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?

5 Date Tricks To Make Him Want You

Maura Kelly from Marie Claire wrote this list of Five Subliminal Tricks To Try On A Date that I wanted to share with you. If you’re worried about how to get from Date #1 to Date #2, this cheat sheet may help.

1. Reach out and touch.

Being touched by someone, even briefly and unintentionally, increases liking for the person. Men love it when a girl laughs and touches their shoulder.  We have no idea why.  Make it seem accidental or natural, like touching his hand briefly and saying, “I know!” will definitely get his mojo rising.

2. Get the dude to hold a hot cup of joe.
According to Ruud Custers, a psychology professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, research has shown that when you get someone to hold a cup of coffee, he will see you as a warmer person whereas the opposite is true for anyone holding a cold drink. It’s a weird association thing, but basically if one thing is hot, then it’s easy to assume everything in the situation is hot.  Including the date.  So pretend you’ve got to get something out of your bag and ask him to hold your coffee for a minute.

3. Be smooth. (Or soft. Or fluffy.)
A very recent study published in the Science journal found that when participants were asked to work together to assemble puzzles, they would say that cooperating with their partners went less “smoothly” if their puzzle pieces were covered with sanding paper. See? It’s that crazy word-association stuff again. In other words, go to a restaurant or bar where the chairs and couches feel good, or wear a smooth or soft sweater.  Ask us to touch it.

4. Imitate him.
Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. A study out of Raboud University, in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, found that waitresses who simply repeated the orders of their customers back to them received larger tips. Occasionally repeat something your date says and ask, “Is that right?” or some other comment.  Don’t play the Shadow Game.

5. Make sure he’s in a place full of things he likes.
More association stuff!  Ruud just finished a study about how if we are in a place (like a bar) in which there is a stimulant (like a band) that another person finds pleasurable, he will come to associate the pleasure of that stimulant with the people around him. So stalk his Facebook profile, and take him to see a band or a club that plays his kind of music, or maybe see a movie that he’s likely to be a fan of.

The truth?  Men are simple creatures.  If we have fun on a date, whether it’s because of the other person or not, then we’ll assume the other person had something to do with it.  “I had a really good time last night” could have nothing to do with you, but the psychology of it is that he’ll (and you’ll) interpret it as “I had a really good time last night with you.”

Top 5 music artists ‘Glee’ should feature on an episode

Glee“Glee” is the hottest thing to happen to music-on-TV since “American Idol” (when it peaked around Season 5). The music is awesome, but let’s be honest, it’s not a particularly great show – most of the actors can’t really act, and there’s so many characters that it’s hard to be loyal to any storylines. When I do watch, all I can think is get to the music performances already.

Their covers of Queen and Journey have been great, but the best episodes are the ones featuring a single artist’s catalog: Madonna, Lady Gaga and most recently Britney Spears. (Brittany doing Britney? Genius.)  Joey Fatone recently tweeted that he’d like to see an episode with NSync’s music, including “Bye Bye Bye” and “It’s Gonna Be Me.”  Some other rumors and ideas I’ve heard include Stevie Wonder & Bon Jovi.

What other artists should “Glee” use for an episode?  Here’s my Top 5 votes:

5. Michael Jackson
I only put this at #5 because it’s an obvious choice.  They’re already doing a Rocky Horror episode for Halloween, so we don’t need “Thriller,” but how about “ABC,” “I Want You Back,” “Billie Jean,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and “She’s Out Of My Life” – Mr. Schuester could sing “Remember The Time.”  YES.

4. James Brown
It’s high time the cast of “Glee” brought some soul.  And some funk.  Choice cuts would be “Please Please Please,” “It’s A Man’s World,” “Sex Machine,” “Try Me,” “Get Up Offa That Thing,” and “I Got You (I Feel Good).”

3. Spice Girls
If they can do Britney, they should definitely do the Spice Girls.  Do you even remember how many great pop songs they had?  “2 Become 1,” “Say You’ll Be There,” “Viva Forever,” “Spice Up Your Life” and (of course) “Wannabe.”  Maybe there could be a guest star as an exchange student from England, and her parents are Posh Spice & David Beckham or something.

2. The Who
The show covers many genres, but lacks in true rock music the most. Given that The Who wrote Tommy, the greatest rock opera (sorry, Green Day) and has many songs perfect for teenage wasteland anthems like “Baba O’Riley” and “My Generation,” this has serious potential for “Glee.”

1. George Michael
Yeah, he’s a bad boy, but he’ll be out of jail in 8 weeks – plenty of time to tape a cameo for a season finale… Sue Sylvester would eat him up.  Just tell me you wouldn’t love to see an episode with “Faith,” “I Want Your Sex,” “Freedom,” “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Careless Whisper.”

What other artists should be featured on “Glee”?  Leave a comment!