Archive for the ‘Buffalo’ tag
This post was originally published at the TEDx blog/Tumblr. It was written quickly, and at least one fellow English major shook his head in dismay after seeing the first draft. But it was written very soon after the event, and I’m hoping it provides some lessons to learn from, and maybe some nostalgia on some distant day.
TEDxBuffalo took 17 months to launch, but there were really only five months of solid planning. That is, there was a year-long initial attempt that fell apart on very short notice, followed by a rather quick revival. But our first actual event, put on by about a dozen core volunteers and many more contributors, made everyone hungry to do it again.
A single ShackBurger, crinkle-cut fries, and a glass of their own ale. This was a great moment to have a G1 camera handy.
I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya. Long time, like, since before the national health care debate started. Long time like, I still lived in Rochester. Long time like, everybody still thought the Bills had a great passing game ready to roll out.
So! Here’s the notable stuff. I’ll skip the minutiae of professional/Lifehacker-related material, since I should really be a good “personal brand” and round that stuff up on the professional page.
- I got to eat at Shake Shack. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it was part of a very nice two-day jaunt to New York City, wherein I got to work at the Gawker office, see three old friends, and enjoy Manhattan in the not-too-cold-to-walk fall. But I’ve been fiending for this particular combination of meat, sauce, bread, and greenery since I posted about making your own at home. It did not disappoint. Honest food and good ingredients, cooked well and served up straight, and I’m totally in love.
- Among other media appearances, I was quoted in the Wall Street Journal, following a very fun interview with Alexandra Levit. This is important mostly because the WSJ is something my parents and relatives can say they’ve actually heard of, so family get-togethers now have one gimme conversation point.
- My wife and I moved back to Buffalo, so now I’ve got new home office digs and an endless tab at Home Depot. I miss many things about Rochester, but overall, it’s been great to get back to the business of shivering, connecting, and eating with the great people here.
- Having settled in a bit, I’ve been writing material for Buffalo Spree (ooh, new web site!), a twice-monthly tip column for ITworld, and the occasional piece somewhere else, like Popular Science.
- I have started watching The Wire, sequentially from the first episode, for the third time. This is notable mainly because it represents an approximate, cumulative total of 150 hours dedicated to the study of this five-season masterpiece, being early into Season 3, and not counting Season 5 episodes I totally watched twice, because I downloaded them early and then pretended I hadn’t when they aired on HBO, which I subscribed to solely for the purpose of getting on-demand Season 5 episodes, and yes I’m aware this is a comically overlong sentence.
Since you asked, yes, I find Season 2 to be vastly underrated, and Season 3 to be very loose and faulty at points, despite having two of the strongest plot arcs (Hamsterdam and Stringer Bell’s quest to “go straight”). I could certainly go on–and I have in the past–but let’s just say that I’m very eager to discuss this with you at any point when we meet. Midway through your surgery? Tie off that morphine drip, fellow watcher, and let’s get down to brass tacks.
Maybe the vegetarian meal on Ajira Airlways is some kind of curry dish? That’d be sweet.
Personal blogging is hard when you’re updating another blog at least five times per day, and often more. As I put it to my editor recently, it feels like my Who Cares Filter is completely closed up by the time I find myself with time to write in this space. I don’t have to write about software, productivity, gadgets, or time management here, of course; it’s just a vague feeling that I’ve linked and updated everything I need to on the net each day.
But! Now it’s way too early on a Sunday, and I’ve got a few things that need sharin’.
- The headline: Yep. Less than six months after moving to Rochester, the wife and I are moving back to our home of more nine years. I defer my feelings on this to an upcoming Roc/Buff open comparison chart I’ll be posting (seriously) later this month.
- Food Week at Lifehacker: That was seriously fun. I earned some experience doing solo video shoots, interviewing Art Rogers of Lento restaurant about slicing and dicing onions and fileting a fish.
What did I learn? Per @jordanconway, I might find a bolt that fits in the tripod mount of my Zi6 and attach it to a lanyard for steadier shots. When shots go wrong (“Macro Mode” my butt), I’ll politely ask my subject to back up and re-explain, and I’ll keep the camera on the subject (food!) more often.
- Rockin’ the G1: Finally joined the realm of folks who can complain about two different kinds of cellular reception. I dig the open nature, the browser is pretty snappy when the bandwidth’s there, and certain apps are total killers (Locale, for one). Many reviewers and iPhone purists have knocked on the hardware, but I see a clear trade-off for the “bulk” and “design choices.” Namely, having 3.2 megapixels in your pocket at all times, to shoot ridiculously clear photos and video:
- Firefox add-ons for journalists: Titled Journalist Picks for now, and it’s a work in progress. Got an extension that would help with research, note-taking, or tracking beat subjects online? Drop them in the comments or hit me up on email.
Want to help me round this out? I’m not a Buffalo/Rochester native, but a (nearly) 10-year veteran; this is just a quick thumbnail I dashed off. Leave your track suggestions in the comments, and I’ll update the playlist embedded above. Click the upper-right corner button for a bigger view.
What am I looking for? Songs that ring true with the WNY experience; hence “Livin’ on a Prayer,” which I’ve never seen fail at a Buffalo bar or concert, and which has lyrics that, sadly, resonate pretty well. Local artists and directly-related songs are great. Nearby Canadian stuff is cool, too. But I’m just looking for a wide net to cast around the music that defines the region.
Edit: Commenter Knile points out that this came up on MetaFilter last month, unbeknownst to me (but awesomely helpful).
(Disclosure: This awesome app was made by my boss at Lifehacker)
I’d intended to run through three areas early-morning bloggers can use to sprint through material and write faster, but ended up focusing on one app I could easily keep in the 10-minute time frame. Intrigued? Check out the full list of tools and tricks referenced at the end of the vid.
Since the last time I dropped some HTML here (2008!), quite a bit has changed for the Purdman. Here’s the traffic-friendly listicle version:
- Moved to Rochester: I started at the University at Buffalo in 1999, and have lived in Buffalo—minus a 1.3-year hiatus in Sandusky, OH—ever since. Rochester’s only an hour and a half by car from my old town, and, to the vast majority of those who even acknowledge its existence, upstate New York is all one big exurb of NYC anyways. But it’s no small thing to leave a place where you’ve got a really good handle on the local media happenings and gossip, the menus of approximately 70% of the regional eateries, the non-abridged lexicon of local legend and lore, and all the other stuff of small-city life behind.
How to adapt to Rochester, then? Reverse every future-of-news-business article at once and get the actual print newspaper delivered every day. Sign up for things you’d normally shrug off (BarCamp Rochester, anyone?). Be randomly friendly to people. Working from home makes it tough to find a clear path to local enlightenment, but, then again, it’s the dead of winter. Sunshine, I hope, is not only the best disinfectant, but a powerful energy source for social generators (Sorry, I’m still recovering from a wind energy piece).
- Senior Editor at Lifehacker: Mostly because the site’s originator, motivator, and, uh, editor gracefully said goodbye to pursue a truly freelance life. There’s an old Gawker Media trope about how one year of full service does, actually, constitute being “Senior,” but I’ll leave that to the MediaBistro/TechCrunch types to parse. It’s a bigger step up than it might seem to those on the other side of the PHP, but I’m really enjoying having an active role in asking questions, planning features, and making changes that shape the day-to-day success of my favorite site.
- I turned 28:
- Canceled cable, switched to streaming: Nor have I looked back once. I’m using Boxee and Apple TV to cut the cable, so I can stream The Office, 30 Rock, and (very soon) Lost whenever I want in HD. For everything else, there’s free, over the air digital television. Seriously, it took a lot of mental re-programming to get used to the idea that there’s actually free television out there.
- Reminded what real reporting is like: Nothing I did approached the completeness of the intense, strongly-felt coverage by the Buffalo News. But I covered the crash of flight 3407 in Clarence, NY for the NY Post, and it struck me, for the first time in a long time, just how intense deadline journalism involving real humans can be. It was overwhelming, terribly sad, and an experience I’ll keep with me for a long time.
Sarah and Samuel Beam, on-stage at Asbury Hall/Babeville, Nov. 12, 2008. Photo by LibraRonin.
Iron & Wine is one of the very few music acts the wife and I have Absolute Agreement on, so we snapped up tickets to their Nov. 12 gig at Ani DiFranco’s Babeville, a.k.a. Asbury Hall, as soon as we knew about the gig.
Samuel Beam walked onto the stage of the renovated church hall, looked out from heavy eyes and said, “Wow. I didn’t know there were this many people in Buffalo.” At that moment, it seemed a bit like … everything anyone’s ever said about Buffalo after spending some real time here (or so I tell myself). Listening to it now, though, it seems more in line with his general shyness and modesty, to see that many people lining the halls of the arching space.
I teased PlayedLastNight.com a bit about the literalness of their releases, but, one week later, you can preview, buy and download the whole 18-song, 1-hour-35-minute Iron & Wine set from that show. The basic $9.95 package gets you MP3 files with a 160 kb/s bitrate–decent enough for headphones and non-audiophile enjoyment. $3 more gets you (via email, two days later) FLAC files that haven’t lost any audio quality in compression.
Quick tip on the sly: One YouTube user has posted three full song videos from the Asbury Hall gig. Consumer-cam quality, but pretty neat angle.
Nine things to like about the Nickel City
So the New York Times gave Buffalo’s architectural treasures the feature treatment on Sunday, detailing our city’s beautiful contradictions and breathtaking buildings. We’ve got projects designed by architectural progressives who had brilliant designs on the future, while the modern city itself … well, that’s another 40 posts or so.
They also put together a pretty great slideshow with original shots of Buffalo’s prettier parts. With a smidge of work in Picasa 3, I patched those shots into a few wallpapers for those who might dig such a thing.
They’re in 1680 x 1050 resolution. If requested, I can post more/different aspects and sizes. To download, right-click on the links below and choose “Save Links As” or “Save Target As,” depending on your browser.
- NYT Buffalo Architecture 1 (Guaranty doorway at center, spaced, with drop shadows)
- NYT Buffalo Architecture 2 (Guaranty doorway at center, less spacing, no drop shadows)
- NYT Buffalo Architecture 3 (Skyline shot of Ellicott Square Building at center, spaced, with drop shadows)
- NYT Buffalo Architecture 4 (Skyline shot of Ellicott Square Building at center, almost no spacing )
Comments and improved version links are welcome.
I’ve got a piece in this month’s insert to The Real Deal, a New York City-based magazine that covers real estate news, about how Buffalo managed to escape the recent credit and housing downturns. Titled Buffalo stays cold — and calm, it details how the conditions in Western New York’s economy and the character of the city itself have kept over-eager flippers, predatory lenders, and other market-crashers (mostly) at bay.
It’s kind of a big deal for me, being my first print published outside the Buffalo-area market (and not on my main squeeze, Lifehacker). It also generated a bit of discussion over at Buffalo Rising. Here’s a standard writerly caveat for you: The story goes much farther than the headline suggests.
Photo by surrealist303.
Before heading out on a week’s vacation, I had to point out the awesomeness of “The Munchie Box,” picked up by my friend Andrew at Buffalo Buffet. The “standard” size costs about 5 British pounds, comes in a 10-inch pizza box, and includes doner kebab meat, nan bread, chicken tikka, pakora, onion rings, fries, some kind of slaw-type salad, and two kinds of sauce.
I mean, seriously. We in Buffalo have Jim’s SteakOut, Mighty Taco, and roughly 6,387 bars open until at least 2 a.m. serving beef, wings, and all kinds of so-terrible-it’s-fantastic food–not to mention Nick Tahou’s just a short hop away. But it seems a challenge has been issued, one involving whose populace can find the grease-soaked bottom of the culinary barrel first. Let’s get to work on this when I return, shall we?