Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bike Hero - Viral Marketing or Not, It's Impressive

In preparation of my first full Guitar Hero World Tour Band playdate this weekend, checkout this video called "Bike Hero." Even if it's likely part of Guitar Hero's marketing campaign, it's a great viral video. The premise is this guy charted the chords for "Prisoner of Society" on the roads and sidewalks of his neighborhood. He then rode over the path with his bike that had LCD lights timed to blink as he hit the notes. He added things like note streaks, star power activation, and a full-size Lars during the ride. Enjoy.

Even if it's not homemade, it's still awesome.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

NIH Drivers And Turn Signals Don't Play Well Together

I make my way down Route 29, the Beltway, and Old Georgetown Road five times a week at roughly the same time. Though there are too many cars for me to remember the person I cutoff last week or the driver who rode his brakes, I can count on a regular traffic pattern. Outside of an accident, I know when to expect backups, slowdowns, and idiots who ride exit lanes only to cut over at the last minute.

The NIH campus is full of smart people, so why can't they use a turn signal?

Among the most egregious violators during every drive are those turning left into NIH from Old Georgetown Road. I'll admit this isn't the worst driving offense. It's more of an annoyance and minor safety hazard. The violators will appear to brake for no logical reason, only to then make their way over to the left-turn only lane. There is no warning. I just ask that they use a turn signal so I don't feel the need to expunge road rage built-up over the previous 40 minutes of driving.

To help researchers arrive safely, let's be careful when turning off of Old Georgetown Road.

Does it really matter that I miss a light or get honked at because a NIHer decided to take their sweet old time getting over and not giving anyone a head's up that they're turning left? Outside of being a few minutes later to work, it doesn't stop the earth from spinning, but it is a safety hazard. Okay, a minor safety hazard. Though I expect and prepare for these non-signalers, others may not be so lucky.

Three entrances off of 187 are three left turn signal deadzones.

Having to slowdown without reasonable notice or caution is unsafe. This is not a situation with unfamiliar drivers making last-minute decisions to changes lanes and turn left. At 7:15 in the morning, we're all locals and we all know the roads. I guess part of knowing the roads is expecting NIHers to fail a basic driving test requirement of turn signal usage.

For the good of traffic flow toward downtown Bethesda and in an effort to practice safer driving, please NIHers, don't be scared to use your turn signal.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And You Play Music While Pumping Gas Because?

Perhaps it's a sign that I've become a crotchety old man before 30 years of age, but why do people feel the need to play music while pumping gas? This goes beyond loud speakers and bass vibrations that I can only hope loosens their wheel nuts enough to give them a hilarious 3-wheeled car. As documented many times, I am not about to be a music critic, but even I know the music often sucks.

Just because you bought expensive audioware doesn't mean that I want to hear it.

There's no way that hearing the music is so important that y0u just have listen to it all the time. Would it kill you to turn it off? Are you looking to win over someone's affection because the music is even louder with your door open so its speakers are heard too? It's not like anyone is looking to dance at their gas pumps.

My time at a gas station could be a lot funnier.

I don't understand the need or purpose of killing your battery just to play your jams. Of course, I'm being kind here, giving the benefit of the doubt that you do have your engine turned off. The other day by the beltway and Wisconsin Avenue, someone was pumping gas and powering their awful music with their engine. I'm pretty sure that that's a big safety hazard. Idiot.

So that's why there's no self service in New Jersey!

These bastions of noise pollution must be aware of how loud their symphony of gobbledygook is to everyone quietly pumping their gas. I don't understand why there's a need to make everyone else aware of your music preference. Windows and doors were made to give us audible privacy, yet these gas station DJs see their opening to annoy everyone.

Playing music is annoying, but it's not this stupid. I love how this guy keeps pumping after the car goes bye-bye.

Perhaps the music wouldn't be so loud if I took the flammable liquid readily at my disposal to destroy their subwoofers. Now that sounds great to me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New York Giants Gameday Experience In 22 Pictures & 2 Videos

Have you ever had the kind of day when you take mental snapshots of the moment, the people, and the place because you know how rare these moments are? Events like a graduation, newborn's first day, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and confirmation are to be remembered (except when my voice cracked during my Torah portion). They are all well and good, but I'm talking about non-scheduled events that surpass your wildest expectations. I had such a day with my dad last weekend.

Last Sunday, after the Father cracked the piggy bank for tickets, he and I went to the Giants/Cowboys game at the Meadowlands. After I drove the 3.5 hours from Maryland on Saturday, it was a 20-minute drive from my parents' home because they still live in a B and T Crowd zip code. We arrived early to soak-up the atmosphere and get a feel for what season ticket holders go through each game. After this experience, we certainly had had our fill.

As the following 22 (out of 120) pictures and 2 (out of 4) videos attest, we saw everything, did everything, and had the preeminent father-son day.

Now that's some serious beef!

This was the classiest tailgate spread we found...tablecloths, bottles of wine, martini glasses, rack of lamb, cheese, and crackers.

The new Giants Stadium; unnecessary, except that it's a guaranteed moneymaker with more luxury suites and $20,000 personal seat licenses.

Parking lots open five hours before kickoff, but gates don't open for another three hours, creating long porta-potty lines.

The Giants' practice bubble had some fan activities. It was nice to be out of the sun and feel some high-quality artificial turf.

So you're telling me if I want to kick field goals in my house, I need this much ceiling clearance? Note that this unit doesn't have the Baltimore Extension.

I will find every Guitar Hero experience and chicken out from playing because some kid gets 5 stars on the expert level just before me.

It was a beautiful fall day...until the sunset and temperatures dropped.

We may have walked over Jimmy Hoffa.

This is either an artsy picture of engineering or another sign of New Jersey's industrial complex.

No mezzanine escalator for us...lower tier all the way!

Another artsy photo or sad attempt at reminding you that we took the lower escalator?

I'm one year older than Eli, yet here I am writing a blog and he's a Super Bowl winning QB. Where did my parents go wrong?

The players are so much bigger up close.

How do NFL QBs throw the ball over 60 yards and hit the receiver in stride? Oh that's right, they've sacrificed their entire lives to make it this far. Thank you Eli.

It's a bird, it's a plane, no it's the hi-end zone cam!

Seats 13 and 14, also known as 49.5- and 50-yard line seats. It was a tight fit with everyone in their winter coats. Note the empty chicken wing baskets...the only non-fried food offered. You're allowed to bring food in, but that's not the true experience.

If you listen closely amid the poor quality video, you'll hear the voice of the greatest Father in the world.

Did I mention we were at the 50 and could see everything?

I made the mistake of getting my dad a cup of coffee during halftime only to battle a packed concourse that stood still. The new stadium should alleviate this problem, that is if you can afford tickets.

Bottles of soda and water are served cap-free so that caps don't become projectiles? I'd much rather throw a bottle than a cap anyway, to protest carbonation loss.

Yep, that's $10 for pulled pork or beef brisket from a stand in the stadium concourse. So classy.

Yep #2, that's $8 for a beer and $4.25 for water.

It's hard to complain when you see seven touchdowns, enjoy a convincing victory by the Giants, and experience it all with daddy.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Redskins Game To Decide The President...Again?

If you want to know the most reliable way to predict the winner of Tuesday's Presidential election, don't worry about polls and their many flaws, worry about the winner of Monday night's Redskins/Steelers game.

The Redskins are favored by 2 points, but it's the straight-up winner that matters every four years.

For 17 of the last 18 Presidential elections, when the Redskins win their final home game before the election, the incumbent party's candidate also wins; when the Redskins lose their final home game, the challenging party's candidate unseats the incumbent party's candidate.

Obama is favored to win by 104 to 128 electoral votes; just wait until the game's outcome before making your final bet.

Of course, the first time that this didn't hold was 2004, so we're either at the start of a new coincidence or that was just a (very close) bump in the road.

Knowing this predictor, who do you want to win the game?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I Can't Escape My NJ Driving Stereotypes

This afternoon, amid 70-degree weather in Maryland, I drove to the land of this blog's name. I'm in the NYC suburbs to enjoy tomorrow's 4:15 Giants/Cowboys game (in person!) with my daddy. I've made the drive between MD and NJ countless times, yet I've never been able to escape NJ stereotypes along the Turnpike.

When I'm far from my DC/Baltimore radio presets, I become a lonely ship captain trying every frequency for a glimmer of human contact. Scanning FM, and even AM stations is a tiresome exercise; there's nothing to listen to.Often, the most reliable signal is the NJ Turnpike Authority's looping reminder to buckle seat belts.

NJ license plate? Check. NJ stereotypical modus operandi? Check.

Because NYC radio stations aren't reliable until I'm north of exit 7, I'm forced to listen to the hodgepodge of southern Jersey classic rock. It's either that or the wind. I lose no matter. Call it the Turnpike Dilemma.

I recognize that I'm traveling in southern and central Jersey, but must every radio station play the same songs on the way to my parents' house? If you have passengers, make bingo cards to play along while you scan for something first played in the last 15 years. Because nothing released in the last 15 years makes it to air, checkoff songs from the following: Bruce Springsteen (of course), Bon Jovi (still stereotypical), and Billy Joel (if only for his references to the NJ suburbs).

Don't hate on NJ's jughandles...they just make sense.

Every drive this way includes at least two songs from those three artists as well as a few from Journey and Fleetwood Mac. Either the stations haven't played anything new in 15 years or southern and central residents along the Turnpike don't know any better. No matter, this afternoon's drive included (and I wish I was making this up):
  • Fleetwood Mac: "You Can Go Your Own Way" and "Landslide."
  • Bon Jovi: "Livin' On A Prayer" and "It's My Life." I realize this was released in the last 10 years, but Bon Jovi's act hasn't changed and this is just more of the same.
  • Billy Joel: "It's Still Rock And Roll To Me" and "Piano Man."
  • Bruce Springsteen: "Born To Run" and "Glory Days."

My sister and I don't represent these stereotypes, but they're alive and well.

Just when I'm in range for NYC stations, with their better signals and songs that don't reinforce NJ stereotypes, I catch the end of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" while smelling the chemical tanks seen in the opening credits on The Sopranos.

Yep, some of my homestate's stereotypes will never die.