Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Oh, indeed

Filed under : Rants,Tennis
On August 28, 2012
At 11:55 pm
Comments : 4

You know, I was going to put the blog on hiatus since all my news is bad news and it’s not even bad news I want to share. But oh happy day, folks! There is finally some bad news I’m willing to post about. I had gambled and won; the tickets I had put down for in our family plan long, long ago, did indeed turn out to be the day the US Open draw and schedulers had determined David Nalbandian would play. There will be good weather. He is playing on a court with plenty of open seats. It is tomorrow!

And then today he pulled out with an injury [insert wah wah sound].

I feel pretty, pretty sure I will get a sunburn and food poisoning tomorrow. Also, someone will spill their drink on me.

Could this summer have been more awesome?

Since I fell in love with The Wire this summer, I think I’ll let Omar answer.

[flowplayer src='' width=432 height=324 controlbar='show' splash='']

I was going to entitle this post “Sheeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiit,” because I do not like two posts beginning with the same word right next to each other, but I understand that some people don’t like profanity in their Facebook feeds, so I am reduced to being repetitive. Plus, if Depeche Mode can title two songs on the same record “Question of Time” and “Question of Lust,” who am I to be anal?


Train in vain

Filed under : Rants,Travel
On July 15, 2011
At 1:11 pm
Comments : 6

Well, here it is, my first rant about my trip. Lots of people will be unsurprised by the fact that it’s about Amtrak, but frankly, I’ve always had pretty good experiences with them. I guess this is the first time I’ve attempted to find out where all the dollars that the Northeast Corridor trains, with their high volume and overpriced fares, go. I took the Amtrak Cascades from Vancouver to Portland and it really couldn’t have been more annoying. For starters, it’s treated as though this is The First Train you’ve ever taken. Instructions on how to take trains and emergency procedures are given continually. Now, maybe it is for most people, but it still irritated me to no end.

But that was a small trifle compared to the whole seating arrangement. I suppose it’s my fault for not doing enough research, but it turns out that one side of the train sees glorious views and the other, for a good portion of the trip, sees a wall of dirt. I guess that might be OK (well, it isn’t but what can you do about it?) if they let people pick their own seats. But they don’t. They assign them based on your arrival time at the station (you can’t do it in advance). The train is at 6:40am which tells you how much effort is needed to get there early. I arrived at 5:45am which was the earliest you can get there by public transport. Most of the train was already on line ahead of me. Once on board, I found that I had missed getting a scenic side seat by two people. I know that because the couple who cut me got one and I didn’t. That’s another story that I’m really too bitter to tell. Beyond that, they seated a guy next to me who had a computer so getting up was an ordeal and once again, I was in front of a disruptive child. All this would have been fine on an east coast Amtrak, because I would have gathered my things and moved, or more likely, staked out a good seat from the beginning and maneuvered to get it. But here, frequent announcements demanded that you not switch seats as Amtrak had it all carefully planned for upcoming riders at other stops. They even declared that if you saw an empty car to not sit there because they were for future passengers and “we have our own system.”

I think this was the moment I began to boil with rage, looking at the dirt wall. You mean there were empty seats but they were sitting unenjoyed so that people getting on at Seattle or wherever could have them? Holy fuck. As if this weren’t enough, the fabulous system that NW Amtrak had in place seemed to work great as the people who came on there all had assignments for seats already taken by Vancouver people.

So here’s my advice, Amtrak: learn from your Eastern counterparts. Let people sit wherever they want. It all seems to work out just fine and has for years. People getting on at later stops get whatever seats remain, that’s the rule of the rails. I think this is why communism failed, you know?

This was the first train that I couldn’t wait to get off of. Naturally, it was late. Thanks, Amtrak!

And here’s my advice for future travelers: either get there reeeeally early, like 4:30am or else, after the border passport check about an hour in (you really are matched to your seat there), walk through and try to find a better seat. By Bellingham, though, I found that new people had already grabbed all the good ones. So your window on having anything decent is pretty short.

And now back to dodging hippies in Portland. There will be no pictures attached to this post. You’re welcome!


Shake the disease

Filed under : Rants
On June 2, 2010
At 3:00 am
Comments : 2

Oh hey, were you aware? There are diseases out there. You should be! Because the folks who are trying to cure them want you to be aware that they exist. Now, I do the Komen Race For the Cure every year and my mother died of breast cancer, but seriously, is there anyone on the planet who isn’t aware of breast cancer? I really don’t understand this “awareness” thing. I say this because I have a disease and it recently had its day, May 19th. Did you know that May 19th was World IBD Day? I hope you were aware because your awareness of it has totally changed my IBD experience.

Yes, I’m cynical. I’m glad we get a day. But if you were wondering why I haven’t mentioned it before or at least not in any detail it’s not because it’s a secret but rather because I simply don’t identify myself as a Person With A Disease. It simply is. I also can’t fly and I’m bad with learning languages. Both are limitations. Not being able to fly, for example, has lengthened my commute time and makes it hard to get to higher floors of buildings without taking the elevator or stairs. But, you see, I am more than a Person Who Can’t Fly. And I don’t need to Tweet about it or make my Facebook statuses about it because it’s an every day thing and I’ve been aeronautically challenged long enough to not really think about it very much, except when I am especially grounded or when I have to make that yearly appointment to have my damaged wings checked out via an invasive wingoscopy.

Ha ha, you say. Yes, it’s more than that and it makes life hard, but seriously, doesn’t everyone have something? It feels weird and limiting to run around with a disease telling everyone about it and relating your every online utterance to that obstacle. It’s one thing to keep a blog for others who have that illness or to talk about your experience and share. It also seems OK to me to advocate for someone else’s illness. But to become a tooting horn for your disease feels almost… narcissistic. But more than that, it reduces your life to your body’s abnormality. You’re more than that, I promise you. It’s OK to talk about something else. And yes, I’m thinking about certain people I see in my travels online in particular and am really too lameass to comment to them directly. I suck like that. But at least I’m aware of it. A cure for Lameass in our lifetimes!

Depeche Mode – Shake The Disease


Chutzpah bushah cherpa!

Filed under : Rants,The Internets
On April 23, 2010
At 2:15 am
Comments : 9

When I was in high school, there was a girl in my class who thought it was hilarious to yell this out any time the teacher would reprimand someone for acting out. This is because it was hilarious. Maybe you had to be there. Ah, yeshiva high school. It translates, loosely, as “audacity, shame, disgrace!” Well, I call this out at Facebook… again. I can’t really think anything else about a company whose business plan seems to be:

a. Create a great service with few downsides and great privacy control.
b. Sign up everyone and make your service indispensable.
c. Nibble a bit at people’s privacy in an opaque way.
d. When they don’t really notice or are too confused to understand, sell them all out!

Very soon, you see, even more of your information will be available for anyone, whether it be your stalker or your ex or your least favorite corporation, to see. Naturally, they say it’s to give you “a richer experience” but it would seem to me that it’s only a select group of executives getting richer. This week I saw a screening of the movie Tapped (I love documentaries and had seen another great one by that team, Who Killed the Electric Car) which is a heavy-handed but important look at all the damage that’s being done by the bottled water industry. The first third of the film is devoted to the town of Fryeburg, Maine and their fight against Nestle who is mining their town for Poland Spring water. So not only is the town losing a natural resource but it’s so someone else can profit. My friends, Facebook is Nestle and we are Fryeburg. Your information, of course, is the water.

But, honestly, that’s not what bothers me most as a private person who believed what was originally stated by Facebook: that my name, my picture, and my information would remain private. Now, you may say, why not just delete my account? And, in fact, that’s what people are saying all over the Internet. The blasé, “get over yourselves” comments fall into three categories:

a. Who cares if the world finds that picture of me playing beer pong shirtless?
b. It’s free! So shut up already and stop demanding things.
c. Just cut the cord. It’s not like you need Facebook to live.

So, let me answer you, “stop whining, Facebook users” people.

a. I’ll tell you who cares: your next employer. Or not, they probably won’t be your next employer. Or your ex. Or your current significant other’s ex. Or whomever! It’s my desire to be private. Maybe you don’t care but I do and guess what? We’re all different and that’s what makes the world a fun place. Not to mention, they told us our info would be private so whatever my reasons are, I expect them to honor that. That’s why I joined.

b. It’s not free, it has advertising. If I have to see all those ridonculous ads for Acai berries, then someone’s getting paid on the basis of my checking into Facebook several times a day.

c. I always use this description to get people to join Facebook, people who say, “what’s the point? I have other ways to communicate with people.” Well, I have other ways than the phone to communicate with people but yet I still have a phone. People, in 2010, Facebook is the phone and if you’re not on it, you’re Amish. It’s nice to be Amish, but I can’t really reach you unless I happen to be in rural Pennsylvania. When I have this conversation with people, I usually refer them to Farhad Manjoo’s excellent Slate piece, “Everyone else is on Facebook, Why Aren’t You?”. It states it all perfectly. In my world and in many of yours, if you’re not on Facebook, you’re cut off from friends, contacts, and careers.

So Facebook, now that you’ve made yourself the phone, now that you have expended lots of effort getting even people like my Luddite, privacy-crazed friend and my 73 year old aunt to join, now you’re going to sell us all out? What’s the opposite of that “Don’t Be Evil” philosophy?

Oh right.

Should you want to read more, including how to fix your settings as much as possible to not have people you don’t want getting their hands on your information, try these excellent resources:

Gawker: How to Restore Your Privacy On Facebook

Simplehelp: How to reclaim your privacy by disabling Facebook’s “Open Graph”

Protect Your Privacy, Opt Out of Facebook’s New Instant Personalization

Depeche Mode – Shame

In the absence of a replacement for Napster’s free streaming links, I’m going for the time being with a link to the Amazon page for that song. It’s only a 30 second snippet but on the plus side, you can buy it if you like it.


I hate you so much right now!

Filed under : Depeche Mode,Rants
On March 17, 2009
At 11:15 am
Comments :Comments Off

I’m just not really sure who “you” is/are.

Remember the name of the new Depeche Mode song, Wrong? You know what else is wrong? The way they dicked me over for tickets to their New York shows. I’m on both Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s alert lists plus signed up for the depeche mode dot com list, but I never received the presale password or any announcement of when the presale started. How did I find out? From my favorite Cure site, naturally. Ugh.

I didn’t find out there even was a presale until 45 minutes after it started and then had to waste a few precious minutes searching for the password. I finally found it and bought a ticket even though the location sucked. Then, the regular seats went on sale a week later and even though I logged on at 10am and two seconds, there were already no decent seats left. By about 10:20, after much fruitless searching, North of the City and I had decided to wait till they added another show (there were several free nights after the announced show so we were pretty sure they would). Little did we know, they’d decide to add it a few minutes later and announce it NOWHERE. I happened to discover it existed twelve hours after the fact from a comment on brooklynvegan (I either have to read brooklynvegan more often or less often).

What the FUCK? This is one of those moments where I can’t decide whether it would be more satisfying to sue someone or kill someone.

I’m writing this at 11:30pm and I’m going to let this post sit till morning. Let’s see if I’m still this angry!

Edited @11am to add: still livid today! On the plus side, there are several things I’m even angrier about so it’s been pushed down the list. Lucky I have the thought of future DM concerts to comfort me.

Title comes from:
Kelis – Caught Out There