D103.com: Archive
This is an archived page of D103.com, a daily weblog by Daryl Lang.

Oh, about that journalism conference

» Today's entry comes from very special guest Lynne Funk, visiting from State College, Pa. Enjoy!

- Daryl

» I don't know how my feet are still functioning today. That's what you get when you wear shoes from Target (sorry, Daryl) traipsing around Manhattan all day. The 3-inch spikes with no support are good looking, but not exactly proper footwear for a city 35 times the size of my hometown of Pittsburgh.

But enough of the shoes, there are much bigger and taller things to speak about. Yesterday we ventured into the city for some journalism conferences, schmoozed with some professionals in the field and I was basically told I'm not getting a job when I graduate (from Penn State in May). Phew, what a day. So, of course, what was the best thing to follow a boring conference, uppity professionals and being told I will be poor? -- let's go get some drinks.

We did. At this great little noodle/Asian restaurant named Republic. Even though I made Daryl order duck, a meal I know he didn't enjoy, we had a nice cocktail after a long day. But no, the night was not over. Daryl suggested a bar that was quite possibly, very fitting for my Target-brand shoes -- Trailer Park.

It had cheesy decorations -- silver icicles hanging from the ceiling, fake palm trees all around -- wall-to-wall cheesy, trailer park decorations and yes, Pabst Blue Ribbon. How complete. And I believe we were leaning against an actual trailer in the bar.

We then headed to the Upright Citizens Brigade, which was a great little basement comedy club. We saw Swarm, an improv group of four comedians. For $8 and $3 beers, it was a great time. You'd think we would have gone home, but alas, this is false. Onward to Brooklyn to cap off the night with a drink at Buttermilk. A bar that had no sign on its front door. Daryl said if he hadn't walked by it one night, he would never had known it was a bar. And that would have been terrible. It was a dark little bar with the exception of some candles and dim lights, with all types of people and great music.

Oh, and we got Renee drunk. The bartender and I made up a drink, which is now officially "Renee." We finally made it back to Daryl's apartment at about 3 a.m. I was hungry, apparently, as I ate an entire plate of angel-hair pasta and eggplant parmesan, cold. Delicious.

Daryl thinks I could make it in New York. I think so, too. I just need to switch to K-Mart. With no job, I don't think I'll be able to afford Target.

- Lynne

Newark state of mind

» Today's entry comes from very special guest Renée Petrina, visiting from State College, Pa., (along with fellow Daily Collegian editors Lynne Funk and Bridget Smith). Enjoy!

- Daryl

» Driving to Brooklyn from central Pennsylvania isn't all that difficult. It's almost entirely one road, I-80, for about 200 miles. However, there is a stretch of 20 miles or so, total, through parts of New York and New Jersey, namely Newark.

Now, I am a sweet southern belle who hails from Richmond, Va. We have some strange roads in the South, but we have nothing like Newark, and definitely nothing like Newark at night. We (my driving companions and I) followed our Mapquest directions (probably a mistake) and went over two drawbridges. Then we went over two more, which logically puts us back on the opposite side of the river from where we want to be. Realizing this, we exited the highway, embarked on a nice side detour through an ethnic neighborhood, and were almost run off the road by a cadre of angry, mean Newark public transit buses.

The goal? Drive toward large buildings which we had earlier seen from the highway. Suddenly, my co-pilot spots salvation -- a sign for I-280! We push our way through traffic (during which the influence of my Long Island friends starts to come out and overthrow my Southern niceties) and soon are back where we started, with 35 minutes of our lives lost forever to the mean streets of Newark.

Within the next half hour, we found the Holland Tunnel, I handled a bit of New York City driving without breaking my car, and we finally arrived to be greeted by big hugs, followed by a tasty dinner from Daryl, our gracious host.

Today's lesson? New Jersey: another reason to love New York.

- Renée

Sick, sick television

» Think about the last time you were home sick. You probably stretched out on the couch, turned on the TV, and watched some really awful programming. Soaps? Exercise shows? "The Price is Right?" Those court shows where women yell at their ex-husbands for failing to pay child support? Let's face it, if you're feeling ill, daytime television sure won't make you feel better.

What America needs is a Sick-At-Home Channel. This network would air fun, light programs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Indiana Jones movies. Old "I Love Lucy" episodes. The Muppet Show. MacGyver. Comedies with Bill Murray. The sorts of programs that pass the time and make you feel good. The sorts of programs that don't come on other stations until prime time.

The target audience for this channel would be people home sick from work or school and those caring for them. A secondary audience would be people in waiting rooms at hospitals and doctor's offices, where one hopes a TV would be constantly tuned to this channel. You might be thinking, "This doesn't sound like a very big audience." No, not huge, but very specific: Here you have a captive audience of people who want to buy medicine. Not just medicine, but soup, juice, and other make-me-feel-better products. It's an advertiser's dream!

Only two questions about this idea have me stumped. First, what to call it? You would be hard to sell cable operators a "Sick-At-Home Channel." Something like "Feel Better" or "The Wellness Network" would make it sound like the programming will be about health, when in fact it's just entertainment. Maybe the "Lazy Day Network?" And second, what would we air at night, when good programming comes on other channels? Perhaps a relaxing shot to help you sleep, such as a glowing fireplace, waves crashing on the beach, or a fish tank.

I am confident this channel would be a success. If not, well, add this to my list of other brilliant schemes that are way ahead of their time.

- Daryl

To do today: Get a Shamrock Shake

» I visited my friend Christel yesterday evening at the swank upper west side apartment where she's catsitting for the week. Dazzled by the wonder of digital cable television, we surfed between American Idol, America's Next Top Model, and some vampire movie on Cinemax. It had been snowing all day, and when I got back to Brooklyn last night, I felt glad that I wouldn't have to clear the snow off my car. No more car!

» Tonight I'm planning to attend the second in the series of blogger readings now known as the WYSIWYG Talent Show. It's 7:30 at P.S. 122.

» Sooner or later, I wouldn't be surprised to see a schism between bloggers who write frequently but are kind of hit-or-miss (like me), and bloggers who write infrequently but extraordinarily well (like some of the readers on tonight's list). It's like the difference between a good newspaper and a good magazine. Some of us post frequently because we're insecure about what we've written and we constantly want to bump it further down the page and replace it with something better. I can't seem to win that battle.

- Daryl

Table of content

» One of my favorite magazine terms is "charticle." Usually used in the pejorative, the word "charticle" means a pithy table with an extended caption that stands alone — No story necessary! I decided to try writing today's entry in this style.

Host story
In a seismic shift of pop music's gatekeepers, TV's Ryan Seacrest has taken over Casey Kasem's radio duties and Carson Daly is grooming himself to be the next Dick Clark. Use the handy chart below to compare these two upstarts to their old-guard counterparts.

Daly Seacrest Clark Kasem
Breakout show TRL American Idol American Bandstand American Top 40
Desperate, franchise- expanding knockoff Last Call With Carson Daly On Air with Ryan Searcrest Dick Clark's American Bandstand Grill American Top 20
Catch phrase None. "Seacrest out!" "Happy New Year!" "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
Responsible for the fame of... Justin Timberlake Clay Aiken Chubby Checker Shaggy, of Scooby Doo
Antagonist Eminem Simon Cowell Michael Moore Coming out of an uptempo number and having to do a goddamn death dedication!

If you liked this one, I have more ideas for future charticles... "Classic Songs About Bar Fights," "Famous Guys Named Savage," "Things People Use To Scare Away Birds." ...

- Daryl


» I have two short stories in the April issue of AAA Car & Travel magazine, part of a cover story roundup of New England resorts. Click here.

» More about yesterday's entry: Turns out The New York Times real estate section also saw fit to write about Greenwood Heights yesterday in this story by Penelope Green. (The neighborhood is described on the second page of the web version.) It's a fine story, but it says this neighborhood used to be called Gowanus, which I don't think is true. When I hear people talk about Gowanus, they're talking about the area surrounding the Gowanus Canal. I'd define its boundaries as the elevated F Train tracks to the west, Fourth Avenue to the east, roughly Union Street to the north, and the BQE to the south.

» Speaking of which, I've always thought BQE would make a cool rapper name. (For those of you in other cities, BQE is short for Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, an oft-maligned elevated highway.) But apparently there actually is a hip-hop group called B.Q.E. already!! According to this web site, the group represents "NYC underground hip-hop and the LGBT." Who knew? I guess I'll just stick to my country music name: Matte Black.

» Learned this weekend: Enthusiasm for talking about writing has no correlation to actual writing ability.

- Daryl

The gentrification of Greenwood Heights

» My neighborhood (okay fine, let's just call it Greenwood Heights) is coming up in a big way. I've written before about the new eight-story apartment building which will open soon on 22nd Street between 5th and 6th, plus those new condos in the old school on 21st Street. Yesterday I found out that there's a 6-story 11-unit apartment building soon to be built on a vacant lot at the corner of 19th and 7th. I've also noticed that the Macaulay Building on 18th between 5th and 6th is being rented out as art studios.

All this high-end real estate is a two-edged sword. People who have lived in this neighborhood for a long time may have to leave if their rents go up, as is happening right now in the neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. And the quirky shops on 5th Avenue might get pushed further out for the same reason. On the other hand, new housing will bring new businesses to the area and increase our already awesome variety of restaurants and shops. Perhaps some of these other vacant lots, like the one across the street from my apartment, will be developed. (That vacant lot would be a great place for a laundromat, come to think of it.) A cool bar or two on 6th Avenue wouldn't hurt, though it's still an awfully long walk from the subway to draw many people from other neighborhoods. While I'm wishing, more frequent B67 bus service would be nice.

- Daryl