Event: NYC eco-friendly schmoozing

For anyone in the Manhattan area tomorrow, Green Drinks NYC — a small business that supports “social networking for global change” — will host an event (with free booze!) from 6-10pm. I embrace change that comes equipped with cocktails. See details below.

http://www.greendrinksnyc.com/

TUESDAY, Aug. 11th, 6-10pm at HUDSON TERRACE (621 W 46th Street between 11th and 12th Ave). $15 in advance HERE until noon, $20 at the door. Environmentally conscious New Yorkers will be able to network with a vibrant green community of leaders and thinkers over food, organic drink specials, giveaways, and speakers. 2-for-1 drink specials from 6-8PM. All guests will receive a complimentary organic cocktail and will have the opportunity to bid on a custom, single speed bike from Brooklyn Bike and Board in a silent auction.

These magic moments

Week in review, from Monday, Aug. 3 – Monday, Aug. 10:

Thumbs-up go to:

1. The Yankees’ four-game sweep of the Red Sox and David Ortiz holding a press conference on his alleged steroid use. Do I smell the beginning of a Yankee renaissance? Maybe if I can forget that they lost their first 8 games against the Sox this season…

…and that A-Roid had his own steroid scandal already and just generally sucks as a human being…

…and that the Yanks built and opened a new $1.5 billion stadium during a recession with nearly half the ticket prices hovering between $100-$2,500. PER TICKET. The Associated Press breaks it down nicely in this article from a while back.

But I do have a bad memory, so who knows how much I’ll be able to forget.

2. Former President Bill Clinton helps spring American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee laura-lingfrom captivity in Korea, where they had been held for 4 1/2 months. Best news I’ve heard in a while. The story also shines an interesting spotlight on the journalists’ employer, “interactive news source” Current TV.

This brainchild of Al Gore and Joel Hyatt has been around in some form since 2005; it focuses on enterprise (i.e. investigative and/or feature) reporting by young journalists, but also incorporates movie reviews, a “Talk Soup”-style show and user-generated content. Never heard of it? Me neither. Today’s top stories included an “in-depth podcast analysis” on whether or not The Hurt Locker is the greatest war movie ever made. (Is it? I haven’t seen this, or every war movie, yet.) Current TV was, however, where I found out about the new White House Reality Check, a website launched today by the Obama administration to debunk myths circulating about the latest health care bill. Very useful — I tend to prefer information to misinformation. Though admittedly, the White House videos weren’t as colorful as all that weekend coverage of protesters at “town hall meetings” carrying signs of Obama sporting a Hitler ‘stach. Oh, those protesters and their Photoshop. Nothing like a good old-fashioned American debate! (to send you running to Canada…)

Thumbs-down goes to:

1. “Skinny Jeans Workouts” in NYC, as reported here by CNN medical reporter Val Willingham. People take these classes to strengthen their core and fit into their jeans. Know what that’s usually called? EXERCISE. Go for a run and do some crunches, and you have a skinny jean workout! Or take this bit of advice: if skin-tight denim pants don’t fit, DON’T WEAR THEM.

They are made for teenagers, people with 5% body fat and no muscle, and Audrey Hepburn. 2006_10_audrey

Making a bid for land lines

Had a conversation this weekend about the disappearance of telephone land lines — do they face extinction, as some claim the newspaper, magazine and book do? Or will they always be around, with rotary phones offering endless hours of kitsch entertainment for grandkids? Consider first how heavily The New Media generation (I’m trying out taglines for people in their 20s) relies on cell phones. If someone does have a land line, only their parents call them on it. Or maybe they use it to let the pizza guy into the apartment building. Whatever the function, it appears extraneous.

Until your cell phone stops working. It’s like having a kidney stop working — you can’t process anything. I’m currently in the middle of an AT&T wireless maelstrom: My cell won’t work in my apartment, in the apartment building, or within a four-block radius of the building. Trust me, I’ve been testing it. I’m literally taking my phone for walks. For someone who works from home, this is beyond annoying. I can miraculously call the 611 helpline, where a very chipper man says he’ll gladly assist me…as long as I provide the last four digits of my father’s social security number. (I’m on a family plan.) Mmmkay, maybe I don’t have that. Can’t you just look at the motherboard and tell me if a cell tower is down?

So now I long for a land line. Land lines are reliable. If the power goes out, you can still make phone calls as you make hot dogs on your gas stove. (Please don’t make me explain what a gas stove is.) If there’s a terrorist attack, land lines still work. If you drop your cell in a bowl of salsa, land lines still work. And if your home is suddenly plunged into the black hole of wireless service, a land line will still work.

What if I’m expecting an important call? What if there’s an emergency? I can’t get that call on my Skype. But I can get it on my rotary. rotary-phone

Will books and magazines and newspapers prove themselves as reliable as land lines and stick around for a while longer? I hope so. There’s something to be said for quality products.

Giddy about “Glee”

Though we have to wait until Sept. 16 for the official premiere of Glee — a one-hour TV show about a glee club trying to make it to nationals — I’m already convinced this will be one of the best premieres this fall. Aside from its funnier-than-High School Musical production numbers, it also stars veteran comedian and Best in Show alum Jane Lynch as a fairly psychotic cheerleading coach, and comes from “Nip/Tuck” creator Ryan Murphy.

The teaser episode aired months ago (you can watch it here), but host channel Fox just issued this clip to Hulu to keep its fans sated until September.

glee

(I’m a sucker for a good musical number.)

Too much of a good thing

It’s festival season in Seattle, which starts with the Fremont Fair on the first official day of summer and ends with three-day music fest Bumbershoot (Sept. 5-7). In between, it feels like there are more festivals than workdays, with every neighborhood taking turns hosting an extravaganza that gives sausage makers and beer vendors full-time work for three months.

Don’t get me wrong — I loved it in the beginning. Take a New Jersey transplant and drop them in the middle of a ‘Solstice Parade’ with naked bicyclists, and you’ll have her calling New York City “tame” by the end of the day. I didn’t go voyeur and take those pics, but here are a few of the rest of the parade:

But that was just the first festival. Soon, I found myself speaking in “fest” and scoffing at activities that weren’t free. Was there a beer garden? I wasn’t going. There was West Seattle SummerFest, Pride Fest, Seattle International Beer Fest (not to be confused with the Washington Brewers Fest), Kirkland Uncorked (wine fest!), Georgetown Artopia (art fest!), Bite of Seattle (food fest!), Ballard Seafood (fest!)…it was getting out of control. It was like everyone was offering free ice cream all the time, and I was going into diabetic shock.

But now that I’ve decided to learn some self control, the mother of all Seattle summer festivals rolls into town: Seafair. It’s essentially Fleet Week: West Coast, though when I mentioned Fleet Week to my boyfriend, he had no idea what I was talking about. I balked; he assured me not everyone knew that episode of “Sex and the City.”

This Fleet Week includes a Blue Angels show that grown men whine about missing, hydroplane races, fireworks, and a nighttime “Torchlight” parade complete with pirates firing blanks out of a cannon. (For an entire week prior to the parade, I thought someone was hunting birds or humans in my neighborhood because of those damn pirates and that damn cannon.)

So now I ask myself: do I give into Seafair? When does it stop? Which festivals should I actually attend?

And should I bemoan the fact that I missed these? (I swear they’re all real.)

Slug Fest, Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival, Viking Days, Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games and Clan Gathering…

At what point is free during a recession a bad thing?

Mediaite: “Corruption brings out best in New Jersey journalism”

Money-laundering rabbis. Corrupt New Jersey mayors taken away in handcuffs. Kidneys for sale at $160,000. If that doesn’t spark your interest in this story from the Jersey Shore, I don’t know what will.

And the people who told the story best, according to media blog Mediaite, were from two of my newspaper alma maters: The Star-Ledger and the Asbury Park Press. Click on those links to see their coverage.

There’s a nice Recession Renaissance morale to this story: Even though the Star-Ledger and APP have lost legions of staff members in the past year, the people who remain are still doing quality work. It’s stories like this that speak for why we still need local news bureaus (be it for print or online, or both) and the funds to support them. Mediaite sums it up nicely in its post “Corruption brings out the best in New Jersey journalism”:

“We are in an age where Twitter, blogs and social networks are the gateway by which breaking news gets distributed, but in this case, traditional news outlets won the day – not just for accurate reporting in real time of a complicated and quickly-moving story, but having the resources and institutional knowledge to put it all in context and connect those all-important dots. Yesterday, the New Jersey press lived up to the highest standard of journalism: they were reliable, and they were credible. In this age of insta-media, let’s not forget how much that matters.”

Tweet if you like pancakes

I don’t Twitter very well. I do it infrequently, regularly go over the 140 character limit, and my posts are typically dumbed-down versions of  my Facebook status. Seriously, what am I supposed to say? My news is not so newsworthy. I’m not a celebrity, so I know people don’t give a damn what I had for lunch. And when I “tweeted” about Michael Jackson, it felt like I had entered a competition — with no prize — to see who could come up with the wittiest way to say RIP.

What’s the point of me Twittering if I’m already emailing, Gchatting, Facebooking, and — no! — phone calling? Plus, I’ve never been comfortable with having “followers.” Does that mean if I started a cult, they’d have my back?

I understand Twitter’s place in the world, but I couldn’t figure out my place in the Twittosphere – until I read this article by Maisha Walker, a blogger for Inc. magazine. Turns out I’m better off just being one of “The Curious.” Read on…

Top Twitter Techniques (or 9 Good Excuses if you want to Ignore Twitter)

Finding the best the Great Recession has to offer