Category Archives: Tech

Getting Real about getting over Rebecca Black (and her new video)

We fell in love with her on a Friday (Friday). This Monday – after the roller coaster of video removals and reinstatements – we’re still smitten with Rebecca Black. Or strangely obsessed – we can’t decide.

So imagine my delight when I discovered that her follow-up smash single dropped today on YouTube (two hours ago to be exact).

I felt like singing “I’m So Excited” while wearing purple leggings and a cropped sweatshirt, and then having a nervous breakdown. Unfortunately, Black’s second attempt is wildly underwhelming. Here’s why:

  • There are about four lyrics in the song – this.is.my.moment. Becky, where is the lyrical prose that first stole our hearts, like “gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal“? I just don’t understand.
  • The video is less colorful and by that I mean R.B. isn’t wearing blue eyeshadow and strawberry lipstick. And I’m sad. I liked that garish monster. Nude lipstick is so Monday (and I don’t mean that in a good way).
  • Her friends are trying way too hard. I guess Rebecca got all cool and shit and traded in her friends with the braces for new, hot friends. The fame has apparently gone straight to the bitch’s head. And this is after her friend hauled her around in a convertible for, like, a whole Friday. BITCH.

Basically, Rebecca, I think I’m through with you. You sold out. You’re all made up and shit. You’re on red carpets. You wear dresses that are red.  And I heard a rumor that you only upload your shit to Vevo now.

Currently, the video has 4000 likes and 4000 dislikes. This shiz is more controversial than the debt ceiling. What do you think? Leave your thoughts in our overflowing comments section.

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Getting Real about black sand between your toes, Swiss chalets and Frette sheets

You’ve watched every episode of Millionaire Matchmaker on-demand, your liquid jacket isn’t as windproof as it was in college and your Totes Toasties have been worn so often that the grippers on the bottom are starting to come off. Basically, you’ve got a bad case of “winter” that you need to escape.

Thankfully, in the last year, the interwebs have given birth to a crop of discount luxury travel sites that allow you to flee your humdrum life and take a fabulous journey to an exotic locale. Since I travel almost as much as George Clooney in “Up In the Air,” and can’t resist a good deal, here’s a rundown of some of my faves.

Jetsetter

Jetsetter, a spawn of the addictive fashion site Gilt, offers “flash sales” on luxury hotels at unbeatable prices.

The Upside: While some of their picks may not seem cheap, when you look at the sticker price, you realize what a good deal you’re getting. Also, each hotel they feature gets the “Jetsetter Verified” stamp, which means that it’s going to be a damn good hotel.

The Downside: Jetsetter flash sales only last for a few days max and the best dates (weekends, holidays, etc) get eaten up quickly. If you want the best deal on the best date, you need to act fast. Jetsetter just introduced a new feature where you can book any hotel at any time but this blogger only recommends that if you have Oprah’s bankroll.

Trips I’ve booked on this site: Our recent blogger’s retreat took place at a hotel (Villagio in Yountville) that we booked on Jetsetter. While the price of over $250 a night was steep, since it was split between the four of us, it wasn’t bad. And all four of us were able to use the spa facilities, enjoy an opulent afternoon tea (yup, crustless sandwiches and pine nut scones), and a breakfast with omelets on demand, for free. Last summer, I also booked the Fairmont Sonoma (also very snazzy) for under $100 on Jetsetter.

Hot deals they have going on now: Bestill my Sperry-loving heart – the c/o Maidstone in the Hamptons is like a preppy girl’s dream come true. I would advise booking a weekend in March when it’s a bit warmer but the prices have yet to completely shoot through the roof. Or if you want to get a little “wild,” there’s also a stay at the Vuyani Lodge in South Africa, which promises up close visits with Simba, Timon and Pumba. The $390 per night pricetag isn’t cheap but the rate includes three meals a day, safari drives, and airport transfers. MEE-OW.

If you’re thinking about booking, please do use this link – you’ll get $25 in free credit and so will this starving blogger.


Tablet Hotels

Tablet focuses a bit more on “hotels on demand,” which is to say that you can easily search their site by preferred destination, type of trip or hotel name. Tablet will turn up a list of “approved” hotels that they recommend. They also have “Private Sales” which have steeper discounts, but these aren’t promoted as well.

The Upside: In addition to surfacing great hotels that match your search criteria, Tablet also posts “Top 10” lists that can help you pick a hotel. From “Best Unusual Hotels” to “Best Beach Hotels,” there’s a list you’ll want to look at.

The Downside: Sometimes when you search for a specific destination, the list of hotels that Tablet turns up is sparse. This is likely because these hotels are already booked for the days you want them but it can be an unsatisfying experience.

Hotels I’ve Booked on This Site: When I was booking hotels for my recent trip to Argentina, I wanted to find places that were a bit unusual and exciting. When I searched for hotels in Mendoza, Tablet turned up Club Tapiz, which is set on a vineyard in Argentinian wine country. It was the perfect place to stay. Also, I recently booked a stay at Donovan House in Washington, DC for work. Donovan House is one of my favorite hotels in DC – it’s located right in the neighborhood where I used to live, has an amazing pool and a glorious rainfall shower that makes you feel like you’re in a time machine. Tablet had a MUCH cheaper rate than the one the Donovan House website published.

Hot deals they have going on now: Channel your inner Gordon Gecko with a stay at Andaz Wall Street, with rates from $150 in the Tablet Private Sale section. New York doesn’t come cheaper than this…unless the hotel charges by the hour. Otherwise, jet down to Buenos Aires for the weekend – Tablet has last-minute deals starting for only $100 a night in Palermo, BA’s trendiest neighborhood. And if you need a good steakhouse recommendation, I’ve got you covered.

BetterBidding.com

While Betterbidding.com isn’t a luxury hotel site, as a savvy traveler I would be remiss not to include it, because it has really helped me over the years. I am not ashamed to admit that I love getting great deals on Hotwire and Priceline. I mean, sometimes you just want a place to sleep that you know is going to be decent like a Westin or a Hilton, and Hotwire/Priceline deliver these at a great price. What I hate, is ending up at a hotel that sucks because Hotwire/Priceline didn’t tell me the name of it before I hit confirm.

Betterbooking.com takes the guesswork out of these sites by creating user-generated lists that match the listed amenities (pool, gym, business center) with the names of the hotels that it is most likely to be.

The Upside: There is no other site like it. Thousands of users work together to tell you which hotel you’re going to be booking, before you actually book. A beautiful demonstration of crowd-sourcing.

The Downside: The user experience and overall design of the site is in a word, heinous. You aren’t going to get the slick black background and easily navigable tabs that you will with the first two mentioned sites.

Hotels I’ve Booked: I’ve booked too many hotels to count on this site. It’s been most beneficial when I’m trying to figure out whether a hotel is a Starwood Hotel or not, since I am a Starwood Preferred Guest and adore that Heavenly Bed.

Hot deals they have now: There are always deals to be had on Priceline and Hotwire. First search there. Then cross-reference Betterbidding before you book your hotel.
And with that, happy trails to you! May your hotel closets by filled with plush robes and your days be filled with scuba adventures!

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Getting Real about the lost art of emailing

A few weeks ago, The New York Times published an article that said if email is your preferred method of communication you are officially old school. The “young” people have spoken: email is lame. It’s all about texting and chatting. They don’t have time for email, and why should they? They are too busy going to Justin Beiber concerts and picking out homecoming dresses to be bothered to put any actual thought into what they are writing. Composing a fully formed sentences? That is so 2005.

omg, hilarious!

“The problem with e-mail, young people say, is that it involves a boringly long process of signing into an account, typing out a subject line and then sending a message that might not be received or answered for hours.”

A lot of things wrong here. First, signing in – I’m pretty sure this process takes approximately 2 seconds and if it’s taking you longer, you are doing something wrong. Second, the subject line – you can actually leave it blank if this is really a point of stress. Third, writing the message – communicating in the written form is a skill. A very important skill that you will need in both your personal and professional life. A skill that “young people” and even old fogies like me in their 20’s often severely lack.

wtf, why the face?

 

Let me tell you a little story. I dated a guy once. He liked to send me cutesy texts and emails. But you know what wasn’t so cute? His atrocious grammar. I once made a comment about it and he told me that grammar rules don’t matter in causal texts and emails. Who cares as long as you’re getting your point across? I care. I, the reader, care. And I cringe every time I see ‘your’ being used instead of ‘you’re’. Or worse yet, ur. I’m sorry but if you are college educated and don’t know the difference between your and you’re, or worse yet, don’t care enough to differentiate between the two, ur an idiot. Needless to say that relationship did not work out.

Our generation is used to communicating at warp speed and getting a response instantly. But taking the time to think about what you say and how you say it is never a bad thing. And in this age where written communication is becoming much more prevalent than verbal, it’s important to keep in mind, everything you email, text, chat is on record somewhere. You never really know for sure where it is saved, who has access to it, and who might read it. So don’t you want to have the ability (you know, even if you don’t always use it) to represent yourself well? Or do u want ppl 2b rofl at ur crappy writing 4eva more?

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Getting Real about the hottest covers P. Diddy didn’t do

 

On any given day, YouTube is chock full of covers of your favorite songs, but in the past week, covers have been taking the world by storm.

 

Exhibit A: The cutest video I’ve seen that doesn’t involve an animal. A father-daughter team takes on “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. If you don’t love this video, your heart is made of stone.

Exhibit B: “Firework” set to violins…will wonders never cease? It’s kind of “Fray-ish” but I still enjoyed seeing actual emotion in a Katy Perry song.

Exhibit C: Ke$ha just got sassier. The banana microphone is an old gimmick, but I will give this young sir points for some awesome moves, specifically the “tearing it apart” gesture and the fist pumping (Vinny, watch your back).

Exhibit D: This one is more of a parody than a cover, but I’ll throw this one in there because I know we have a large Badger readership. We do it for the fans, here at GRR.

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Getting Real about Mariah Carey’s only good song AKA all we want for Christmas

 

In honor of Black Friday, the girls of GRR got together to create our “bitch, please no coal in the stocking” wish list for the 2010 holiday season. We’ve been reallllly good this year (kind of).

Flora’s picks:

Le Creuset pan (in Orange)

It came as no surprise to us that our resident gypsy chose this cookware, describing it as “magical”. May the new year bring numerous helpings of “magical” risotto to our plates.


Christian Louboutin Declic black pumps

“So high. So sexy. I could never wear these in San Francisco, but I’ve always wanted one pair of ridiculously expensive, impractical shoes.”

Ramya’s picks

Personalized stationery from Minted

“I have an obsession with stationery, especially fun, girly prints. Who says snail mail is a thing of the past? I adore getting mail that isn’t bills or catalogs.”

And yes, this Hindu-turned-agnostic still loves Christmas trees, wearing a Santa hat 24/7 and receiving presents in December.

Sony Bravia with Google TV

“Right now, our TV setup involves a receiver from Craigslist hooked up to a 26-inch computer monitor. It feels so 2003. A shiny flat-screen with seamless integration with the web is sorely needed.”

Ramya may be drinking a bit too much Goog-juice but the TV is really slim and pretty – the way we like our men.

Marisha’s picks

Michael Kors Wedges

In the immortal words of Carrie Bradshaw, “Hello lovers! These will.be.mine.”

Vespa scooter

“If I was really, really good this year, I would ask Santa for this. But I wasn’t so I’ll shoot for it next year. Maybe even add a sidecar for my future yellow lab, Gus,” – Marisha

Marisha suitors of the internet, take heed — what she really wants is a yellow lab puppy in a basket with a bow on its head. You can also throw in a Bernese puppy for Katie.

 

Katie’s picks:
“OMFG is it going to be a sweet xmas if Santa brings me all or any of the items on my list.”

Hunter Wellies
“I have finally found my perfect rain boot, and obvi, they hail from my Royal ancestors in the United Kingdom.  If there’s one thing England has a good grasp on, besides a pint and shepherds pie, it is rain gear.  I am partial to the Original Tall Metallic in Midnight Blue.”

 

4th AMENDMENT UNDERWEAR
“Can’t wait to walk through a body scanner wearing these… “

 

What’s on your holiday wish list? Leave your picks in the comments.

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Filed under Fashion, Flora, Katie, Marisha, Ramya, Style, Tech

Getting Real about saying goodbye

RIP, Old Friend

I loved him.  I really did.  Sure, I haven’t heard from him in over ten years.  And, sure, we may have had our differences:  He was having trouble adjusting to the changing of the times and was set in his ways.  But, I loved him.  I loved the soft humming of his motorized heart.  I loved the way he used to mimic Alvin and the Chipmunks.  I loved it all.

I can’t believe he’s gone.  And they way he had to go… it makes me shudder.  Sure, he may have felt neglected and marginalized, but it didn’t mean I didn’t have a place for him in my heart.  Even though I would probably never hear from him again.  And even when I did hear from him, it would be muted and garbled.  Regardless, he was a part of my childhood and made me feel so much cooler than anyone else.

On October 25, 2010, Walkman was murdered by his father, Sony.  He was 31 years old, was survived by his equally obsolete brother, Discman, and no one could give two shits.

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Getting Real about the evolution of the working man

Drinking in Suits – Mildly Rich 1960s

Don Draper of Mad Men

Drinking in Suits – Super Rich 1980s

Gordon Gekko of Wall Street

Drinking in Sweatpants – Super Rich 2k10s

Mark Zuckyberg of the facebook.com

After finally seeing The Social Network last night I started thinking about the evolution of the working man.

The 1960s and the corner office on Madison Avenue.  Shall I make that a double Mr. Draper?  “Cut me off at three”.

Ah the glamorous life of being an Ad Executive: expense accounts, hot secretaries, and the African American hired help for your wife that doesn’t work.

Maybe you treat yourself to a new Cadillac (German cars conjure more images of book burning than class for Grandpa) and take the family upstate for the weekend.  Oh what’s that?  Just got a call from the office. A big client seen having drinks with a rival agency?  You hop the train back to the city, and offer to meet those bastards for second drinks at the Plaza Hotel.  Second thought, you get a room at the Plaza and bang the receptionist instead. I heard abortions were like $60 bucks then – hell, that looks like a couple steaks on the expense report! Who wouldn’t want to carry on the family tradition of pitching jingles to Kraft?

But your Dad was an Ad Man, and he kissed a lot of ass so you could buy better weed and follow the Dead for two years.  There has to be a better way… that’s right: Wall Street.  No better place to put that Philosophy degree from Columbia (and Dad’s connections) to good use than the bond markets. In the time it took Gramps to get out of bed you just blew an 8 ball, shorted GM stock, and bought an island made of plastic bottles and garbage that washed up six miles from Maui (5 points for buoyancy!).  But man, that collar must be getting pretty itchy.  And the jackets.  Christ, can someone turn the AC up around here? Sure the money’s good, the hookers even better.  But the ties! The charity events! Wingtip shoes! There has to be a better way to get rich without sacrificing the comfort.
Flash forward to the new millenium.  70% of your sophomore class declared a major in finance and they sky’s the limit!  Dad sold that island off of Maui right before an Inconvenient Truth came out and made a killing!  Fuck you Gore! But what’s that?  Your trust fund dissapeared? You can’t even find an internship?  Shit. You need a gameplan fast. Time to switch that major to computer science.  Sure, the girls are a lot ugler, but you know what cash can buy?  Mad pussy.

So much for those suckers that interned for Lehman Bros: you just spent the last 3 months of your life coding a new virtual game where you can buy and sell rare ostrich eggs the same way your Dad traded sub-prime mortgages and credit-default swaps.  But what about connections?  Anyone know a VC firm in Palo?  Fortunately for you, the guy serving your In & Out Double-Double (animal style, obvi) tells you he sells ecstasy to a guy at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.  Must be your lucky day.  You roll into the meeting hungover in flip flops and a Patagonia fleece.  No tie, no problem (love you SF).  Tom Perkins gives you an angel investment of 2 million dollars in exchange for keeping his little habit on the DL and the In-&-Out guy owns 10% of your company.  Fuck it, that’s a small price to pay for a life without socks.

You never thought you would retire at 25 but you just did.  You don’t really care though because you are trying to open up a new level on World of Warcraft.  You also just recycled a letter from an attorney stating two guys from the Stanford Lacrosse team are suing you for stealing their idea for “Farm Town”.

evolution of man graph booze to flip flops

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Getting Real about ‘The Social Network’

So earlier this week I was standing in the coffee shop near my work anxiously waiting for my americano when I saw fliers for a free early screening of The Social Network (with a cast Q&A to follow). While I had little interest in seeing the movie, they had me at ‘free’. I didn’t really have any expectations going in, although I did get pretty excited when I saw Jesse Eisenburg standing outside the theater doors and couldn’t help but stare at him (actively suppressing the urge to says something stupid) while I was getting padded down by security. I looked around eagerly for JT, but alas he was not there. He was probably too busy shopping with Jessica Biel and making guest appearances on SNL, whatevs.

Celebrity sightings aside, the movie itself was really well done. The plot moves seamlessly between Zuckerburg’s coinciding court depositions (he was at once being sued by his best friend, and his classmates who claimed he has stolen the idea for facebook from them) to scenes recounting the events leading up to the hearings. Highlights include:

The writing — the dialogue is razor sharp and chock-full of witty quips that had me actually laughing out loud. (Movie) Zuckerburg sure is an asshole, but hey, assholes can be pretty funny (in an asshole kind of way).

Great cast of mostly newcomers —
Jesse Eisenburg being a definite stand out. We knew he was good at playing the socially awkward teen and the rambling nerd (the two often times overlapping) but this performance takes it to a new (much more nuanced) level. Sorry Michael Cera, a career can only last so long playing plain old awkward, I think you peaked with Arrested Development.

Trent Reznor’s original score lends each scene the perfect amount of intensity.

The geek factor — scenes where programmers are doing competitive coding while taking shots every 3 minutes, and also what movie about math/programming/science is complete without a scene where the main character is working out an algorithm on a window sill. Don’t these people own whiteboards? Notebooks? No? Ok.

The opening scene — really exposes Mark Zuckerbug’s insecurities and (arguably) his motivations, and most notably his utter lack of social graces. It was a rapid fire of one cringe-worthy remark after the other culminating in his girlfriend calling him an asshole and walking away.

So the question arises, is Mark Zuckerburg really that big of an asshole? Zuckerberg is obviously not thrilled about the release of the movie and “coincidentally” will be making a rare public appearance on Oprah that same day to make a 100 million dollar donation to Newark’s public schools. Can somebody say publicity stunt?

After the screening Alan Sorkin was asked about the truth factor and responded that all content in the movie is based on well documented, true events except for the little details and exchanges between characters (or people) where there is no way of knowing what actually occurred. It was not his intention to have the audience side with any particular character, though it was hard to feel sympathy for Zuckerberg until the very last scene. Sorkin notes that it’s in this scene that Zuckerberg’s character goes from being the anti-hero to the tragic hero. However this scene, the one and only time we witness a vulnerable side of Zuckerberg as he sits alone after the deposition is over, also happens to fall into the category of details Sorkin had to have made up because he had no way of knowing what actually occurred. So it’s quite possible to leave the movie theater believing Zuckerberg in fact is a gigantic ass. Tragic indeed.

I guess that’s Hollywood -1 , Zuckerberg – 0 (plus 23 billion that is).

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Getting Real about a new phone

So after three years of owning one of the worst phones of all time, I am finally looking into an upgrade. It seems that everyone has an opinion on the best phone out there but two names keep popping up: HTC EVO 4g and iPhone 4. I started researching the differences, comparing plans and deciding what will work best for my work/play needs when I came across this little gem of a video. Of course, in the short time it has been out, many other similar spoofs have been added for the iPhone lovers.  Enjoy!

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