Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

Room For Improvement

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Whatever it means to fail, I’ve taken plenty of losses in my life. Whether it was a bad investment in the stock market or a bad business idea, I’ve taken plenty of losses taking chances. I’ve also had my share of successes. To fail goes beyond assets and value. There is something intrinsic about it. How does it affect you? How do you feel when it happens?

Many of my failures have come as a result of my willingness to lose. I probably have a higher risk tolerance than the average person, and so I am not afraid to almost completely blow something. I couldn’t do many of the things I have done if I were highly risk averse. At the same time, maybe that attitude can also be detrimental. My goal is to be more considerate of how I approach things in the future. This goes beyond investing.

If you fail take it as an opportunity to examine yourself, and your processes. Consider what happened. Did you see it coming? Was it avoidable? I have to say that many times, I did see it coming. Maybe too late to take an entirely different course of action, but often well enough in advance of the event. It may not be obvious, but I know when it seems quite possible. How can I see it coming and do nothing? Yet I know I have.

So what should we do when we fail? I think we have to be disappointed at the outcome. Whether we saw it coming or not we should not be satisfied with it. We should have an expectation of success. It is important to not settle for the initial result, but to desire to improve upon it, and eventually succeed. Always ask yourself for more.


Superior Autobiographical Memory

Monday, December 20th, 2010

60 Minutes was very interesting on Sunday because of the piece it did on hyperthymesia, also known as superior autobiographical memory. I came across this story because Marilu Henner happens to be one of six known people with this ability. I really like the television show Taxi. So as soon as I saw her name I had to watch! Henner and five other known people have the ability to vividly remember every day of their life as if it just happened. Would you rather remember your entire life, or are you happy that you can’t? I am not sure if I wish I could remember everything or not. It certainly is a fascinating subject to contemplate. Check out the rest of the feature after the break.

Common, Lupe Fiasco, & Jennifer Hudson – We Can Do It Now

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Hip-hop doesn’t always receive the most flattering picture in mainstream America. Between its perceived purveyance of violence, drugs, and any number of other potential detriments to society it is a musical genre that is either loved or hated, depending on to whom you are speaking. While some of that criticism is warranted, there is positive hip-hop. It isn’t all bad or dangerous as some would like others to believe. Here is a prime example. A few of my favorite artists, Common and Lupe Fiasco, team up with Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson for an inspirational track. Kanye West’s mentor, No I.D., provides the production for this Chicago-centric track that was created as part of Gatorade’s REPLAYtheSeries, Season 3. Also appearing in the video are NBA stars Dwayne Wade, Carlos Boozer, and Dwight Howard. Check it out.

Soledad O’Brien Interviews Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf: A Lesson in Good Journalism

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Last Sunday I happened to catch the interview by Soledad O’Brien with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. I try to catch Larry King Live when possible. I think he is a fascinating interviewer. It will be weird when his show ends. Anyway I had no intention of catching this Sunday show, but it was 2am and I was on my way to sleep and he happened to be on. It goes without saying I lucked out on catching the show because Soledad O’Brien conducted an excellent interview.

Personally, I was interested in the interview because I follow politics and the Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero issue is a hot topic at the moment. However, this post is really about journalism. From the very beginning I got the impression that the show was going to be a good one. Larry King appeared briefly only to say that he was handing the night’s show over to Soledad. This immediately told me a real interview was about to happen, no offense Larry.

Sure enough, Soledad was engaging, well-informed, and asked the pertinent questions. She really allowed the Imam to get his message out, but also pressed to prevent him from completely dodging questions. Anybody who wanted to know more about who the Imam was or what he stood for could get a pretty good indication and judge from themselves based on Soledad’s questions and his responses. This is the way journalism should be. I am tired of watching weak interviews where politicians and other public figures can tap dance around the questions that matter and continue to appear entirely ambiguous and unscathed by the end. It is a disservice to the American people and it only goes to lessen the validity of the news source in my eyes.

This country needs more hard reporting, less bias, and more challenging journalism. It would go a long way in helping keep our public servants honest. In the internet era and 24 hour news cycle, people are easily influenced and often do not know what or who to believe. More interviews like this one could really help to clear up some of those problems.

Drake – Thank Me Later Album Review

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

The debut LP from Drizzy Drake is one of the most anticipated of the year across any genre and probably the most anticipated hip-hop release since Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 in November 2009. Needless to say, I have been anxious to hear it since I heard So Far Gone(the original) in early 2009. While the album isn’t everything I hoped it would be, it is far from a disappointment and if it were released by anybody with less expectations than Drake has resting on his shoulders it would probably be receiving universal critical acclaim right now. So let’s get into the particulars.

One of Drake’s greatest strengths is his ability to choose production to his advantage. Boi-1da is one of the hottest young producers in the game and has been with Drizzy since his early mixtape days. They have great chemistry and they usually connect for high quality music. The same can be said for 40. Surprisingly, I think Drake’s album loses some steam by the superstar production featured. Swizz Beats, Timbaland, and Kanye West all have what I would consider underwhelming contributions. It seemed like Drizzy was just a bit out of his comfort zone trying to fit into their sound. Having said that I don’t think there are any bad songs although the album certainly could have done without Fancy.

Another advantage of Drake has always been his collaborations. From the mixtape days of collabos with the likes of Trey Songz and Lil Wayne to what I would consider the posse cut of 2009 in Forever, Drake does seem to get the best out of his guests. Alicia Keys sounds great on Fireworks and Lil Wayne actually sounds like he tried on his verse for Miss Me. Jay-Z gave what I would consider to be his best guest verse since Go Hard(Remix).

As a whole this album is very good. But it has two potential drawbacks. The first and probably more important in the hip-hop community is all the singing Drake does. Most fans don’t mind the occasional hook but Drizzy goes all out on several tracks and sings everything as if he were an pop/r&b star. It’s not that Drake sounds bad per sé, but rather hip-hop would prefers to see Drake display his lyrical ability as often as possible and these verses take away from their opportunity to hear him.

The second and less costly drawback is the lack of a certifiable hit. Plenty of tracks sound good but I don’t think any of them are memorable beyond present day. If you are like me and like to listen to complete albums this does not obstruct your listening. But from a historical perspective it does hurt. For me it is also the difference between this being more than a 4 star album. But it is just that.

Overall this was an excellent first effort for Drake. He is a victim of his prior success and thus had high expectations that were difficult to match. While I think that his album is better than fellow newcomer Kid Cudi’s was, this album probably does less in the way of growing Drake’s fan base as oppose to Cudi’s album which added to his following and hype for his next release because of lower expectations. Moving forward Drake must continue to craft his formula and perfect his sound. But his future is more than bright.

Best Guest Spot: Jay-Z(Light Up)
Best Production: Boi-1da, Al-Khaaliq(Over)
Best Songs: Miss Me, Light Up, Unforgettable

Famous Failures

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

This is a pretty cool video. I don’t know about that Michael Jordan thing though…more on failure later(after finals)!

Freerunner Damien Walters 2010

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Because it’s cool! If you want more Youtube has plenty.

Guest Post for Untemplater

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

A while back I wrote an article for a new website called Untemplater that focuses on entrepreneurship, lifestyle design, personal finance, and more. Yesterday the article was published. In case you missed it and would like to check it out you can read it here. I encourage everybody to take a look around Untemplater. It features some of the most talented young professionals from around the internet and speaks on the very topics that interest the entrepreneur or anybody who aspires to living beyond the 9-5 lifestyle.

New Heinz Ketchup Packets

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Anybody who has ever eaten with me is aware of the frequency with which I have french fries with meals. With that comes ketchup and I consume lots of it. Probably twice the average of any one person, maybe more. So I keep a close watch on the ketchup industry in my free time, for the sake of fellow ketchup lovers. Check out this new ketchup packet from Heinz. It allows you to dip or squeeze. Interesting. I’ll be sampling soon.

Dr. Cornel West’s Note To President Barack Obama

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Princeton Professor, Dr. Cornel West came and spoke at my school last year. He is one of the leading public intellectuals of our time. Here he is presenting an open letter to the nation’s president.