Tuesday, April 29, 2008

If you're looking for me, I'll be in Liberty City

I picked up Grand Theft Auto IV this evening on my way home from work, and played it for almost an hour before I realized I was hungry. I took a break to eat and watch part of the Rangers-Penguins game (Pens win!). I have a feeling I'll be playing this game after work for a while.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Stanley Cup playoff hockey in HD? Not tonight.

One of the joys of having HDTV is watching sports, and at this time of year, watching the Stanley Cup playoffs in HD. This past week I've been watching all the games on Versus HD, which magically appeared in my channel lineup when the playoffs started.

However, tonight's game between the Penguins and the Rangers is only on Versus in SD, at least here in NY. I can't believe that the Penguins don't broadcast their games in HD, so I have to assume that Time Warner is blacking out Versus HD for some reason.

I should just be thankful that I can see the game at all.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It's over for Star and Al

Star Jones has filed for divorce from Al Reynolds. The two parties didn't give a reason. You think maybe it's because he's gay? No, that couldn't be it. Just because the man had the most awkward bachelor party ever doesn't mean he likes dudes. He's just really into bathrobes, crappy liquor, and simulated sex shows that don't get anyone excited.

Friday, April 18, 2008


On Wednesday afternoon I checked the Pope's NY itinerary and noticed that one of the street closures on Friday April 18 (that's today!) was 87th Street between 1st and York. That's a block south of my apartment on 1st Ave. The pope will be at a special worship service at St. Joseph's Church on that block at 6 PM tonight. When I went to work this morning, the NYPD had already put up parade barricades along 1st Avenue and on 87th St. My block appears to be unaffected, but I'm sure it's a mob scene on my street right now. Normally I might be interested in a spectacle like this, and stand out there with my camera and try to get a picture of the Popemobile as it goes by. But the security for this visit is so heavy that I think I'll just stay out until 8 or 9 PM tonight and try to avoid the entire mess.

In other neighborhood news, the jackhammers and concrete saws that drove me crazy on Tuesday evening turned out to be there for a good reason: a leaky water main that had flooded several of the basements on my block. However, in fixing the problem, the water department had to shut off the water to the entire block on Wednesday evening and didn't turn it back on until Thursday morning. I discovered this when I got home from a long night of eating and drinking and all I wanted to do was pass out. I had the flexibility of making other arrangements for the night (and more importantly, for the shower I would certainly need and want on Thursday morning) so I was able to weather the crisis. When I got home on Thursday night the hole in the street had been filled with fresh asphalt and the water flowing from the tap was clear and plentiful.

I would like to apologize to the DEP guy that I complained to on Wednesday night. I'm sorry I gave you a hard time; I know you didn't want to be out there any more than I wanted to be without running water. I am especially sorry for suggesting that the water issue was in any way related to the pope's visit this evening. I did not really think that you were all terrorists disguised as water department repairmen planting a giant bomb in the street as a plot to kill the pope. You have to understand: I'm crazy and sometimes a little paranoid.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The streets are alive... with the sound of jackhammers

There must be some kind of water main leak under 1st Avenue right outside my apartment, because for the second night in a row, there are construction workers outside jackhammering (is that a verb?) a giant hole in the street. They're cutting and pounding away AS I WRITE THIS, which makes it difficult, if not impossible to watch TV or enjoy life in general here. I appreciate that evening construction work is better than early morning, and I'd rather have them fixing the leak than letting it seep into the basement next door (watch out for that drainage hose across the sidewalk!). I also understand that my neighbors a block over on 2nd Avenue have it much, much worse, what with their entire street torn up with subway construction. But it's still annoying me right now, and it's my blog, so I'll write about things that annoy me if I want.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Home theater improvements

Last week I bought a HDMI-DVI adapter that lets me hook up my Macbook Pro to my HDTV. Now I can use my 42" TV as an extra monitor. Why? Well, why not? It's there, it's beautiful, and the Mac can output 1920x1080 to fill the entire screen. Right now my extra HDMI cable is only 6 feet long so I can't sit comfortably on my sofa and use the TV as a monitor. I have to put the Mac on my coffee table and lean over to make it work. So at some point I'll get another HDMI cable that's longer and then I work in my living room with two monitors.

The other reason to get the adapter is that my old Dell PC has DVI outputs on the video card, so I can hook up my PC to the TV. I intended to keep the old PC as a media server anyway, so this way I can put it in the living room as well and just connect it directly to the TV. I still need to figure out just what I'll keep on that PC. I have room on the Mac for all my music and photos so I could just use it as a backup system. I'm not making any big changes until my housing situation is resolved. As long as I have the office then I have no reason to overload my living room power outlets with more equipment.

Another thing is that mucking about with my home theater setup is that it lets me avoid bigger things in my life, like thinking about where I want to move and what I want to be when I grow up. I should be devoting some time to those issues, but I'd much rather tinker with my computers.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Gawker doesn't want me to work for the rest of the day (or the week)

They just posted a link to Nerve's top 50 comedy sketches of all time. And in the comments, people have posted their own favorites that didn't make the list. I might just have to go home early, hook up the Mac to the HDTV, and go to town. Speaking of which, I've got another home theater post rolling around in my head, so look for that in the next day or so, whenever I get around to writing it.

Monday, April 07, 2008

another subway ranter?

I was on the 6 train this morning instead of my usual 4/5 commute, at least until I changed trains at 14th St. An older man got on the train at one of the stops. He was dressed in a decent-looking blazer and slacks, and had what looked like a violin pin on his lapel, and he was carrying a newspaper. As soon as the doors closed, he said he was an example of why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, that anyone could be in his position, and that we should all pray each day to our higher power. Then he read his paper. He didn't go on about Jesus or ask anyone for money, so I don't think he was preaching. When he got off the train a few stops later he walked past me and I caught a whiff of his odor. I don't know if it was old man funk, homeless guy stink, or something even more foul, but he had a nasty air about him. Maybe he was just hoping someone would offer him a clean pair of pants.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

God has no place on public transit

On my way home from work last Friday night, I had the pleasure of having a subway preacher standing next to me and loudly proclaiming that Jesus was his savior and the one true god, etc., etc. I hate subway preachers. I don't like most forms of subway shilling, whether it's two kids doing a breakdance routine (always the same spiel, usually the same music, only the faces are different), a homeless person asking for money, or people selling candy. When I'm on the subway I just want to listen to my music and/or read my book, and all these interlopers force me to turn off my music (I can't hear it over theirs) or put away my book. However, I reserve my greatest loathing for subway preachers. At least with the other unwelcome types, you know that the show or the begging will be over by the time the train gets to the next stop. But with subway preachers, they just stay where they are through every stop and tell you all about how you're going to Hell if you don't accept Christ. This guy got on the train at 42nd St. and started by reading something from the Bible, and as soon as he got it out I knew that I'd be stuck with him next to me until I got off the train at 86th St. Sure enough, when he finished with his Bible passage, he started going on about how all the problems of the world were due to too many gods, and that Jesus was the only true god. And he kept it up, even though everyone in the car was ignoring him. When I got off at my stop, he was still going strong, telling everyone that he was on his way home to meet his wife and kids and that they were going to church that night. Well, good for them.

Later that night, I was back on the 4/5 train going downtown, on my way to Brooklyn. I was reading my book and listening to my iPod again (sometimes I can multi-task) when this woman got on the train at 59th St. She put her bags down on one of the benches, stood up at the end of the car, and started talking about Jesus. Then she started singing a gospel song, complete with clapping and exhortations for the rest of us to clap and sing along. Honestly, where do these people come from? I think she gave up somewhere between 42nd and 14th Sts. and moved to the next car, so I got a few free minutes with my music before I switched lines at 14th St.

I have no problems with anyone's religious beliefs or with free speech. But is a subway car really the best place to spread the word? Maybe I don't get it because I'm Jewish and nothing in my belief system tells me that I need to convert the heathens. In fact, rabbis actively discourage potential converts. You don't want any part of this, trust me.