Read About John Writing

Ugh, it’s an absolute blogging disgrace how infrequently I’ve been posting.  What can I say, the responsibilities of meatspace are just too great these days!  So instead of trying to make excuses (like hello, I just moved) and come up with something clever to post, let me direct your attention to someone else’s blog.  My friend John has recently embarked on an excellent adventure.  In his own words:

For reasons that are still beyond me, I’ve decided to quit my steady job in the worst economic climate I’ve seen in my lifetime, pull up stakes, and write for four months. Five hours a day, seven days a week, a hundred and twenty days. A major change of lifestyle; call it a sharp right turn.

So John is off in Mexico at the moment, borrowing a friend’s flat and writing a book.  Oh, and eating tacos and blogging about it too.  To make a lame metaphorical connection to the tree falling in the woods: in this day and age, if a man goes off to write for 4 months without blogging about it, can we say it really happened?

He’ll be posting some of his writing soon so I encourage you to bookmark it and follow his progress!  He’s off to Cape Cod after this (part of his couchsurfing grand tour) so I have to say, the life of a writer ain’t all that bad.

John taking a sharp right in Mexico
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Truck On!

Niiice.  Finally, an iPhone app that helps me zero in on a nearby food truck!  The free app called StreetEats lets me know which vendors are out and about based on my location.  Makes life easier since going onto Twitter to follow each one individually and deciphering their coordinates is kind of a pain when you’re standing on a freezing NYC sidewalk, craving food off a truck.  I see already that our friends over at the Bistro Truck, Treats Truck, Van Leeuwen, Wafels & Dinges, and Cravings are all participating–so heck yeah, sign me up!

Not Beautiful Enough After Holidays

Hilarious article in the Guardian a couple days ago about people getting kicked off the online dating site BeautifulPeople.com after gaining too much weight over the holidays.  The website was started in 2002 in Denmark (where the average height of adults is 6 feet!) and not surprisingly, Brits and Americans have had a pretty tough go of it compared to majestic Scandinavians and Brazilians.  Of the over 5,000 people who got voted off the site by other users for having overindulged during the holidays, Americans comprised 1,520 followed by 832 Brits.  It’s obnoxious but also pretty brilliant from  a PR standpoint!  The funniest quote from the article is by the site’s founder Robert Hintze: “Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which BeautifulPeople.com was founded.”  All I have to say is I’m hitting the gym tomorrow for the first time since early December.  My Omron scale which measures body fat percentage is not happy.

Tricks of the Devil

Mass: We Pray's Controller
Mass: We Pray's Wii-like Controller

Holy crap!  Or shall I say holy marketing genius?!  I was dumbfounded when I saw this website advertising what appears to be a new Wii-like game called “Mass: We Pray” that simulates church services.  “After all, a family shouldn’t have to wait until Sunday to worship the Lord,” says the voice-over in the Snuggie-like infomercial that beggars belief.  It claims to be developed a Boston-based company called Prayer Works Interactive and the site features a whole gallery of images from this virtual church experience.  A press release about this game went out a couple of days ago, pitching it as “a revolutionary videogame that allows families to go to church every day from the comfort of their own home.”

Of course, if like most normal people you are blown away by the idea of this game even existing, you are likely to click on one of the site’s other buttons for more information or to see an up-close image of this ridiculous crucifix-shaped controller.  And just like that you are made to realize that OMG, you have just been marketed to by Electronic Arts for their upcoming videogame Dante’s Inferno!!!! Suddenly you are faced with a message calling you a heretic for taking part in a Mass not celebrated by an ordained priest, and told you will burn in the 6th circle of hell.  Then, with a damning touch of banality, you’re asked to enter your birth date to watch a trailer of Dante’s Inferno and then share it on Facebook.  Did they really just go there? Yeah, I think they did.  A lot of people are gonna be pissed off — but a hell of a lot more people are gonna go buy this game next February.  Marketing is the devil’s work!

Ghetto Gourmet

I am totally in awe of this new cookbook, Cookin’ with Coolio, which, according to the Village Voice, REALLY DOES EXIST.  From the Voice:

Chapters are titled “It’s Hard Out Here for a Shrimp,” “Appetizers for that Ass,” and “Salad-Eatin’ Bitches.” Salt is not measured in teaspoons, but doled out in “dime bags.” Chicken isn’t carved into breasts, but “breastesses.” The pantry is the “pimptry.”

WOW.  I had no idea that Coolio (of “Gangster’s Paradise” fame) had been cooking in online webisodes on My Damn Channel.  Leveraging social media to get a book deal!  Sound familiar?  So entrepreneurial.  God, I love this country.

Coolio interview here.

Last Night: Robin Hood’s FEED NYC Benefit

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Sister Mary Alice @ Robin Hood Foundation's FEED NYC Benefit
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Blurry Tweet: Suite 2046 in the house!
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Robin Hood goes VIRAL

Last night’s benefit for Robin Hood Foundation‘s Food for Good program in conjunction with FreshDirect was their first ever viral event and it was a rocking success with a huge turnout at the cavernous M2.  Over a thousand people showed up and there were laptops set up to connect people directly to FreshDirect’s donation page.  Lots of Twitter action leading up to and during the event, with posts being projected up on big screens.

Many more people still need to be fed for the holidays so please go online and make your donation now!  Then follow up by sharing it with at least 5 friends to spread the goodness.  Props to the host committee for a great event, and very happy birthday wishes to Sister Mary Alice who turned 70 yesterday (and has been feeding hungry New Yorkers for decades).  Check out my old blog post on the program for more info.

TIWYF Eat N’ Tweet a Sweet Success!

Fierce competition today in the TIWYF Eat N’ Tweet Food Truck Challenge!  Nick McGlynn won after coming armed with a Vespa, GPS and of course, Twitter.  Another motivated couple were biking their way from truck to truck, not even waiting for the @tiwyf Twitter feed to announce the special or location!  But we were probably MOST blown away by competitive eater Will Millender (a.k.a. @bigwillthechamp) who came in SECOND while doing the contest on foot!  WOW!  Now that’s the competitive spirit.  Thanks to everyone who participated in the challenge — and remember, even though the winner has been announced, the TIWYF Specials are available all day long until selling out!

Thanks again to the six incredible food trucks who rocked it today with their heartstoppingly delicious delights!  Also, a big shout out to Kayoko of UMAMIMART and Zach of Midtown Lunch for their awesome coverage and support!

Wafels and Dinges
Wafels & Dinges - Ultimate Wafel Ice Cream Sandwich
Cupcake Stop TIWYF
Big Will at the Cupcake Stop ordering the Cinnamon Roll Cupcake
Yassir Bistro Truck
Yassir of the Bistro Truck serving up his Big Mouth Bistro Burger
Big Mouth Bistro Burger TIWYF
TIWYF Special: Big Mouth Bistro Burger
Nick McGlynn at Cravings Truck
Nick McGlynn eating the Cravings Mash-Up @ The Cravings Truck
Super Duper Dessert Nachos
Super Duper Dessert Nachos by The Treats Truck
Kim Ima Treats Truck
Kim Ima of the Treats Truck rocks the Dessert Nachos
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Truck
Van Leeuwen Team & their Decadent Michel Cluizel Brownie Sundae

SeeClickFix in 25,000 Markets

seeclickfix-brooklyn

Was alerted via Zach Frechette’s recent post on the Good Magazine blog that SeeClickFix announced having launched in 25,000 markets!  Pretty spectacular, considering its humble origins in New Haven not too long ago.  If you’re not yet familiar with SeeClickFix, you should be.  It’s an awesome web-based tool for improving communities that  empowers anyone to become an engaged citizen.  If you see any non-emergency problem like a pothole or crumbling building facade, you can take a picture of it with your phone and immediately report it to the people capable of fixing it.  In the case of my neighborhood, for example, some of the recent reported complaints include overflowing trash bins and FedEx trucks parked in bike lanes.  Both Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President, as well as FedEx’s Complaints Hotline are getting these alerts via SeeClickFix.  Issues that affect the community are resolved publicly, in a completely transparent fashion–by the people, for the people!  Go Ben Berkowitz & team!  You guys rock.

Twitter Not for Teens Says Lone Teen

Gotta laugh out loud over this article from the Guardian regarding Morgan Stanley’s decision to publicize a report by their 15 year-old intern.  Described as “one of the clearest and most thought-provoking insights we have seen,” by Morgan’s Edward Hill-Wood in a report by the Financial Times, the intern’s analysis includes a scathing criticism of Twitter as pointless for teens as they quickly realize nobody is reading their updates and they’d rather spend their cellphone credits texting their friends.  I’ve got my own reservations about Twitter as I’ve blogged about before, but regardless of whether I agree with this intern or not, it’s pretty ridiculous that his analysis is being held up as something worthy of influencing major investment decisions.  At the very least it must be acknowledged that a 15 year-old who has an internship at Morgan Stanley is hardly representative of average teens.

Nevertheless I admit I’m secretly a bit chuffed that these phantom ‘teens’ supposedly share my rather renegade opinion (well, renegade for someone working in marketing in NYC anyway!) that Twitter will soon be outed as being pointless for most people, and will become the sole domain of obsessive self-promoters, bored people stuck at home with pets and young children, and revolutionaries living in countries where traditional media outlets aren’t allowed.  I know, I know, don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!  But believe me I’ve done my research — interviewing my many intelligent and impressive Twittering friends about what drives them to ‘tweet’ (god, strike this horrid word out of our vocabulary, please!) all day and night, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it basically comes down to boredom, peer pressure, and the promise of fame.  Hmm…wait a minute, I’m contradicting myself.  If those are the main drivers, then I guess Twitter will be going strong for decades to come?  Oy!

kill twitter