My Favorite Things, May 2009

In the tradition of Barbra Streisand (WTF?), the Bureau Staff talks about what they’ve been into lately.

If you’d like to tell us what book you’re reading, album you’re listening to, YouTube video you’re watching, or whatever, drop us a roughly 250-word line at

There is this amazing new social media service called Twitt

*ahem* Actually, I have been avoiding Twitter to spend more watching the Denver Nuggets romp through the NBA playoffs. We basically disintegrated the New Orleans Hornets in the first round, and the Dallas Mavericks we’re facing in round two pales next to its former Finals-worthy self. Our Carmello Anthony/Chauncey Billups axis is young, dominant, and smart. And, while he may look preposterous, the Bird Man should not be ignored. The Nuggets are the only team in the West with a prayer to challenge the Lakers in the conference finals.

Okay, to be honest, I don’t know anything about basketball, and I didn’t watch a single Nuggets game during the regular season. But I know a good bandwagon when I see one, so I’m pulling out my Colorado native card to jump on this one. The same strategy served me well when the Rockies made their amazing, improbable run to the MLB World Series in 2007. We may not have won the championship then, but I still have a pair of purple-and-black fuzzy dice hanging from my rearview mirror. – Bureau Editor Nick Martens

I have a problem with playing Flash computer games: I can’t stop playing them. Recently, though, I’ve discovered a computer game that isn’t embarrassing to play in the library. Chain Factor is a challenging puzzle game that combinesBejeweled and Connect Four, except it’s a lot cooler than either. The game has seven rows and seven columns, and each ball is numbered one through seven, or is opaque. The player has to figure out how to make all of the balls disappear before the level increases and a row is added. The game can be played in Basic, Power, or Survivor mode, and the player can choose which ball-busting abilities she wants. If you need any more convincing that Chain Factor is the hip game to play, you can find the link on John Vanderslice’s Twitter feed. – Bureau Writer Caitlin Boersma

PadStyle, a modern furniture site, recently released their top 25 favorite interior design and furniture blogs. Some of these blogs you may be familiar with—MoCo Loco and Web Urbanist are pretty well known—but the others are hidden gems. The blogs focus on interior decor, but there’s enough content to keep anyone interested in modern design enthralled. My new favorite is The Style Files, which has plenty of high quality pictures arranged on a simple blog scheme.

All of these sites make me feel like my pad is a clutter of junky boxes with clothes on top (it is). For now, I’m excusing that reality because I don’t have any money. Apparently furniture is expense. – Bureau Writer Jordan Barber

Every morning, it’s a mad dash among the student body to snag a free copy of The New York Times provided by the college. Of course, nobody’s actually interested in reading the news — that’s on the internet, duh — but a chance to try their hand at today’s Will Shortz-edited crossword puzzle.

Since Magmic Games released The New York Times Crosswords Daily 2009 iPhone app, I’ve been able to avoid spending my day rifling through a messy pile of The Times stripped of their Arts sections. At $9.99, the app is certainly pushing the threshold I would pay for a game on my phone, but it gives you access to every day’s crossword for the rest of 2009, as well as a few thousand puzzles from the archive. That’s also a fourth of the cost of an annual subscription to The Times online access. It takes a few minutes to get used to, but solving crosswords on the iPhone is surprisingly easy with the games grid and list views. In fact, sometimes it helps to look at a clue isolated from the rest of the puzzle. Now if the app could only prevent the temptation of opening the browser and checking answers on the web… – Bureau Editor Kevin Nguyen