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Lip-sync battles, real-life Monopoly and more in this week’s Staff Picks

Staff picks 09_28_2013

natt garunNatt Garun: NYMag editorial reminds me why I’d never quit New York

Every season, a fresh batch of young journalist hopefuls flock to New York City, hoping to make it in our increasingly connected and growing media industry. An article this week in New York Magazine’s ‘The Cut’ section highlights a 20-something writer who moved to the Big Apple to do just that, only to leave 18 months later when she found that life in the city is not as the movies romanticize. “Why would I want to make it there when I can make it everywhere else?” she ponders. “Many young journalists write to me with the same postgraduation conundrum: They know they need in-person connections and experience to jump-start their careers, but the entire media industry is located in a city that is prohibitively expensive and socially challenging … Your early twenties are going to suck no matter what.”

In two weeks, I will turn 24 years old, but I couldn’t help but feel a completely lack of sympathy or empathy for the author. It’s not that I don’t believe New York is a tough place – it’s extremely harsh – but coming here expecting life to work out like a romance novel was the writer’s first mistake. Sure, connections help build a career, but talent, ambition, perseverance, and a little bit of luck outshines any phone number Mommy and Daddy could have snuck in your Contacts list before fleeing your hometown.

It’s my last week writing full time for Digital Trends, and to say the article made me reflect is putting it lightly. I identify as a local New Yorker despite having moved here from Bangkok when I was 9. And while my past colleagues may have had some help networking their way to their positions, I come from a family with no connections – and especially not in the media industry. In my past two and a half years of professional tech reporting, I’ve met and worked with some of the most talented writers in the biz. And it’s not because I gave up 18 months into a postgraduate career; it’s because I kept my optimism high, knowing that at the end of the day, no one ever regrets following their passion.

New York may not be where I’ll finally end up in life, but it’s a place that taught me how to strive to succeed. It’s these like-minded, ambitious people that believe in New York – and themselves – that drive us to work even harder just for a taste of the reward we call success.


Ryan FlemingRyan Fleming: Before Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul loved The Price is Right (a lot)

This Sunday marks the series finale of Breaking Bad. After five years, one of the most pivotal, emotional, and consistently excellent television series of all time reaches its intense conclusion, and if you are a fan of the show, you know that there are going to be a lot surprises to come – and probably some heartbreak as well.

The show has maintained a high level of quality throughout its five seasons, and that is due in no small part to the acting, which has deservedly earned the stars multiple honors and awards. One of those actors is Aaron Paul, who plays Jesse. Paul has turned his role into a vehicle for himself, earning two Emmys for Best Supporting Actor (he is one of only five actors to accomplish that), and landing the starring role in the upcoming film Need for Speed. Paul is well on his way to super-stardom – which makes this video all the funnier.

In 2000, fresh off an appearance on Beverly Hills, 90210, Paul was selected as a contestant on The Price is Right, which at the time was hosted by Bob Barker. Paul was… well, he was definitely a fan. A very, very big fan. Check out the video below.

Les ShuLes Shu: Here’s what the Monopoly properties look like today

You may not be aware that the properties from the Monopoly board game were named after real places in Atlantic City unless you took the time to read up on the instructions (yes, there are rules to the game – believe it). While it’s not exactly a big secret, most of us have no clue what these properties actually look like in real life – only what we can imagine from playing the game or watching repeats of Boardwalk Empire. We know that you’re screwed if you land on Park Place, and you’re a slumlord if you own Baltic Avenue.

So, to discover what’s actually at these locations in today’s Atlantic City, Scouting NY’s Nick Carr took his camera down the shore and photographed all the areas mentioned in the game. Cheapo purple-card Mediterranean Avenue looks like what one would suspect (desolate and downscale), while Boardwalk is, of course, the beachfront home to the many casinos. The great part about this project is that Carr took the time to describe all the photos, adding interesting trivia that no Monopoly player would have ever known.


Andrew CoutsAndrew Couts: Check out the check-ins

It always puzzled me why anyone would use Foursquare, an app that essentially tells anyone who wants to know where you are and, perhaps more importantly, where you are not. The whole thing just seems like the equivalent of throwing up a huge sign that says, “I’m not home. Come rob my apartment!” And for what? To become “mayor” of a Krispy Kreme? But after seeing this Foursquare-made time lapse video of all the check-ins logged during 24 hours in New York City, I am at least happy that a lot of people disagree with my assessment. Visualized, this check-in data provides a mesmerizing account of where we go and what we do over the course of a day. You won’t be able to watch it just once.

Jeff Van CampJeff Van Camp: Jimmy Fallon is on fire!

I’m not sure if he’s just excited to dethrone Jay Leno and avenge Conan, or he’s just genuinely getting better at his job, but Jimmy Fallon has been doing some funny-ass stuff lately. A couple weeks ago I wrote about Joking Bad, but lately he’s had some other funny sketches.

This one makes fun of the Internet for using hashtags so much.

And this one has some of the best lip syncing I’ve ever seen. I don’t really watch late night TV these days, but maybe I should?

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