Saturday, February 28, 2009

Something To Consider

Simply put, networks generate revenue through advertisements. Cable networks, on the other hand, have the advantage of also collecting subscriber fees. Wonder why your cable bill is $150? Three dollars are going to ESPN, $1.50 to Comedy Central and so forth. Given this model, it's no wonder why networks have to rely heavily on reality programming and take a huge blow when the Grammys or Oscars fail to produce strong ratings (fortunately more people are watching TV this year than ever before).

This NYTimes article is worth a read

Friday, February 27, 2009

Crazy Ass Fish

It's a little too late in the night and too late in my education to adequately explain the science behind this, but check out this wonder of science called the barreleye fish. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, the fish's "unusual eyes can rotate within a transparent shield that covers the fish's head. This allows the barreleye to peer up at potential prey or focus forward to see what it is eating."

Scroll down the MBARI page for video

Facebook's Future

On the heels of leaked reports of Facebook's valuation (Estimated at $3.7 billion), the hot topic du mois is whether or not the company can sustain its explosive growth given its current business model. Every 1 million new users Facebook signs up requires $1 million in server and maintenance costs. At the current rate of 5 million new users per week, many are wondering how the internet darling expects to get out of the red as it surges forward.

Recently, Facebook has undertaken some controversial measures that have its users and consumer watchdog groups up in arms. Simply put, Facebook has formed partnerships with companies such as Microsoft to collect and disseminate user information (such as preferences of music, TV shows, activities, etc.) to created targeted ads. A Consumerist expose blew the lid on a stealth change in Facebook’s terms of service, which basically stated Facebook owns users information even after they cancel their account. CEO Mark Zuckerbrg responded to the outcry by encouraging users to help shape a Facebook Bill of Rights in its terms of service.

Despite the PR headache of putting consumers’ privacy at risk, the reality is Facebook needs advertising revenue to survive. But when was the last time you have clicked on a Facebook ad (excluding accidents)? And of all of the two times you did click on the ad, how many resulted in an actual purchase? Unlike the glossy spreads between magazine articles or catchy hooks in newspapers, internet users have been raised to mistrust online advertisements. Users are reluctant to click on a link that could mislead, steal private information, or infect their computers with spyware or viruses. While Facebook ads aren't going anywhere (if anything, expect them to expand in scope and type), it may not be such a bad idea for the company to consider a subscription service.

While some users will presumably suspend their accounts in protest and others in reluctance to spend, most users are far too ingrained in the service to give it up for a nominal annual fee. The likely criticism of a subscription service is that users will be asked to pay for something that was always free. Furthermore, Facebook's popularity grew through the grassroots, with an illusion that profitability was the company's secondary concern.

But in a new era of transparency and accountability, Zuckerberg should level with his customers and explain the trade-off between intrusive advertisements and subscriptions. Continuing the ruse that Facebook can grow its business without sacrifice from its users may not cripple the business. Life on Facebook will continue and people will continue to sign up in droves. But if Zuckerberg wants to avoid the public relations fate of the Walmarts of the world, he should consider a different direction.

UPDATE: Facebook's poorly performing ad click rate of .04% (thanks, Simon)

Introducing: The Other Brian

So for once I thought having the name “Brain Bonis (pronounced Bonus)” was going to help me in the Corporate world…..(and yes….some low paid gov’t employee admin back in 1981 was snoozing at the typewriter when she typed ‘BRAIN’ instead of Brian on my birth certificate).

[ed. note: I know the feeling]

In 2003, I attended the typical corny customer service training. I was new to these kindergarten-imitating-corporate training sessions and was nervous to speak in front of an intimidating blend of peers and executives.

So we have our name tags, icebreakers, and complimentary pen gifts. After a day and a half of useless acronyms and (non-sexual) role playing, we get to the big finale, and I , luckily, had managed to go the entire session without having to speak.

The big finale is a Win, Lose, or Draw game where a team member receives a card and has to make the audience guess the customer service related word. All teams are tied and, of course, the final Drawer is chosen to be me in the decisive tie-breaking round.

I get my two-worded card. I start pointing to myself (the first word is Bonus). No one knows me, the room is silent, and so I begin drawing dollar signs and finally someone screams “BONUS!” I jump for joy and begin drawing the second word. I spin the Crayola marker in circles and people are guessing aloud, “Circle! Ball!” and finally, “Round!!”

YESSSS!! I win!! Under the pressure, under the gun, I impress the executives and successfully have them guess the two-worded card, “BONUS ROUND”!!!!

I see the facilitator take a knee, turn purple, so hysterical that he can’t gasp a breath! What happened? What’s wrong?? The facilitator tells me to look down at the card. I had made my co-workers guess the title of the round, and below, in the large font, was the real word to be drawn, “Attentive”.

Kermit Bale

Look-a-likes: Credit to

Cute Things Falling Asleep

Awwww click for babies, kittens, puppies and all that good stuff.

Introducing Kate

So yesterday I was skipping merrily along extremely pleased with both myself and the $6.99 bottle of sparkling wine that my boss' lesbian sister had sent to him via the US Postal Service for Christmas when I came to a depressing realization. I am the personification of cheap champagne.

Think about it. It is actually shocking it took me so long to reach this conclusion. It seems like a good idea at the time. Gives the illusion of being fun and fancy (as I am usually overdressed). Until the next day when you wake up with a mind splitting headache wanting to vomit, thinking "Well I won't be doing that again." Basically this boils down to the following.....

Kate = Andre (**the cold duck variety, I don't think I qualify as a brut)

Introducing: New Jersey Nick

So today I went to lunch and I stopped at the near by McDonald's because I'm poor and Catholic. This week was the beginning of Lent, which means no meat on Fridays. This is despite the fact I don't attend church, lust after every mans wife, lie, use God's name in vain, and am pretty sure I [Snuggie] with myself more then anyone. I still don't eat meat during lent, and since I'm poor and our country is going to hell, I decided to go eat a filet o' fish sandwich for $3 minus the cheese.

Anyway some young kids on bikes, maybe 14 or 15, were smoking cigs near the drive-thru lane. It really brought me back to the days of when I was a child and TV used to scare the crap out of me with PSAs featuring famous celebs. No one was more influential in scaring the nicotine out of me than the Ultimate Warrrrrrrior

Who would going to go near a cig after seeing that maniac? What we didn't know back then is that the Warrior was so coked and roided up that he was just probably eating cigarettes to give his jaw a chew toy. I guess my point is that there are no more corny, "I learned it from watching you Dad"-type PSAs anymore. The days of interrupting Uncle Jesse life lessons with the Warrior going ape shit have given way to commercial kids trapped in a weed cocoon. A weed cocoon that looks more comfortable than a Snuggie, I might add.

NJ Nick

The Icebreaker: Starring Jason

So yesterday we had this corporate training.
There are like 80 of us and there's an ice breaker,
so we make a big circle shoulder to shoulder with a
sticker in front of our feet.

Okay, so "musical chairs"- one person in middle
and the person in the middle says "move if you are
wearing black."

So everyone wearing black moves and so on...
most were the regular things
own a dog blah blah...
then this one girl in middle goes,
"Move if you have seen RuPaul's Drag Race."

But it's ok because he's flaming
and everyone giggles and laughs,
but then he's like, "Move if you're adopted."
what a jerk
and i'm the only one obviously that reluctantly steps into the middle
and everyone is super quiet
it was pretty annoying i got called out
and then someone goes....'oooh that was risky'


New video for Jamie Foxx's "Blame It", featuring a hodge-podge of cameos

Hey sneakerheads: The top 10 basketball shoes of all time

Must-read New Yorker profile of Rahm Emanuel

Dlisted reports on the remaking of my childhood

Andy Richter returns to Conan!

A Hearing test

Misogynist Print Ads

9 Misogynist Print Ads

A Letter From Jason's Mom

Dear Jason,

Dad and I had a talk this morning, remembering our conversation with Ben. We believe that Ben brought up that there are a lot of gay in SF, but we said we heard about 40%. Then, I DID SAY, "I don't think Jason is gay, he is to much a sports jock, gym and golf. Ha Ha" It was a joke, as we all laughed and agreed.

So how Ben could get that to Emile and Emile twist it to a total other think as "I think you are gay is absurd. He is absurd. It only shows they are still kids, school kids; no growing up at all yet that much. When they get out and work like real people, they will know what it is really like. I damn both the boys for carrying a simple conversation meaning no harm, to that level, all the way across the country. I won't talk to any of them for sure, for sure! I'll just keep it to the adults I am friends with.

You are still my son, who I love no matter what, handicapped, speechless, injured, gay, not gay,
or blind.


The Dukie Shuffle


The Forwarder

The One-Upper

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A conversation

Kate: did i tell you about the guy from the sunburnt cow that night
that you came out with us
me: no
Kate: ha oh my god
do you remember that british guy that was talking ot me
me: nope
Kate: well anyway he like wouldnt leave me alone
3:42 PM and i was ignoring him and being bitchy as usual and to entertain myself making weird faces at this guy sitting across the bar
me: haha i dont remember this brit at all
Kate: ha well i kept accusing him of talking in a fake accent and telling him to stop bc i found it extremely irritating
3:43 PM and he was like what do you mean this is my voice and i kept being like i dont believe you, go away
ha so i finally end up leaving and he corners me for my phone number
and i was like oh my god leave me alone
but just gave it to him so he'd shut up
3:44 PM and i left
and he comes running out of the bar chasing after me and my roommates
me: did he call
Kate: bc he thought i had given him the wrong number
and goes up to aylin
and double checks my number with her
and when he found out i had given him the right number
does that like thing where he punches the air and screams yes
me: oh my god
Kate: so he texts me like a few days later
3:45 PM and is like hey its angus (ew on the name...all i think of is that fat kid from the movie angus)
the guy that chased you out of the sunburnt cow want to get a drink this week
and i was like no im not here im around next week
3:46 PM but i kept blowing him off
Kate: so i never ended up going out with him


This topic is as tired as my grandma, but I've noticed a little
conspiracy going on in the Mac world. As a PC user, I'm obviously A) jealous and B) poor, but one there is one glaring difference that cannot be ignored any longer:

Mac users will go to great lengths to hide their computers problems, whereas PC users will be more than forthcoming.

Through a unscientific poll with a sample size of about 5, I have
determined that just about every Mac user who has owned their laptop for over 1 year is experiencing some malfunction or another. Maybe your little power magnet's pole switched from North to South. Or maybe your Safari has been infected with Malaria. That's not really the issue. The issue is that every Mac user is now and forever bound to a lifetime of sticking with the Apple brand. Reverting back to a PC is like going back to college to get a degree in sociology- in other words, an admission of failure. Admitting any shortcoming or inefficiency isn't just a blow to a psyche, but a rather blow to an entire brand whose reputation is as pearly white as its monitors.

Therefore, Mac users will go to great lengths to safeguard the reputation of their beloved brand by minimizing the use of us outsiders. Rarely are us plebes allowed to do more than select the next track on the Mac user's iTunes playlist. Venture out to another colorful and bouncy icon at your own risk. If you struggle, don't think for a minute that it will be attributed to anything other than your ineptitude understanding the Fisher-Price easy Mac, idiot.

Now no one is doubting the superiority of a Mac Book over a Vista infested HP. I curse my computer every day, from it's buffering to it's overheating of my "lap". But I take pride preempting every time I hand off my computer to someone else with, "Just so you know, my computer sucks." The sooner Mac users can admit their computers are not the infallible overlords we are made to believe, the sooner we will stop hating them.

A) & B)


Since no one will be reading this mess of a blog any time soon, I will take this time to introduce myself. If you couldn't guess by now my name is Brian and I'm using this platform to prove I have friends. I have so many brilliant thoughts to share, but why waste them on this site? Instead I will post half-baked Seinfeldian observations, invention ideas that I have neither the knowledge or motivation to follow-through on, and a healthy dose of politics, technology, sports, and entertainment.

But the real goal of this site is to get perspectives from friends around the country. People from NYC, DC, Philly, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans, to name a few, will all share their thoughts and anecdotes about whatever they want to talk about in their neighborhood or in their maladjusted minds.
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