Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dudes of Cancer: Monsieur June

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is a genius. He co-founded Apple in the ‘70s, was basically booted out of his own company in the ‘80s, and was brought back when Apple purchased Jobs’ new company, NeXT Computer, during Apple’s unprofitable years in the ‘90s. Since then, he has taken Apple to enormous heights: $37b in revenue (Fortune rank: 56); $6b in profits (rank: 26); and $209b in market value (rank: 3).

For the record, I am not a fan of Apple and talk shit about the company when it doesn’t make me look like a total idiot. Apple products are overpriced and overly restricted. I want to download my music for about $0.99 less than what iTunes charges, in most any format, and not have to worry about importing or exporting anything. My eight gigabyte SanDisk player cost me $90 brand new and syncs perfectly with Windows Media Player, and probably MediaMonkey, as well.

I’ll stick with my Windows-based PC. It cost a fraction of a Mac computer, is compatible with everything, and has a fucking right-click.

The iPhone is, admittedly, awesome, but I will stand by my boys at Google and happily show off my Droid Eris. As impressive as the iPhone 4 is, I bet a Droid comes along very soon that kicks the shit out of it (think Incredible, no wait…Evo, no wait…X, no wait…the next hot shit Droid phone that will inevitably arrive).

Apple restricts information and usability. Google wants the whole world to be accessible and free (at least so long as AdSense and AdWords continue dominating internet advertising, of course). It is creepy how Google places targeted ads in Gmail based on the content of my messages, and how my Droid immediately syncs with Facebook and Gmail. In fact, my contact list now somehow contains phone numbers of people I haven’t spoken to in ten years. And I believe Google knows enough information (think passwords, bank account numbers, etc.) to take over the world, but surely that would never happen (think Die Hard 4).

As well as being a genius, Steve Jobs is a dick. He reportedly throws temper tantrums and berates employees. But he is also a cancer survivor. He keeps his medical record private, which I commend him for. But it is believed that he developed a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004, which is often a very deadly disease. In 2009, he secretly received a liver transplant in Tennessee for what was likely a cancer recurrence in the form of liver cancer. It was reported that he may have cheated to get higher on the donor list, but sometimes to survive you have to say “fuck it,” even if that means someone else on the list dies in your place.

Good luck with your new phone and iPad, Stevie, even though that doesn’t support flash and isn’t quite in full HD. Your tablet may do everything else in the world, but those extra few pixels are clearly make-or-break for me.
Young Steve Jobs holding an apple

*Update October 6, 2011: Steve died yesterday as a result of cancer.

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Aloha: The Lost Stories and Photos

Six months after our trip to Hawaii, Greek finally provided me his digital photos. He tossed in a one gigabyte flash drive for good measure. It then took my lazy ass another four months to post some of his photos to my blog.

As I relaxed in my beach chair listening not to Justin Bieber but surely music nearly as awesome, JD, Greek, and NoCommonSense kayaked to two small islands.

Kayaking in Hawaii

NoCommonSense took off in shame after being dominated by a wave, but his follies continued. When they reached the second island, he tipped over his kayak spilling the GCBs (Good Cold Beers). Regardless, the island party continued. (Doesn't this look like Lost, anyone?)
Resting on Waikiki beach

On our way to the North Shore, we stopped by a popular turtle hangout. Turtles are amongst my favorite animals. Zeke and I found one when we were kids and named him Wolfy. We probably saw 50 more over the next decade, and named them Wolfy 2, 3, 4, etc. In truth, I can't tell if these are Wolfys or rocks.
Sea turtles beach on North Shore

I tried teaching Greek the way of the sunscreen. He listened after his skin was replaced by a stiff coat of sand.
Sunburned legs in Waikiki, Hawaii

Hurricane Felicia was talking shit, but couldn't back it up.
Hurricane Felicia raining in Hawaii

I love hand-me-downs, even ones from the mid 90s featuring Hare Jordan—though the t-shirt would be better with one or two Wolfys. Yes, I do wear this shirt in public. I'm pretty sure I possess at least one triple-hand-me-down.
Benjamin Rubenstein wearing Hare Jordan shirt

USS Wahoo plaque in Hawaii

Our boat trip to Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island was spectacular in retrospect—at the time, my seasickness made it horrendous.
Visiting Kilauea Volcano by boat in Hawaii

JD had no problem.
Holding molten lava from Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii

Greek had no problem.
Holding molten lava from Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii

I turned a different color and felt like death.
Holding molten lava from Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii

NoCommonSense was worse.
Holding molten lava from Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii

The photo of the four of us is frame-worthy, but only after eliminating color—and thus my and NoCommonSense's green-yellow tinge.
Benjamin Rubenstein with brother and friends at Kilauea Volcano

Back on land, NoCommonSense getting ready to puke.
Getting seasick after boat ride to Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii

NoCommonSense puking.
Getting seasick after boat ride to Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii

NoCommonSense puking some more.
Getting seasick after boat ride to Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii

We went to bed around midnight before heading to the volcano, and woke up around 2:30 am. After being awake for about 37 of the previous 40 hours, a certain somebody may have dozed off standing up at a bar.
sleeping at a bar

It could've been worse: I could've been this dog, Kona. That is one sickeningly ugly little bastard.
Ugly, stray dog at North Shore in Hawaii

Leia Mais…

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Kid Grows Up

Read this first:
Griffey the Kid

Outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr.
I’m not writing about Ken Griffey, Jr.’s lackluster performance as of late. Though natural, it is always sad when our heroes deteriorate with age. I’m also not discussing his reported snoozing incident—all players probably doze off from time to time, some games can be boring to watch, and how that became newsworthy is beyond me.

I don’t want to get into “what ifs,” as in how many homers would Griffey have if he had never gotten hurt? 750? 800?

Performance-enhancers aren’t on the agenda either, despite his name never being linked. If juicing meant that Bonds was disqualified from career leaderboards, then Griffey’s 630 home runs would put him fourth all-time behind Aaron, Ruth and Mays. I actually wish he had taken HGH—then maybe the second half of his career wouldn’t have been so riddled with injury. Performance-enhancers have enormous medical value, and I wouldn’t be surprised if ten years from now they become an accepted practice to heal damaged tissue.

Reading through several articles about Griffey this morning saddened me. I was a small boy when I adopted him as my favorite athlete, and a twenty-something when he finally retired yesterday after 22 years in the Majors. He has been part of my life since I had a memory. I truly cannot imagine baseball without him. It will not be the same.

“The Kid” was one of my biggest role models, teaching me life lessons over the years. Hard work—he caused some of his own injuries because he leaped and dove for every ball in center field. Priorities—he left Seattle in 2000 because he wanted to be closer to his family. Perseverance—he continued to play despite his 20 surgeries.

I mostly felt sad for him. No matter how hard he prayed to stay 25 years old—or how wide he smiled or how straight he wore his backwards hat—time moved on and took him with it. At 40 and with a teenage son, he was demoted to a dugout bench next to teammates younger than me. Baseball was his life. I’m sure he feels very hurt, and his wounded pride may take a while to heal. I hope he knows how much he meant to me and so many others who idolized him.

Because of Griffey, I was clearly a Mariners fan growing up. When he was traded to the Cincinnati Red, I switched allegiance to the Orioles, my then-local team. (Though, I still watched Griffey play on DirecTV Extra Innings. His swing was more beautiful than Bar Refaeli in a Donovan McNabb Redskins jersey.)

Now, the Orioles are in their 13th consecutive losing season. Their record stands at 15-39, the worst in baseball. In the past, I could watch Griffey no matter how shitty his team was. I am a very loyal person and sports fan, but I can honestly say that I’m approaching my threshold with Baltimore. They have ruined baseball for me this summer. I can only bask in the memory of grilling two hot dogs outside on my parents’ grill and flipping through the channels to find my hero.

There may come a time soon when I consciously decide to adopt a new favorite team. I understand that is taboo at my age. With the Orioles a perennial disaster and The Kid now a middle-aged man leaving the game behind, I just want my summers back.

Leia Mais…