles.)

I'm really glad I stole got this KCRW poster...
Should I tip the vallet?  I mean, he's been on his iPhone while retrieving the last three cars.  Society does dictate I tip him...
Fine, I'll tip him...
I'm so glad I snuck out a little early to avoid the rush...
The Hotel Cafe really met expectations; perfect date spot; ready to come back again...
I can't believe how Mark Growden stole the show...
Definitely didn't see that coming when three guys were standing on stage with an accordion, stand-up base, and clarinet...
Do musicians perform the style they like the best, or the style they can perform the best?...
I doubt Dr. Dre's favorite genre is bluegrass...
I'm guessing Metallica's favorite to listen to isn't swing...
So does this mean Mark Growden's "ideal sound" = base, clarinet/sax, accordion, and awesome lead vocals?...
I'm hungry; that quesadilla wasn't nearly filling enough...
It must be the style he can be the most successful at, and is based on his favorite genres (blues, jazz, etc.)...
I mean, he could play any instrument (he even played fucking bicycle handlebars(!)), but the accordion?...
He must really like it...
Time for an illegal left turn...
"Yes, sweetie, I know where I'm going; I don't need help from the iPhone"...
Time for some Tier 1 driving...
Why was Jesca Hoop singing with an Irish accent?  She said she was born in SF, raised in LA, and is currently living in London.  Where does Ireland come in?...

I liked her sound--just seemed a little disingenuous...
And what the Eff is up with the spelling of her name?...
I should have bought Mark's CD...
Jesus those Anchor Steams were good; great beer; why don't I drink it more?...
Was Jesca Hoop hot?  I'm going to go with yes...

I surprisingly didn't mind her messing up two songs...
Her "banter" was hit or miss...
In my opinion, a singer can do all the talking they want when on stage; as long as politics and religion don't come up; if you have a problem with it stay home and listen to their CD...
She was funny, but only "musician funny"...
I probably just wasn't drunk enough...
Her backup singer had a great voice...
Oooh, Fiesta Cantina(!)...and it's happy hour time...
If only the GF wasn't here; next time...
I love driving in LA at night...
Santa Monica Blvd feels like a freeway right now...
Should I blog about this next Monday?...
Nah, I've already got something prepared...
Almost home; parking sucks...
Fucking street sweeping...
A good night...
Good night...


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trends I Started - Moisturizers with SPF

Living under the harsh Southern California sun, I long ago realized I needed to be proactive about maintaining my abnormally supple skin and youthful visage.  My status as a long-suffering tanorexic certainly didn't help matters. Clearly something had to change, and with no chance of me giving up my lengthy tanning sessions--or much ballyhooed shirtless jogs--necessity dictated I start another trend:  using moisturizers with SPF.

Generally reserved for the fairer sex, these wonderful balms smooth the skin, decrease the effects of age and the appearance of wrinkles, protect the face from the sun, and purportedly improve the taste of your semen.  As you can probably guess, every one of those results makes the ointments like catnip to me--in fact, I'm now practically bathing in the stuff.  Sure, these emollients have a feminine connotation (I personally use Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer, with SPF 15), but if they were originally marketed toward men, I wouldn't have started the trend.  In fact, a number of beauty product manufacturers (including Mary Kay) are now producing a variety of male-specific products, guaranteeing the trend will continue to spread.


Monday, January 11, 2010

New item added to the Undeployed store!

The long wait is over--the Timeline Luggage Tag is now available in the Undeployed Store.

Additionally, a fourth and final Timeline Bookmark is now available, complete with a design that will make far more sense following an upcoming post.


Music Monday - Hot and Not

Hot:  Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
I know I said I wasn't going to mention it any more, but Gorilla Manor is the second album that definitely should have been included in my Best of '09 album countdown.  Holy crap is it a beautiful piece of work.1

Over the last few years I've drifted away from male-fronted, mellow indie bands (ie The Shins, Elliot Smith) in favor of female-led outfits (Metric, Regina Spektor, the female half of Stars).  It just seemed a little weird to figuratively melt from the singing of someone with an Adam's apple.  Fortunately, Local Natives has come along to toss my homophobia by the wayside, and lure me back.

I've been hearing a steady stream of beautiful Fleet Foxes-esque2 songs on KCRW in recent months, but up until a few days ago I had no idea they were all the product of Local Natives.  It's nice to have all this goodness in one place as I continue to regret leaving them off my year-end list.

Hot:  Class Actress - Journal of Ardency
To be honest, I'm not entirely sure I like Class Actress (I'm only lukewarm on the song in today's playlist--"Careful What You Say" is way better, but I couldn't find it on YouTube), but the combination of their awesome name, slightly less awesome album title, and "new wave" genre listing are too much for me to resist.  Undeployed has ardency for days, and no small portion of it now goes out to Class Actress.  (Did I mention how much I like their name...I can be so simple.)

Not:  Vampire Weekend - Contra
I know I should like Vampire Weekend's newest effort, but I just can't get myself to admit it.  Vampire Weekend was the hottest thing since bottled water following the release of their debut album in early-2008.  I was quick to jump on  the bandwagon--and found most of their stuff catchy--but it just didn't take.  In fact, I can't remember the last time I listened (or had the desire to listen) to their self-titled hit of an album.  That said, it shouldn't be a surprise I'm not impressed with Contra. There's a bland sameness to the majority of the album, a relative absence of catchy hits, and a disappointing simplicity to most of the songs.  "Horchata" is rapidly growing on me, "Run" is genuinely good, and there is another gem or two, but by in large it's a forgettable 37 minutes.  Somehow I'm guessing this will be one of its few bad reviews.

1 I couldn't narrow it down to a single song of theirs to include in today's playlist--so you get three!  Everybody wins.
2 Local Natives does a better Fleet Foxes than Fleet Foxes.


Nice album cover, not so nice album.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Spider Interview Test

There is a lot of BS involved in any interview.  Some hiring managers throw a barrage of mind-teasers at the interviewee, while others act like the potential employee is their best friend.  Much to my dismay, I've never been in the position of selecting a new employee, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time until I'm helping shape the future of some unsuspecting company.  As I prepare to take my place alongside Henry Ford, Meg Whitman, and Napoleon Bonaparte as one of the great business leaders, I've been giving a lot of thought to the hiring process.  I haven't worked out all the kinks in my personal hiring strategy, but I have devised one foolproof trick:  The Spider Test.

The Spider Test couldn't be easier--in anticipation of any interview of a female applicant I plant a live spider (about the size of a nickle, including legs) somewhere where it's guaranteed to be seen by the unsuspecting victim interviewee, and politely request that she kill it with one of the conveniently placed tissues on my desk.  If she goes batshit crazy over the tiny--albeit disgusting--arachnid, and refuses the innocuous task, the interview is terminated.  If, on the other hand, she calmly and coolly kills the little fella, the interview continues with the brave candidate that much closer to being hired.

Why such a random (and semi-creepy) interview test for a position that has nothing to do with spiders, Kleenex, or batshit?  It's simple--if an applicant doesn't have the testicular fortitude to kill a tiny pest, how is she (or he for that matter), supposed to hold up in a fiery boardroom, or when dealing with an enraged client/consultant?  As far as I can tell the two skills go hand in hand, and as a Bonaparte-esque leader, I personally am not prepared to go to battle (in the boardroom, that is) with someone who's scared of an itsy bitsy spider.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Undeployed on Twitter

Undeployed is still on Twitter (and becoming worryingly obsessed with it--we're starting to think it "Tweets"), and even has a sweet new background.  Take a look, you'll be glad you did.

Steal this idea - Stop pimping waterless urinals

In an age where Americans are bombarded by thousands of advertisements every week, we've reached the point where a guy can't even take a leak without seeing an advertisement for the very thing that's receiving their urine.  All the guys out there know what I'm talking about, but for all my female readers, here's the deal:  Waterless urinals are cropping up in restrooms all across the country, and for some reason both the facilities and the manufacturers feel the need to put a plaque above every one alerting all who whiz there that they're using a waterless urinal, and are "helping to save 40,000 gallons of water per year."

That's all fine and dandy, but you know what?  Every man in America already knows this.  I'm a big fan of water-free urinals, and can fondly remember the first time I used one (and read the annoying plaque), but it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what I was looking at.  At this point the plaques only serve to let the facility brag about how "green" they are (albeit only in this one minor way that also probably saves them a lot of money), and provide the manufacturers with years of free advertising.  I have a feeling Sloan and Falcon (two manufacturers of the offending fixtures) aren't exactly loyal readers of Undeployed, but if they are, I hope they would please steal this idea and leave the plaques at home.  Thanks so much.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dave Recommends - Chuck Klosterman on Twitter

Thanks to Chuck Klosterman apparently making a New Year's resolution to start using Twitter, I am now following a half-dozen people on the social networking/time destruction site.  I've read several of Kosterman's books (and if I'm not mistaken have quoted from "Eating the Dinosaur" on this very blog), and couldn't be happier to get a further glimpse into his semi-neurotic mind.  Between Klosterman and Bill Simmons, it's only a matter of time before I'm refreshing my Twitter homepage more often than I pee in the sink.  We're only a few days into Klosterman's Twitter reign, but early gems include the following:

"Reading A VERY BAD WIZARD while listening to the band Bad Wizard:  Is this the heaviest wizard-related activity ever conceived?"
and
"The street outside my apartment is littered with dead Christmas trees and broken bones.  It's like Jack White had a dream here."

Uh...on second thought, maybe you don't need to rush over to Twitter to follow the Chuckster.  Just know that I will be.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The joys of a litigious society

Apparently this constitutes a natural disaster in Santa Monica (the following photo was taken 30 yards from my apartment).






















"Use extreme caution", eh?  Am I supposed to don a helmet?  Some sort of harness system?  Army crawl by?  Hold hands with a stranger?  All of the above?  Somebody hold me--I'm so terrified.

And how are there no exclamation points on this sign?

Undeployed merchandise unveiled

Undeployed's merchandise page is finally up, and our first line of products is an idea stolen from this very site.  A portion of the profits from every sale will go to a charitable organization of Undeployed's choice (aka Dave's Retirement Fund), so please take a look at our offerings, and help Undeployed start another trend.

The Undeployed Store will be updated with more offerings shortly--including T-shirts, luggage tags, canvas grocery bags, beer cozies, and rolling papers--so please use the "STORE" link in the upper right hand corner of the page to check back every couple weeks.

As always, thanks for your support.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Music Monday - Chromeo and CFCF

Mercifully, New Year's Eve has come and gone and I'm still standing (though walking with a major limp).  I even made it through the evening slightly under budget at just over $1,200 spent.  My festivities were conducted at the infamous Club Nokia, and the evening included good times, good friends, and very good music.  The two-man dance party that is Chromeo more than met expectations, and easily reached band-worth-seeing-every-time-they-come-through-town status, joining such luminaries including Bloc Party, Cut Copy, Calvin Harris, Stars, and Miike Snow.  The only downside to the evening were multiple Lord of the Flies-esque cab searches that left me semi-enraged, and feeling like Piggy (but well worth dealing with to finally see Chromeo in person).

CFCF - Continent
It was bound to happen, but I've already come across an album that has me kicking myself for leaving it off my Top 20 Albums of 2009 list (and I haven't even gotten around to trolling through KCRW's top album lists).  Oh well.  It's certainly better to have discovered CFCF's Continent sooner rather than later--even if it makes for a slightly inaccurate list.  The album is a mostly instrumental-electronic breath of fresh air, that handily wins my award for the year's Best Dinner Party Soundtrack (along with best Bow Chicka Bow Soundtrack).  I'm sure I'll come across others that belonged in my top 20, but I promise to make this my final mention/regret.  And if you're curious, I probably would have set it at number nine or ten, next to Delorean's similarly sounding EP.

Note 1 - I love the "You Hear Colours" music video.  See below.
Note 2 - I'm not sure the music quality I'm supplying does it justice, but how Effing sweet is the opening to "Raining Patterns"?  It hurts so good.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolving to make a resolution

Ah New Years Day, we meet again.  It feels like only yesterday I was counting down the start of '09 in a San Diego gay bar.  Who could have guessed my 2009 wouldn't exactly go as planned?  I certainly had a lot of fun, and had some great experiences, but the whole not working for four months thing put a bit of a pall over the last trimester of my year.  Even my 2009 New Year's resolutions didn't go as planned.  My number one goal for the year was to learn to drink Scotch, and barely a month into '09 I had puked, cried (multiple times), wasted $32 on a handle of Cutty Sark, and given up on my goal.  I'm pretty sure I had a couple other resolutions, but I I honestly can't even remember what the hell they were.  I guess that tells you something.

It's really quite unfortunate, as I am a big proponent of NYRs.  There is a large segment of naysayers out there that feel "we should always be looking to better ourselves, and shouldn't need a calendar change kick start to make it happen," and to a certain extent I agree.  But if that's what it takes to get people motivated, what's the problem?  In addition, I think it makes for a nice way of closing out the year, and optimistically ushering in the future.  Much like my belief that Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving unless one acknowledges what they're thankful for, it doesn't seem like New Years is New Years lest we mark the occasion via a new goal, and some simple self reflection.  Without a resolution it's just another debaucherous night followed by an earth shattering headache, and (in my case) a burning sensation while peeing.

I don't think NYRs need to be monumental undertakings, just an accomplishable (is that a word?) tweak.  This year I'm aiming to be less judgmental when first meeting people (possibly attainable) and to get less frustrated while driving (almost definitely unattainable).  It's all part of my 2010 stress/blood pressure/road rage reduction plan.  Wish me luck.


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