ridiculousness

Fall Fun: Chris Christie Corn Maze and Apple Picking

I’m never thrilled when summer ends. But a day of fall ridiculousness outside the city always brightens my spirits.

Last year, we “hit the hick jackpot” in Long Valley, NJ, a pretty area about an hour outside the city, with lots of farms and apple orchards. Though we didn’t set out to visit that area, specifically, we ended up nearby, this year, for one reason.

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Stony Hill Farm (just a few minutes from Ort Farms, last year’s destination) has a giant corn maze shaped like Chris Christie’s face. (And Barbara Buono, the Democratic challenger. As a liberal, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I couldn’t name Christie’s gubernatorial opponent until I read about this maze!)

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When it comes to fall ridiculousness, it’s hard to beat a political theme.

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Last year, we made it through Ort’s corn maze pretty quickly. So we were surprised when Stony Hill’s website said it could take three hours to get through their maze.

How hard could it be?

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Once inside, we soon learned. There didn’t seem to be an obvious way to the finish and we didn’t see many markers telling you whether you were on the right track.

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We walked around…

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…and around…

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…and around the corn for almost an hour, back and forth between Buono’s hair and Christie’s face. Finally, we gave up and went out through the entrance. (Luckily, Stony Hill’s awesome cider and donuts took the sting out of defeat!)

Afterwards, we drove a few minutes down the road to Stony Hill’s apple orchard.

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While the trees weren’t massively tall…

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…apples were plentiful (and cheap!) and we picked baskets full to bring back home.

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I’m still eating my way through several apples a day.

On this trip, I also found out that my dear friends, Karen and Steve, live just a few minutes away from this “hick jackpot.” I think they’re lucky to have easy access to such pretty farmland—and amazing cider donuts!

The Infinite Jukebox

infinite jukebox

Do you ever get fixated on a song and listen to it over and over again…especially when you’re at work…and all your friends probably know about your embarrassing song obsession from seeing it in their Spotify feeds? I’m definitely guilty of that—especially with super-poppy or ridiculous songs. Like Beyonce’sВ “Countdown.” Or Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” (Like, ever.) Or Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen.”

So I was really amused—and wowed—when I stumbled upon The Infinite Jukebox, a project developed by Paul Lamere, a director at a music intelligence company in Somerville, MA. Its tagline pretty much says it all: “For when your favorite song just isn’t long enough.”

The program basically analyzes a song beat by beat. Then it figures out other places within it that sound very similar, where it can jump to. The result: The song can play forever in a seamless loop.

Even cooler: the Jukebox creates a pretty, color-coded diagram for each song. Every color block represents a beat and its timbre. The arcs show the different places where that beat can jump. So, as you listen, you can follow the path your endless tune takes.

Listeners can submit the music they want to hear. I loved how most of them fell into the pop/ridiculous realm: R. Kelly’s “Ignition (remix),” Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” And, of course, one of my favorites: “Call Me Maybe.”

What are you going to put on an infinite loop?

(Bottom three images viaВ Paul Lamere‘s blog, Music Machinery)

Oh, Ballet

Gif Tumblrs may have reached their saturation point, but I’m still endlessly amused by them. Recently, I discovered “Oh Ballet,” one dedicated to my favorite hobby, and had a good laugh from their entries.

Like this:

When you think the teacher finished teaching the combination but they keep going

When you think the teacher finished teaching the combination but they keep going

and this:

When somebody can pull off a white leotard

When somebody can pull off a white leotard

And my favorite:

After I tell people I’m a ballet dancer

After I tell people I’m a ballet dancer

*Sigh* it’s so true. Happy Friday!

(Text and.gif"oh ballet" href="http://ohballet.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">Oh Ballet)

So Ready for the Weekend! (So Call Me, Maybe?)

Happy Friday! I know what you’re thinking: “How many ‘Call Me Maybe’ videos is this girl going to post?” But this one is worth watching, I promise–and the perfect way to top off the work week! YouTuber Steve KardynalВ donned a bikini and a cheap women’s wig, went onto Chatroulette and lip synced “Call Me Maybe” to unsuspecting users. The results are hilarious–and totally gave me the warm-fuzzies.

Enjoy your weekend! Got any fun plans? I’m going to a few ballet classes, as usual, and dim sum on Sunday. (Yum!)

My First (Work) Computer

The other day, a co-worker introduced me to the awesome Tumblr, My First Computer, where readers submit photos of themselves with (surprise!) their first computers. In typical Tumblr fashion, most snapshots feature people in their ’80s glory alongside clunky computers of the time:

You get the idea. After scrolling through the posts, I was tempted to send in a photo of me with an ancient computer. But it’s not from 1985. It’s from 2005:

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From 2004 to 2006, I worked at the Boston Herald (which was a great gig). At the time, they were just starting to move the newsroom off an ancient computer system–called Atex–and onto PCs. The shift was gradual and done by seniority–so as a lowly editorial assistant, I was not at the top of the list to receive one. And I never did. For the two and a half years I worked there, I used that crazy-looking, 1970s-era computer in the photo above. It had no mouse (all on-screen actions were done via a series of commands), no internet (and therefore no e-mail), no color (just green characters on a black screen) and no audio or video capabilities.

I’m still amazed at everything I was able to accomplish on that machine. At the time, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, podcasts and digital music were in their infancy–and I covered all that (and hundreds of other stories) on a computer straight out of All the President’s Men.

I was thrilled to get a normal computer at my next job. But I still have fond memories of Atex. In fact, there are some days when I sit at my PC and wish I could tab over a row of text and capitalize or lower case each letter with the click of a button–like I could on Atex.

(In case you were wondering, I’m wearing a shirt made of duct tape in that photo. My co-worker was covering Duck Brand’s duct tape prom outfit photo contest and I decided to prove that yes, you really can make clothing out of duct tape.)