This entire website - minus, oh say..... I dont know, 400 some odd cruddy old posts - have moved to a more
professional, better quality, and most importantly, snazzier site!
Yes, you're right, the new site features my past greatest posts, without the awful ones, and all new
ones to come!
Come visit or I'll throw you into a vortex of lava for still being on this old site!
**The link actually works now. Enjoy!
Thursday, March 8, 2012
The Suffolk County Police raided Sachem North today with dogs in an effort to "sniff out" the drug users. To my knowledge, 1 child was arrested. What ever happened to calling a troubled kid down to guidance to find out why he turned to drugs in the first place? And what about parental intervention? Is this our new, brilliant strategy to keep kids off drugs? Unreal... I'm sure Suffolk County Jail will have its own form of education ready and waiting for him as he stumbles onto the pod tonight, clutching his rolled up mattress between his cuffs.
Monday, March 5, 2012
If you’ve ever traveled overseas, you probably have a good understanding of life outside the bustling and overrated country that we call home. But there’s one place that stands out, unique from the rest. This is the story of the island of Ventotene, Italy.
Growing up under my grandma’s roof, I have become very accustomed to many Italian traditions, foods and most importantly, attitudes. Let’s face it, Europeans are up front. You simply cannot be offended by their remarks. The best example of this is one summer day at West Meadow beach, the only suitable place to roller blade on Long Island. My mother, pregnant, and I were skating when our friendly European acquaintance Ivan, whom we only know from this particular beach, comes skating along. He abruptly says “Nadia! You’ve lost everything!” Any other person would have abruptly slapped him across the face, but growing up with Italian family, my mom was not, in any way, offended.
During the summer of 2010, my “training” was put to the test. I was going to Italy. At the time, my only experience in another country was in Croatia the year before where I was ridiculed and permanently scarred. I was in a small bar in some coastal city in Croatia when I took a Fanta out of the fridge and brought it to the counter. The man behind the counter babbled something first in Croatian, then in Italian, and finally in English. Once I could understand what he was saying, which was "left," he began to mock me by saying to his friend (in English, mind you), "One to the left, and one to the right,” or at least, that’s what I hope he was saying. His snickering made him sound like a 5 year old child. It turned out that he was making fun of the way I looked all around for the object that I finally figured out was a simple can opener. Lesson learned. For my trip to Italy, I wore flip flops that had a can opener on the bottom, to prevent that from ever happening to me again.My journey to Ventotene seemed long and drawn out, for Italians savor every moment, sometimes to the extreme. Everywhere we went, we had to wait. The line to board the plane, the trip across the Atlantic, the line to go through customs, the wait for our taxi driver (Bruno), the wait for the boat, and most eagerly, the wait for the boat to arrive. Once the plane landed, as in any flight with Italians, they all traditionally clap, as if they thought the plane was going to crash, which was not an absurd expectation after hearing the pilot turn his mic on, while he's playing Glee, shut it off and say "buona sera... Uhhhh......" and then return to his music, forgetting about the mic.
When we finally arrived on the island, I looked around in amazement. Initially, I was awestruck by the architecture, but as we walked to our villa, I learned that there is more to this island than that. The community that I encountered was nothing lass than a culture-shock. Instead of walking past the few dozen people we saw, as I would have in any other town I've ventured to, each and every person above the age of 40 stopped us, greeted us, and talked for a solid 3-5 minutes before going on their merry way. Anxious to explore, we cut the conversations short, and went on.
Once my cousin Cale and I finally hauled our luggage to the house, a hike that was torturous with my grandma's toiletries in tow, we were free to explore. Freedom in Ventotene has a whole new meaning. Here we were completely unrestrained. My grandmother had full confidence that the island was safe, with the exception of the fast moving cars down excessively narrow roads and the cliffs carved out by the Romans over 1000 years ago. We could stroll in at midnight with no repercussions. Besides, any shenanigans would surely be reported to her at the market the next morning.
To celebrate, Cale and I went straight to the nearest cafe for an ice cold Fanta (for the culturally challenged, it’s pronounced FOnta, not FAnta.) It was quite possibly the first carbonated drink I’ve ever had that actually included juice. No longer would I wonder if I was ingesting sodium benzoate, sodium phosphates, glycerol ester of rosin, yellow 6, brominated vegetable oil, and red 40. Not that I knew those names off hand, but from the moment I took a sip, I knew there was something missing. No longer did a Fanta taste like sugar and orange flavoring. The cafe staff must have questioned our sanity as we cherished every sip.
From there, we quickly discovered where the life of Europe is centered: Piazza. Unfortunately, there aren’t any real piazzas in the United States, which in my opinion, is the reason why a large percentage of Americans don’t know their next door neighbor’s name. Here, kids meet and play a variety of games, many prohibited by signs, but encouraged by police. Here, teenagers meet and greet, but only to leave shortly after to venture off to the nearest disco or club, since they currently resent the concept of “Piazza” because it’s the place where they spent their childhood. Here, the elderly talk, watch, and ramble on about the latest insignificant bit of news which they impulsively blurt out to the next person. But it’s the kids in Piazza who really complete the atmosphere, since in reality, a piazza only consists of a slab of concrete and chairs. The only downfall of having dozens of kids at free will is their popular belief that that putting an empty water bottle on the back of their tire is cool. It actually creates an unbearable noise that it seems only the kids enjoy.
In America, if a 6 year old wants to hang out with one of their friends, a phone call is made, planning is discussed, and driving is a must. But because of the concept of piazza, along with a tight knit community such as the one on the island, parents in towns like this can say to their little child, in Italian of course, “Just don’t drink or drown in the sea! Have fun!” Free to do what we wanted, Cale and I wandered aimlessly until there wasn’t a street we hadn't covered. The next morning, we would finally swim in European waters, but first, a much needed rest.
Our villa, which was split in two, my family on the bottom floor and some crazy and often screaming family above, was modestly furnished with a kitchen, 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a patio. There were no electronics, but what more does a person need when they’re on an ancient Roman island? A Frisbee, that’s what; luckily, we had one. I had also noticed that the house, and many others I visited, all were missing light fixtures. Instead, lights hang from the ceiling. Literally, lights, hanging by the power line. But the lights were now off, and it was time bed.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
So there are a lot of articles for the best projectors under $100 online. But most of them all show the same thing. Those crappy little projectors that are unable to project an image larger than the size of a computer monitor! And even the ones they sell for kids, you know, to play video games on their bed to project onto the ceiling. Those are even more unrealistic (and overpriced) since not only is the image quality absolutely ridiculous, but in order to keep them upright to the ceiling is near impossible. So I set out to find a projector of worth, that would fit my 3 requirements:
- It had to be able to project a large enough image to fit the size of my attic room wall (100 inches across exactly)
- It had to be bright enough to see if the lights were off (and if possible, when they're on)
- It had to fit my budget of $100.
Now, for the price, it would sound near impossible to find a projector that fit my needs. But, I turned to perhaps the greatest website in existence - ebay.com
But first. Let me demonstrate the poor quality of a $100 "eyeclops mini projector" we got at ToysRus. And yes, I know it goes on sale all the way down to $35 bucks sometimes. But i'd rather buy 35 dog bones at Petco than waste my money on something so poorly designed. Behold:
Lights off. You can barely see it, and the quality is horrendous.
Lights on... No comment.
So after much research online, I found the specs of an acceptable projector:
- It must be at least 1000 lumens, but 1500 is ideal for the best quality and brightness.
- If you're buying it used - which if you're reading this guide, I would think so! - then make sure the site says how many hours are on the bulb! This is key, for if there are too many hours, the projector isn't even worth buying. You can check to see how many hours the projector's light bulb life is by simply typing in the model and chances are, projectorcentral.com will appear with all the specs you should look at. Then simply compare the life to the amount on the projector.
- If you're buying a projector without a bulb - often they're much cheaper - make sure the light bulb replacement is as cheap as the projector and lasts a fairly long time! You dont want to buy a $20 dollar projector to find out the bulb is $250. And yes. Those are realistic numbers.
That's it! But the catch is to find one that's the right price!
On ebay, there are two categories for projectors. Here is the ideal example of a search in both:
In each section, I set the price, condition of the projectors, and excluded unwanted words such as parts. Both sections are equally as useful to look through, there are plenty of good picks if you really do look through.
Here's what I ended up choosing: The Hitachi CP-RX60
It came used with only around 9 hours of lamp use out of the 2000 the bulb lasts for. It was exactly $60 (I used the "Best Offer" feature to bring the price down just a tad! It's a wonderful feature to save a few bucks!) and the projector has a pretty 1500 lumens. It projects to the size I wanted, fit the price, and works beautifully even with the lights on!
Same TV show as the mini projector, only this time, you can actually see the show!
Lights off, crystal clear!
Lights on, my camera doesn't even do a good enough job at showing the quality.
So why anyone would waste their money on a pricey projector only to find out that it's crap is actually pretty funny. Because now I'm getting HD quality picture for far under $60. And they're not. Win.
I can even bring up HD televisions! These things cost above $1000 for a 55 inches and I'm sitting here with double that and the same quality for 6% of what they spent. Cheers!