My top 10 favorite posts on syracuse.com (so far)

This week marks my one year anniversary working at syracuse.com — it was in August 2010 that I made the decision to leave radio behind and embark on a new career, and I’ve especially enjoyed the opportunity it’s given me to write more. Among other things I do for syracuse.com, I cover a number of topics including entertainment, technology, social media, Syracuse University, viral videos, Central New York events, business news, concerts coming to CNY (see: Show Patrol), online trends and more.

Here are my top 10 favorite posts that I’ve written in the past year:
10. Why is your mom posting “I like it on the floor” on Facebook?
This was one of my first articles, and I enjoyed raising a little snark over a ridiculous web trend (though for a good cause, to support breast cancer awareness).
9. Did your zodiac sign change? Central New York is having an identity crisis
No, no one’s zodiac sign changed but in January everyone seemed to be freaking out at the “news” that it might have. I collected local reactions on social media, and it became one of the most popular articles I’ve ever written.
8. Syracuse University named No. 12 party school in nation
Princeton Review’s comparison of schools in terms of “partying” always struck me as impossible to quantify, but this was the highest SU had been on the list since before I was an SU student (2002-2005) so current students, alumni and CNY residents all took notice of the new ranking.
7. Is Jennifer Aniston a homewrecker just like Angelina Jolie?
For more than five years, fans of Aniston have praised her acting (which she’s never won an Emmy or Oscar for) mostly out of sympathy after Jolie effectively “stole” her husband. Turns out Aniston basically stole her current boyfriend from another woman, too.
6. Is May 21st the end of the world? How would you spend your last night in CNY?
People mocked Harold Camping’s prediction that May 21 would bring the Rapture, but I wanted to raise a different question. If the world really were to end, how would you spend your last night? I interviewed people in CNY for a video and article and enjoyed hearing their responses.
5. Viral Video of the Day: Baby finds mom blowing nose both terrifying and hilarious
Every day I pick a video that’s gone (or going) viral to write about on syracuse.com — this was the most popular one, and despite my resistance to enjoy baby videos I still find this one hilarious and charming.
4. Michael Jordan’s daughter Jasmine prepares to start college at Syracuse University
This one was interesting because through Twitter I discovered — and subsequently I broke the news — that MJ’s daughter was starting at SU this fall. Some people criticized it for not being “newsworthy,” but the story went insanely viral. TV, radio, and more sites picked up the story, including Huffington Post, Fuse and BET. Jasmine’s number of Twitter followers grew from 2,200 to 3,500 in just days.
3. Who owns the pictures you upload on the web? Probably not you.
I researched copyright ownership rules of photo-sharing sites like Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Twitpic and more — and wanted people (especially professional photographers and models) to realize that posting photos on such sites usually means giving up ownership and allowing them to sell/license your images.
2. Crazy concert riders? K-Rockathon bands demand booze, DVDs, baby wipes and a garden gnome
I also did a photo retrospective of K-Rockathon’s last 15 years and backstage coverage of this year’s event, but I especially enjoyed reading through bands’ backstage demands because I’m a big music geek.
1. AT&T vs. Verizon iPhone – A comparison chart to help you choose [Infographic]
I created my first infographic to help readers pick the best iPhone for their needs. Though Verizon’s data plans are no longer unlimited, the rest of the information is still accurate and relevant today to people choosing smartphone carriers.

Thanks for reading!

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Happy birthday, Freddie Mercury: My top 10 Queen songs


September 5, 2011 would have been Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday. (Happy birfday, Freddie!) The enigmatic Queen singer was 45 when he died of AIDS in 1991, twenty years ago, but he left behind an awesome library of music that few bands have been able to even measure up to. Whether you want to call it operatic rock, vocal metal, or just straight-up classic rock, the music of Queen from 1973 to 1989 was just phenomenal.

Have you ever met someone who says they don’t like Queen? Or doesn’t know their music?? I hope not. If you ever do, you have two options — either shun them for life and never speak to them again, or have them listen to a dozen songs and show them the error of their ways. Start with these ten songs…

My Top 10 Queen Songs:
1. I Want To Break Free
2. Bohemian Rhapsody
3. Under Pressure (with David Bowie)
4. Somebody To Love
5. We Will Rock You
6. Fat Bottomed Girls
7. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
8. Don’t Stop Me Now
9. I Was Born To Love You
10. Stone Cold Crazy

Mercury wrote or co-wrote seven of those ten songs. Of course, usually I write top 5 lists but it’s hard enough to reduce Queen’s music to just 10 great songs. I’d be much more comfortable with a top 25 list, so I could include classics like “Another One Bites The Dust” and “We Are The Champions” and “Let Me Live” and “Killer Queen” and… you get the idea. (I’m not a fan of the Queen + Paul Rodgers or the Queen + Robbie Williams material, but I still respect the musicians’ efforts. It’s just not the same without Freddie.)

By the way, did you know that Freddie’s real name was Farrokh Bulsara? He spent the vast majority of his life in London, England, but he was born in Zanzibar and lived in India for some time. In 2000, when I was 16, I visited London with my family and one of the places we saw was Freddie Mercury’s home where fans have spray-painted the powerful messages of his lyrics along the gate surrounding the house. Here’s a picture of me standing in front of it, next to the title of my favorite Queen song, “I Want To Break Free”:

Freddie Mercury's London home

16-year-old Geoff standing outside Freddie Mercury's London home in 2000. Were those shorts ever fashionable?

My Top 5s of 2010 – the year in music, movies and more

I’m a firm believer in Top 5 lists. It’s a great snapshot of not only what a person likes, but what a person is like. Here’s what I liked in 2010:

Top 5 People to Follow on Twitter in 2010 (that you might not already be following)
1. Tracey Thorn (@Tracey_Thorn)
2. BT (@BT)
3. Kelly Lux (@KellyLux, @SyracuseU)
4. Chris Pinckney (@cpinck)
5. The Kirkegaards (@andCKsays, @RexyMamaK and @BabyRex)
Thorn is the voice behind Everything But The Girl (“Missing”) and still does solo albums, but her tweets are the cutest/funniest things you could expect from a 50-year old woman who loves posting about her kids, TV shows, her DJ husband (formerly the other half of EBTG) and how weird it is to hear remixes of her old songs played during group classes at the local gym. BT tweets about music, his beautiful daughter Kaia, spirituality and genuine positivity. Kelly Lux is the wisest lady in Central New York’s social media clique, and she balances sharing wisdom, interesting stories and local information (she also runs Syracuse University’s Twitter account). Chris Pinckney usually doesn’t post more than 2 or 3 times a day, but he’s always cracking me up with observations like “I wonder if bi-curious cats have to pay double for life insurance.” The Kirkegaards are the proud parents of the too-cute-for-words BabyRex and his Look Who’s Talking-esque inner monologue, but I get a kick out of what mom and dad add to my daily conversation, too.

Top 5 Albums of 2010
1. The Black Keys – Brothers
2. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
3. Scissor Sisters – Night Work
4. Tracey Thorn – Love & Its Opposite
5. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

Eels put out two great albums this year, and I also loved the latest releases from BT, David Gray, Robyn, Bettye Lavette, and Ben Folds’ ambitious co-writing project with Nick Hornby. The most interesting music of 2010 had to be David Byrne & Fatboy Slim’s Here Lies Love, a double-disc mega-collaborative dancefloor-musical ode to Imelda Marcos.
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