Dan Brag dot com

Thoughts and stories from a business student.

Fitbit One and Debian — How To

For Christmas, my lovely mother was kind enough to get me a Fitbit One. This little guy monitors my steps, floors climbed, sleep, and calories. It also ties in perfectly with their online interface where I can add food and activities. It also links up with MyFitnessPal!

The fitbit one

The fitbit one

Obviously, I need to lose some weight. But that’s not really the point of this post. I decided to dual boot the new version of Debian on my computer for fun. I realized that if I were to run Debian, I would need a way to sync my fitbit! I did a good amount of research and was finally able to figure out a way to get the fitbit to sync. (more…)

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Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’, ‘Hemlock Grove’, and ‘Arrested Development’ draw an unforeseen 12 Emmy Nominations

House of Cards

I typically don’t follow the whole Emmy’s frenzy, but this year is different. All of Netflix’s three original series were given Emmy nods this morning–‘House of Cards’, ‘Hemlock Grove’, and ‘Arrested Development’.

These nominations are more than just regular nominations–they are the first nominations ever awarded to an online television series. This makes me very, very excited.  (more…)

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Behind the Scenes: Colbert Report Taping

Today was the fourth time I had gone to see the taping of The Colbert Report, live in New York! I’ve also seen The Daily Show five times, so I’m not a newbie when it comes to seeing these shows. I figured that I would attempt to give a “behind the scenes”  explanation of the Colbert taping.

Getting there:

We got to the studio at around 4:20 in the afternoon. There was a line of about 45 people. My friends and I got checked in by nice interns with an iPad, and they did check IDs. It looks like they were getting more strict with that (in order to cut down on liabilities).

We waited in line for some time while others joined behind us. Different than previous experiences, the interns were handing out little water bottles to everyone for free. I guess the fact that a heat wave is starting was the cause of that. I’m not sure if they provide that on a regular basis.

Getting in:

At around 5:45/6 they started letting people in. The security process is intense, more intense than the airport. You step through a metal detector and the security guards search your bags–very thoroughly. They opened my bag up full of work stuff and looked through everything. They even opened up my padfolio and made sure that there wasn’t anything illegal.

Inside, we waited in a holding room. The room had clips of the Colbert Report playing and had various posters and memorabilia related to Stephen. The biggest attraction was the life size wall sticker of Stephen himself. Here’s a picture:

Me and “Stephen”

In addition, there was a water fountain and restrooms for all. We were in there for a while. Eventually our ticket numbers got called and we were brought in to the studio. The ticket numbers don’t really matter that much and every seat is a good seat. We got placed all the way house-right and this allowed for an unobstructed view of all of the action. Sometimes the cameras got in the way.

The studio is smaller than you would expect, but the set is extravagant and full of TV screens and lights. Being a lighting designer, I love examining all of the lighting and seeing how it works.

Then the warm up comedian then came out. His name was Jared something. He was pretty funny, though I’ve had better warm up comedians before (both here and at The Daily Show). However, he still was funny and he got us warmed up for Stephen.

Stephen then came out and did a Question and Answer session out of character. The questions asked were pretty good this round. We heard comments about Eliot Spitzer and many other topics. Stephen is ecstatic to be there and feeds off the energy of the crowd. This was the first show after a two week break, so everyone was very goofy. He also explained why we waited so long–there were technical glitches that they were working out. After the Q&A ended, the show began.

The Show:

The show then began. The crowd was encouraged to laugh and be loud by the stage manager and everyone went crazy. The show has already aired and you can catch it again online tomorrow morning.

The technical glitches that were mentioned showed up in the first segment about Zimmerman and racism. They had problems with the counters and then Stephen lost it when they put up all of the faces of the presidents with his in the top right corner. They needed to retake that whole segment a total of three times, but it was great to see that in action. The best part was hearing the sound guy yelling at other people through his comm unit.


All in all, this was probably the funniest show that I have attended live. The fact that this was the first show after a two week break really set the mood for the show. There was a lot that happened, and I can’t believe they were able to cram it into the half an hour slot (minus advertisements).

If you can get tickets for Colbert or The Daily Show, I highly recommend it. For The Daily Show, check the website on Friday afternoons. I don’t remember when the best time is for The Colbert Report.

Going to these shows is an experience, and I would highly recommend it. Like my fellow intern said, “this was the coolest thing I’ve done in New York so far.”

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San Francisco Crash Landing — Thoughts

It has been a couple of days since the crash landing of a Boeing 777 in San Francisco (en route from Seoul, South Korea). What happened was an unfortunate event, but I am sure that most people are thankful the number of casualties was so low. My hear does go out to the family and friends of the two girls who perished during the event.

Many facts and pieces of information have come out in the past couple of days, most of which helps us understand what exactly happened during the landing.

What really irritated me during the news coverage of the landing (and really any other big event recently) is the fact that news agencies decide to speculate and speculate. When the story was unfolding there were so many interpretations of what may have happened, rather than the truth. I know that there is time to be filled, but it was just too much.

The main thing that sparked me to write this post is the fact that the news is trying to cast blame where it is not due by saying things like “he only had x amount of experience piloting the 777″. Regardless of aircraft, if you are piloting you should be able to land the plane.

Unfortunately, what this incident comes down to is just simple neglect. I am thankful that most people on the plane are okay, but the media circus that occurred and is occurring is completely ridiculous.

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Please, car, I’m begging you: work.

This may come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about my car, but it is temporarily under the weather. To put it lightly.

My car is a 2002 Chevy Cavalier, and has been a trooper. I’ve put a significant amount of investment into the car–new rear brakes, new tires, new ignition, and some other minor things. Though I tote is as a piece of junk, I still love it in its own way. My first car. Unfortunately, it died on the day that I was supposed to move to New York (which was awfully inconvenient). It just does not turn on and there is no attempt at cranking. Shouldn’t be a battery problem (or maybe it is…).

Now, I am not very knowledgeable about cars, so I had no idea what could have been the problem. The battery? The coolant? The engine? Good question. Since I’ve been home this weekend, I’ve done a decent amount of research about what it could be. I have narrowed it down to either the starter or the engine itself. I’m hoping that is the starter–nobody has time for engine problems.

To get to this conclusion, I’ve been doing a lot of manual work on my car, and i love it. I used to take things apart and put them back together when I was younger and this is letting me do the same thing on a bigger scale. In addition, I’m learning so much about how cars work and operate.

Hopefully I can look into this further and, if necessary, take it to a garage. I JUST WANT A WORKING CAR!!!

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Happy Birthday Babushka!

Happy 68th birthday, Babushka (grandma)!

It was great to spend the whole day with my grandparents, mom, and uncle. After a great lunch of Chinese food, we all were able to enjoy each other’s company. I finally met my cousin, Ilya! He is adorable, and it is nice to be have an addition to my family.

I cannot believe that Babushka is still here with us. She has been fighting pancreatic cancer for two and a half years, and is still staying strong. I’m proud of her and am always happy to come home and visit.

I hope that everyone else is having a great day, I know I am.

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NHL Free Agency Chaos / Claude Giroux / Jerome Igilna

Well, it sure is nice to be at home in Philly for the weekend!

What’s nicer has been following the NHL free agency all day, and boy has it been crazy. It seems like today, every team and player decided to be impatient and sign, sign, and sign. As of 7:30pm EST, there have been 50, yes 50, free agents signed. This is craziness!

You can find a full list of Free Agent signings here.

Let’s talk about the Flyers.  (more…)

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A Summer in New York City

Today concludes the first month of me living in New York. I can’t believe it!

I am currently living in an area of Brooklyn called Park Slope. It is very similar to where my grandparents used to live in Philly, around 43rd and Pine. I feel right at home here and have an awesome studio. That means I don’t have to worry about dealing with anyone else after a long day at work.

Working at the Fed so far has been an amazing experience. I have met so many great people (both interns and full-time staff) and have learned so much about the central bank. I am unbelievably blessed to have this experience and at this point, I think I would like to continue my career here. We shall see!

After a month living in NYC, I feel like I fit in very well here. I have gotten to know the subway system pretty well and have explored a lot of the City (mostly Manhattan). Now that I have gotten used to the way of the city, I look forward to the remainder of my time here! (It is going way too fast).

Only five more weeks left :(

– Dan


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