On “nice guys”

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Sep 012014

…the dumb quality of his love annoyed her. Many men had looked at her that way, and she was not flattered by it. They wanted to pretend, such men, that they were different, that she was different, and that what might happen between them would be different than it would ever be. They wanted to pretend that they wanted pretty dresses and smiles, when what they really wanted was for her to lay down under them. That was the real wish beneath all the pretty wishes men had. And when she was under them, they could look down and pretend something pretty was happening, but she would look up and only see a dumb face above her, strained, dishonest, and anything but pretty.

—Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove

May 152012

As you may have surmised from the previous post, my job search ended recently, and yes, I will still be residing in the northeastern United States. However, I will not be in Boston. Starting in July, I am going to be the manager of the structural biology core facility at Brown University, so I’ll be moving to Providence.

This is really exciting for me. Structural biology is an area that Brown wants to grow, and we’re going to be getting some great new equipment to help that happen. Before I even start, they’re installing a new Rigaku instrument for X-ray crystallography and SAXS, and this fall they will be installing a new high-field Bruker NMR spectrometer with a cryoprobe (to complement an existing 500/cryo). The equipment is going to be top-notch, and I think there will be lots of opportunities for groups at Brown and in the surrounding area to use this facility to expand their research programs.

I certainly hope they take advantage, because I love structural biology and think these techniques are incredibly useful research tools. Also, a broad user base is key to keeping facilities like this solvent.

Providence is too far to commute (at least for me), but it’s not that far from Boston in real terms, especially given the rail connection. I expect to be back in Beantown relatively often, for visits to the Gardner, concerts, and the occasional massive exposition full of amazing indie games. Of course, if there are some expositions full of amazing indie games in Providence, I am up for that, too.

So farewell, Boston! I will be slightly more distant from you in the future.

My name… [ROWR!] is Keith Stone

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Oct 192011

After that last rant, I got the thought that I shouldn’t be so negative. After all, maybe these ad executives just need some guidance. There is a way to make the “manliness” angle work in advertising without being patronizing to men, insulting to women, and an all-around irritant to everybody. An example is the Keith Stone commercials from Keystone Light, one of which is below.

Now, Keystone Light isn’t a beer I’d normally choose to drink, but I always remember the name, which shows that these commercials are effective. They’re also funny, in a way that plays off the “manliness” of Keith Stone without really being insulting to anyone. The commercials have a ’70s vibe that allows them to present a scruffy-looking dude as a male paragon, without indulging in any of the misogyny or male panic that infects other advertisements and shows using this theme. The campaign also recognizes that light beer isn’t macho no matter how “manly” you try to make it seem, and so it winks at the idea with its various scenarios.

Arguably the Miller Lite “man up” commercials are also doing this. The difference is that every single person in the Miller Lite ads is a repellent asshole. The Keith Stone character, however, generally comes across as a nice guy who wants to help a lady out. That doesn’t mean these ads are perfect, but they’re a much more pleasant way of marketing through manliness than the odium we’re being subjected to from other advertisers.

Sep 232011

I noticed this on the back of the Domino’s sugar box in the lunch room on my floor:

Sugar is a 100% natural simple carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are an important part of any balanced diet. Sugar contains no fat or cholesterol and has 15 calories per teaspoon.

So yes, someone is trying to argue that sugar is a health food, now. Kids, take note!