Faisal Shahzad’s Headline Photo is Sourced from Orkut

A screenshot of Faisal Shahzad's image on NYTimes.com, as sourced from Orkut.com

The recent creation of Facebook Open Graph opened a whole new can of worms regarding privacy on social networks. Now more than ever, the world is all a-buzz about privacy.Β But what about privacy for criminal suspects?

Faisal Shahzad, the suspect who admitted to attempting to explode a bomb in Times Square on May 1st, has been pictured across multiple news sites. Most of the pictures being used to depict the suspect are from Orkut and Facebook, social networking sites that Mr. Shahzad maintained profiles on. From a quick search on both sites, I couldn’t seem to find his profiles. But somehow, news agencies have managed to locate his photos and post them alongside the latest headlines.

How could an individual with a plan to unleash bombs in Times Square leave his online social presence completely unprotected from the media? Was he oblivious to the fact that his photos might some day be shared on national television and across the web without his authorization after his attempts at mass destruction? Or did he actually unknowingly give authorization to both sites to share his content with the world? Were the privacy settings too difficult to understand?

Maybe it was just that the default settings said, “Yes! Please obliterate my right to privacy,” and Mr. Shahzad didn’t realize it. Whatever the reason, I am amused to see “Orkut.com” as the source of these photos.

What are your thoughts on news sites sourcing Orkut and Facebook for photos? Do you think there are any privacy implications?

Frank Cornelissen Wines

Frank Cornelisen Munjebel 5 (Rosso and Bianco)

My favorite vineyard represented at the 2010 New York Wine Expo was Frank Cornelissen‘s Sicilian vineyard.

Approaching Cornelissen’s table at the Expo, I immediately felt welcomed by his calm demeanor. Unlike other vintners at the expo, he wasn’t antsy to get on with his sales pitch. Instead, he seemed genuinely interested in each attendees’ comments on his wines. He was a conversationalist with a knack for answering questions. In fact, I learned quite a bit about his wines in just a small chat with him. Cornelissen’s wines are best described as extreme wines produced in a non-interventionalist manner. He prunes away all unripe grapes, ages the wine in terracotta vases buried under volcanic rock and refrains from adding sulfur dioxide. Check out the detailed description of Cornelissen’s method atΒ Wineanorak.com.

My first reaction to his wines was a surprise at the unique colors. The white wines, including the Munjebel 4, were cloudy and dark goldenrod in color. I later learned that the gold color was attributed to the fact that Munjebel was vinified like Cornelissen’s red wines, in full and long skin-contact to extract its territorial identity. On the other hand, the reds at the table were deep in color, leaning towards auburn and brownish-red colors. Truly distinct.

Upon tasting the wines, I first noticed the distinct presence of the terroir, the geographical characteristics of the wine. Cornelissen explained that the vineyards are located on Mount Etna at about 3,000 feet. I now get a sense of why he may have picked the name “Munjebel” — the mountain’s Arabic name isΒ Jebel Utlamat (the Mountain of Fire), being that it is the largest active volcano in Europe. And thus, “Jebel” seems to be a hint as to the choosing of “Munjebel”, but I’m still not sure what “Mun” means. Anyone out there have an answer?

To say the least, Frank Cornelissen’s wine are the most unique and curious set of wines I have tasted. Being excited about their specialness, I purchased a bottle of Munjabel 5 Rosso for a “thank you for hosting me” gift last month. I was happy to find that the wines are available at Crush Wines & Spirits in Midtown, including Cornelissen’s famous Magma red wine. I had the distinct pleasure of enjoying the Magma at the Wine Expo. It was an experience that will not soon escape my memory. If you haven’t already tried it, put it on your bucket list.

Crush Wines & Spirit 153 East 57th Street in New York, NY

I $ The Price is Right

Custom screen printed "I $ TPIR" T-Shirts

On March 17th, my friends (Maria and Parker) and I will attempt to be chosen as contestants on The Price is Right, the popular American game show based on pricing consumer goods. We’ve been studying the TV show, iPhone app and Wii video game to figure out what makes a good contestant. We’ve narrowed it down to three categories:

1.) Knowledge of retail prices. This sure helps if you want to make it to the Showcase Showdown for a chance to win a brand new caaaaaaaaar!

2.) Enthusiasm. The key to being chosen as a contestant is having a genuine enthusiasm and love for TPIR. Flaunt it!

3.) An awesome custom shirt. Nothing says enthusiasm like preparing for the stage by creating your very own custom t-shirt. Maria did a bit of research on The Best Price is Right T-Shirts and reported back to the team. A truly spirited (and awesome) t-shirt should be bright and creative.

Our team brainstormed for a while, and we came up with “I $ TPIR”, with our nicknames on the backs. What does “I $ TPIR” really mean? We’re really not sure what “dollar sign” as a verb really signifies. But we’re hoping it will bring us luck and the chance to play Plinko on the big stage!

Some of you may be wondering how you can create your very own custom t-shirts for TPIR. Well, let me make a recommendation. If you’re in New York City, don’t go anywhere else other than Star Screening. Located in Brooklyn (at 6409 14th Ave. – Phone: 718.234.4190 – Email: starscreening@msn.com – Fax: 718.234.4201), Star Screening is owned by Giovanni D’Onofrio. They do all types of screenprinting, including shirts, caps, jackets, bags, uniforms… you name it, they do it. Their work is of the highest quality at the best prices.

Check out some pictures of Star Screening below. When I picked up our TPIR shirts, I was able to take a quick tour of the screen printing area. Since I had never seen automatic screen printing machines, it was a new experience. I’m sending a special thanks to the crew for the tour! And last but not least, thank you to Carmine and Giovanni for making these shirts possible!

Star Screening

A Star Screening Employee Using the Manual Screen Printing Press

Two Employees Using the Automatic Screen Printing Press

Screen Printing Conveyor Dryer Oven

Even My Favorite Pizza Parlor is on Twitter

While visiting Artichoke Pizza this week, I noticed that they have really poured on the Twitter advertising since the last time I’ve been there. There was a beat-up white board outside the pizza shop, advertising their 32 ounce Bud beers (to stay or go – not quite sure if that’s actually legal…) along with their Twitter account, @ArtichokePizza. Inside, they had multiple pizza boxes imploring pizza-hungry customers to follow them on Twitter.
Well, I must say that it worked on me! I pulled out my phone, looked them up on Twitter and followed them on the spot! I wonder if they’re now taking orders by tweet!

Photo Inclusion in Schmap NY Guide

A photo that I took at the Bloomberg SP09 summer party was recently published in the Schmap New York Guide. The photo was featured in the Randall’s Island section (because the Bloomberg party took place there) and showcased my friend, John Wood, playing a frog-throwing game. Don’t worry, the frogs were made of rubber! Here’s a close-up for all you Randall’s Island / John Wood fans!

Make a Dent in the World Water Crisis!

Dear Friends,

I’m trying to help put a dent in the world water crisis and I need your help. I’ve created three projects via charity:water, each with a goal of raising $5,000, enough funds to build a water well in a community in need of clean water. I’m asking that all of my friends and family find it in their hearts to donate, as there are millions of people without the basic need of water.

I’ve made three funds to match my friends’ interests:

1.) NYU Fund: For all of my NYU friends that want to make a difference. This fund goes towards helping bring water to schools in need of it. Have some school pride and donate today at http://new.charitywater.org/nyufund.

2.) NYC Fund: For the city known for its water towers, atop every building. This fund is for all the New Yorkers who care about delivering clean water to people in need. Donate now at http://new.charitywater.org/nyc.

3.) Erica & Weikai’s 2nd Anniversary: Today is the 2nd anniversary of dating for Weikai and me! In celebration, we’re asking all of our friends and family to find it in their hearts to donate to the millions without water. We’re lucky enough to have been born in societies with an overabundance of water. Let’s give back. Donate now at http://new.charitywater.org/EricaandWeikai.

With all of my love and best wishes for you and yours!

Michael Jackson’s Last Dance at the Apollo: Impersonators, Love Letters, News Crews and Tchotchkes

Above: The most popular Michael Jackson vigil in New York City last night was at the Apollo in Harlem, where a spirited tribute was paid to the late “King of Pop”.

Above: Michael Jackson fans danced to his beats all night long at the Apollo. This photo was taken at around 2:00 a.m. on Friday morning. The Apollo festivities began during the early news of Jackson’s death on Friday afternoon.

Above: Coined “DJ Standpipe” by the guy in the hat on the left, this Jackson fan played “what the people want to hear” all night across from Apollo Theater.

Above: A video of the Apollo Theater Michael Jackson tribute dance party in action.

Above: A well-received Michael Jackson impersonator with someone I think looks like LL Cool J.

Above: CNN Senior U.N. Correspondent Richard Roth (also an NYU grad) reported live from the Apollo in Harlem.

Above: Four cardboard boxes were taped in the entrance of the Apollo, where fans poured their hearts out to Jackson, leaving both notes of peace and love.

Above: Finding space on the cardboard memoir was difficult for late-comers.

Above: Another Michael Jackson impersonator appeared in Times Square. Less welcomed than the impersonator at the Apollo, this guy stood awkwardly in a sea of camera-happy tourists. A group of angry fans approached him at one point for his tasteless act. I feared that he was on the verge of getting beat up.

I stayed at The New York Times building until 11:30pm last night after work, staying updated on the latest news on Michael Jackson’s shocking death. By around 10pm, I had a game plan. I learned of the two vigil sites by then. One took place at Times Square outside the recently-closed Virgin Records Megastore. After hearing about it, I highly publicized that one on Twitter and Facebook, to get the word out.

Shortly after, it occurred to me that the Apollo Theater in Harlem HAD to be the most spirited MJ vigil in NYC. Why? The Apollo is where he first performed as a 9-year-old boy with The Jackson 5. It is also where the band won the coveted Apollo Amateur Night award in 1969.

Weikai (my boyfriend) and I decided to check it all out. After a brief visit to Times Square, where we saw an awkwardly still Michael Jackson impersonator, we headed to Harlem. Exiting the subway, we heard MJ music blaring from many passing cars. The two-block walk to Apollo was pretty eventless, but upon arriving we heard music from various sources filling the air, saw a much more graceful and tasteful impersonator, spotted a few news crews (including CNN), witnessed fans signing a piece of cardboard in memory of Jackson, and passed by a few tchotchke-sellers.

Within about 20 minutes, I even saw my supervisor, Soraya, who directed me a few blocks away from the Apollo where hyped-up fans were chanting “Michael, Michael, Michael…”. A few minutes after arriving to the new site of fans, it was broken up by the NYPD who told the fans to go around the corner (out of the street) to a safer place.

By that time, it was nearly 2:30a.m. and Weikai and I were getting sleepy. I left feeling like I had witnessed a part of history — a moment in time that many will remember for years to come.