I DECLARE VICTORY!

Part 3 of Icelandic volcano humor:

If you’ve been following this blog for the past few days, you’ll know that I’ve virtually declared war on Iceland and its mass travel plan disrupting, economic destruction causing volcano Eyja;dlkfd;afld. First, I borrowed a page from my good friend Stephen Colbert and placed Iceland On Notice. When they wouldn’t back down, I had to turn up the heat and reveal their dirty little secret: that Iceland is really Mordor. Well good news readers, because as of last night, most of European airspace was back up and running again including flights out of Heathrow airport here in London which means one thing:

Yes, it appears the pressure has finally gotten to these frozen consonant lovers and Iceland is finally getting its volcano under control. This could not come fast enough for the European airline industry which has lost a total of 1.1 billion pounds from this fiasco. That’s a lot of weight. Hopefully flights can start returning to their normal schedules soon; in other words delayed for 6 hours instead of 6 days.

You’re welcome Europe.

The Fellowship of the Ring of Fire

The following is another Colbert-style humor piece about the ongoing Icelandic volcanic eruption:

Readers, I am furious. Last weekend, I placed Iceland On Notice for screwing up my travel plans. Now, it appears that instead of heeding my threat to liquidate their entire country, these fiery fear mongers have decided to escalate the situation and spew out a new cloud of ash, simultaneously cancelling my parents’ flight and our trip to Paris. Well, two can play at that game, so I am striking back with a renewed eruption of stern words for Iceland. What I uncover this time will blow your mind.

Yesterday, I was following the media panic attack and I came across this picture of Eyjafjkdfjaj;lksd

At first it looked kind of cool, but then I thought, “Haven’t I seen this somewhere else before?”

Oh my God! Peter Jackson got it wrong: Iceland is Mordor! This is worse than I thought. They’re trying to take over the world! Now I know what you’re skeptical, and at first I didn’t believe it myself. But after taking a deeper look, it all makes sense now. You see, the economic crisis left Iceland with so much debt that they had no choice but to take over their creditors. Part one of that plan is to engulf the world in darkness with their own Mt. Doom. Need more proof? Why is the country so barren? How do we know the Icelandic capital, Reykjavik, isn’t really Minas Morgul. Take a look at this picture of the Church of Hallgrimur.

Remind you of anything?

If Icelandic President Olafur Grimsson isn’t really Sauron in disguise, why is he making the snow boil? Don’t tell me you can’t see the resemblance between Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and Shelob. And how did we not suspect that Björk is an orc, it says it right in her name!

The good news in all this is that at least we now know how to permanently end this ash crisis. All we have to do is cast the One Ring of Power that rules them all into the fires of Eyjafjalldafads.

In order for this plan to work though, we have to act fast. The eye of Sauron is scanning away and it won’t be long before it zeros in on the euro-skeptics.

In the meantime, we’ve also found our solution for reviving air travel: giant eagles.

This is excellent news for the American economy because we are already the leading providers of giant Eagles, from my beloved Baldwin to Andy Reid. Finally we have a made in American product that the rest of the world wants!

Iceland: You’re on Notice!

The following is a fun and mildly satirical post meant soley for the sake of humor:

Well, this was supposed to be my post about all the fun stuff I did in Dublin, but thanks to a certain volcano, I won’t be talking about how pretty the Book of Kells are or how cool it was to drink Guinness at the Guinness Brewery or how friendly the Irish are in general. Nope, because of Eyjafjallajokull, my chances of going to Dublin this year have probably been blown away for good (pun intended) and it leaves me with a lot of anger (as well as a useless Stansted Express return ticket). So I’m going to take a page from my fellow Stev(ph)en, Stephen Colbert and put Iceland On Notice.

Yes readers, the island nation once best known for being easily confused by school children with Greenland has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Over a year and a half ago during the height of the financial crisis, Iceland first made headlines when the collapse of its three major banks threatened to bankrupt the entire country. At one point, the country was ready to liquidate Björk to pay off its debts. Now, as if that episode didn’t induce enough panic into the world, Iceland is at it again, only this time it’s not just toxic debt they’re unleashing on the rest of the world. The continuous eruption of a volcano under the Eyjafjalla…da;kfja;dlkfjdas;lkfl glacier is spewing giant clouds of ash that have been cancelling flights all over Northern Europe since Thursday. Looks like someone fell behind on their volcano default swap payments.

Readers, the timing for this eruption could not be worse. This cloud of terror is not only a buzzkill for the remainder of my spring break travel plans, it is hurting the European airline and tourism industry just as the weather is clearing up and peak travel season is beginning. If this goes on too much longer, many American study abroad students will be stuck in Europe! That’s awful. They have free healthcare here (read: death panels)! And guess who they’re going to kill first (especially if USA beats England in World Cup group play)? It’s not just Americans who are struggling in this crisis. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has had to run his government on an iPad because he’s stuck in the U.S. An iPad! It doesn’t even have a webcam! How is he going to Skype-chat with his cabinet? At least get the man a netbook.

Iceland, this is unacceptable. Didn’t your mother ever tell you to keep your volcanic ash to yourself? Just because no one is taking you up on your offer to see your glaciers and hot springs doesn’t mean you have to the right to take it to them. Also, if you’re going to cause a global travel crisis, at least have a mountain with a name that people can pronounce! Eyjafjallad;lfkdjf? Who came up with that? A three year old at a computer? Hey look, I can speak Icelandic too: “A;dlf f;dalkfjda; daf;lkdjf;ldak eqpioud dflkjda;jbad dfadlfkdjkfjdk!” In fact, I’m surprised your country is called Iceland, and not D;alfkjda-land.

Well Iceland, I’m going to give you one chance to make this right. You know how the old saying goes? “You break it, you buy it.” Well, in this case, “You cancelled my flight, you buy it.” I am proposing we make Iceland pay for all the cancelled flights, economic losses, and broken dreams as long as this second hand volcano smoke is a problem. And if they can’t afford it? We’ll repossess the entire country and each of us will get a piece of the island until Iceland no longer exists. Don’t worry though, I’m sure Goldman Sachs has hedged its bets for that scenario.

2010 Playoffs: Round 1

Well it’s time for the NBA playoffs again and that means its time for me to predict each series round by round. As with this year’s college tournament, I’m going to put up a disclaimer that I haven’t watched many games at all, save for a dreadful stretch of Magic games when I was home over Christmas break. That means don’t expect me to go 13-2 like in years past, but since NBA teams have more continuity than college basketball, I also don’t expect to completely blow it like with March Madness. So without further ado, here are my picks for the first round:

Eastern Conference

Cleveland Cavaliers v. Chicago Bulls: The Bulls barely eked into the playoffs. While I’ve seen some great Derrick Rose highlights and I think he will torch the Cavs, there’s no chance of an upset here. Cleveland in 4.

Orlando Magic v. Charlotte Bobcats: I’m not sure why a lot of people are saying Charlotte’s going to cause trouble for the Magic (looking at you Tim Legler). I simply don’t see Tyson Chandler and Gerald Wallace slowing down the best team from the second half of the season. Orlando in 5.

Atlanta Hawks v. Milwaukee Bucks: This series would be a lot more interesting with Andrew Bogut, but without him, there’s nothing to Fear about the Deer. Atlanta’s way too deep and athletic. Atlanta in 5.

Boston Celtics v. Miami Heat: While I think the “death of the Celtics” talk is a little premature, it is telling that they fell to 4th in the East. That said, I think the Big 3 (Pierce + Rondo + what’s left of Ray and KG) is enough to beat Team Wade (because let’s be honest without him they’re a D-League team). Boston in 6.

Western Conference (this is where it gets more interesting)

LA Lakers v. Oklahoma City Thunder: I have to say I really like the Thunder! A good young team that rebuilt the right way with a freakish star in Kevin Durant that has a legit chance of being better than Lebron in my opinion. However, they’re not ready for the Lakers yet, not without some size in the post. Still, it will be closer than people think because I think the Lakers will come out sluggish. LA in 6.

Dallas Mavericks v. San Antonio Spurs: Yes, the Spurs are old and yes, the Mavs have Haywood to guard Duncan and Marion to guard Ginobili, but I can’t help but like the Spurs here. They’re not as weak as last year and given the past track records of the Spurs (never count them out) and the Mavs (never take them for granted) I’m inclined to go for the upset (although in this year’s Western conference, can anything really be an upset?) San Antonio in 7.

Phoenix Suns v. Portland Trailblazers: I’ve never liked the Suns since the D’Antoni days (even though Jared Dudley is making BC proud) but this is a no brainer. Without Roy, the Trailblazers may make some inspiring runs, but in the end they’re outgunned. Phoenix in 5.

Utah Jazz v. Denver Nuggets: For a while I thought Denver was the second best team in the West, but apparently they’ve slipped a bit. The big question is which team can stay healthy and right now it looks like Utah is coming up with the short end since Boozer is questionable. However, the Jazz are deeper in my opinion and they have more momentum and fewer distractions headed into the postseason. Utah in 6.

Enjoy the games! I’ll try to catch a few myself. Go Magic!

People actually read this blog!

It’s been over a year since I started this blog with the intention of keeping my friends and family informed of my various travels and adventures away from home. Since then, I’ve also branched out into occasionally writing about sports, technology, or anything else that’s on my mind. So sometimes I wonder who, in addition to my family and friends, actually reads this blog. Well I took a recent look at my blog stats and it looks like I may have more influence or popularity than I initially thought. I was especially surprised when I typed in some of my recent search referrals into Google. Under the queries “lse clubs” and “lse student life,” my post on LSE Student Life shows up on page 2 of the results. And if you type in “kings lse rivalry,” you’ll see me right at the bottom of the first page!

At first I thought perhaps these topics aren’t necessarily popular ones on the web and I rank highly on Google’s algorithms by default. However, I typed “spotify p2p” in and my recent review of the music service showed up on page 3! I would expect this topic to be pretty popular, but there it was.

So what do I conclude from this little experiment? First, I’m going to assume that random people to read my blog because friends and family wouldn’t need to search for it. Since this blog isn’t password protected, I knew this was a possibility and hence I’ve always taken care not to write anything that drastically compromises my security and privacy. Second, while I’m surprised by some of my Google rankings, I’m not reading too much into it. Studies have shown that people usually only click on the top 2-3 search results and very few go beyond the first page. However, that is not to say this blog has no influence at all. Consider the LSE Student Life post. It’s not impossible to imagine a prospective LSE student doing a few searches and clicking on some links further down the page that are not related to the school itself. Also, WordPress does have its own internal blog search engine, and I actually think most of my referrals come from that. The point is, I could very well influence someone’s decision to come to LSE or to use Spotify. That’s the power of the Internet people.

Ignorance is Bliss

Well the NCAA Basketball tournament sort of passed me by this year. Not only did I miss most of the games because a lot of the later games started at awkward hours for me, I was in Spain for much of the Sweet 16/Elite 8 rounds. Perhaps it was best because it wasn’t as painful for me to see my bracket disintegrate and I at least have an excuse for getting so many picks wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I have been following some of the story lines and it would’ve been a great story if Butler had won (sorry, rooting for Duke in the championship game is like supporting the beating of puppies and baby seals). However one out of the Final Four is just pathetic. At least I didn’t end up like President Obama, who got all his picks wrong.

As a BC basketball fan, the one story I have been following more closely is the firing of Al Skinner and the subsequent coaching search. It looks like Cornell coach Steve Donahue is going to be our man. Personally I always thought we should’ve played more up tempo with the players we have, and most of our guys didn’t really fit into Skinner’s flex offense. Let ‘s hope this guy can connect with the players especially emerging star Reggie Jackson, who ESPN hinted at in the last line of this article, was a transfer possibility. I don’t know too much about Donahue, but if he can effectively pick up the pace of our offense, draw up a reliable inbounds play, and not kill our future recruiting prospects (wait, what recruiting prospects), I’m a fan. And oh yeah, since you’re coming from the Ivy League I expect you finally have a plan to beat Harvard next season.