16 December 2011

Weekend summary, part the second

Been an interesting week. Meant to post a fun update on the back half of my weekend but I got sidetracked.

Sunday I got up and went for a hike with the girl, then headed up to LA for the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas show. That was really fun. I'm too lazy to look it up but as best I can recall the lineup was:

The Naked and Famous
Foster the People
Cage the Elephant
Noel Gallagher's New Band
Death Cab for Cutie (set unfortunately marred by sound issues)
Florence and the Machine
Mumford and Sons
Black Keys
Jane's Addiction

Not sure why they decided to throw Jane's into that lineup but it was a good chance for most of the crowd to get home earlier than they originally planned for the Sunday. Because they (Jane's Addiction) were awful. Comically bad.

The rest of the bands were fantastic (excepting Death Cab, for reasons that were not of their doing). Mumford and Sons is a favorite of mine so seeing them again was awesome. For my money they were the best band of the night. I think the Black Keys are overrated; there's only so much noise that an overdriven guitar and a drum kit can make. Some people are way into it though. I'm told they are going mainstream now but I don't think their sound has long-term mainstream appeal. But what do I know? People like country music but it all sounds the same to me.

Gallagher's set was forgettable until he played some Oasis tunes. He did his best but I felt badly for him. He didn't mail it in as much he knew that the audience didn't really give a shit about his new band, and that showed.

This and that

Wrote a long post that wasn't even fun for me to read. You have to draw the line somewhere so I deleted it and I'm posting this music instead.

15 December 2011

Hold still, this needs to look good

A while back I was in Big Cheese' wedding. It was great fun to be involved and share with him. I wrote a post about it that someone must have put on fbook or something because it got a lot more views than usual.

Anyway, the photos from that event are now available online and I cribbed my favorites from the 600+ that the photographer uploaded. I forgot that I had to tie my friends tie for the big event.

Not the kind of thing you do every day so I took it seriously, although, as you can see in the photos, not so seriously that I didn't take the opportunity to do my never-not-funny* too-short clown tie gag. Big laughs from Big Cheese and the camera guy when I pulled that move.

You can see in the photo that Big Cheese is indicating where he clown-tie would end on him, and I'm demo-ing that so I can get the lengths right. While that would have been awesome, in deference to his bride-to-be we opted for a more traditional look, so it landed in the middle of his belt buckle.

It was one of my favorite moments from a weekend full of great moments and I'm glad I have some pictures of it.

* I promise it's (almost) always funny. Next time you have a tie on just hike it up to your neck and see what happens.

14 December 2011

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

This has 14+ million views on youtube but it was new to me.
I laughed.

13 December 2011

Let's lighten the tone a little: lolcats = win

This is lifted straight from Alligator Sunglasses (again). I had planned to use it to accompany some pithy commentary about something or other. It'll have to stand alone for now.

Many thanks to whomever put it together in the first place. It's a recent favorite of mine.

If you don't agree I invite you to meditate briefly on the bottom panel for 10 seconds. If you don't laugh then you probably don't like cats and/or the internet.

Closing a chapter

My father and I haven't had any type of relationship for twenty-five years.
Today it came as a surprise to me that I was saddened when I received the news that he had died. He was around 70.

He wasn't the nicest guy, although later accounts from those that knew him before I was born suggest that he was very funny and fun to be around. I never met that guy.

Most (all?) of my memories of my father are related to his abilities as an intellectual or an asshole. Some encapsulate both elements very well, e.g.: Pops was very good at trivia, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, etc. One of his favorite activities (as near as I can recall) was watching the evening game shows and ridiculing the players because of their intellectual inferiority. He had a particular talent for the Wheel of Fortune puzzles; it didn't extend to personal relationships.

When I knew him Trivial Pursuit was in its Big 80's heyday and we would all gather round together to 'play' together. The teams were always him vs. whoever wanted to read him the questions. You'd figure out who got to go first and then you would do your best until it was Pops turn. Then he would answer every question correctly until he had filled his little pie with those wedge-shaped pieces and you lost.

In retrospect it was a great learning opportunity, and I don't mean about trivia.

Traditionally you're supposed to write something flattering about the recently deceased. I prefer the truth: he was a difficult person that handled our relationship poorly. I forgave him a long time ago so that I could keep the best parts of him (I am also pretty good at Trivial Pursuit) and let go of the rest. If I ever have a child I hope that our relationship is better.

Thanks for reading.

12 December 2011

Weekend update - part numero one

I think it fits pretty well, but I'm not sure about the color
I don't know about you but I'm exhausted. The Girl and I went to a local production of the Nutcracker on Saturday afternoon (more on that shortly), after which we prepared a delicious Crab Feast of lots of full menu redacted - too much detail delicious food. It was so good I wanted to take a picture. Instead I ate until I was vaguely uncomfortable. You care.

In related news, I'm officially not allowed to make unsupervised food or (especially) dessert purchases any more. I overbuy.

A couple months ago The Girl and I were at lunch and I went to review and buy dessert to go. I inquired about her preferences and she said, "surprise me". She knew that I wasn't qualified to make these kinds of decisions on my own and predicted (internally) that I would come back with $30 worth of dessert. For two people. After a lunch. $32 later, I returned with a small coconut cake, apple tart, and small German chocolate cake. (Seems reasonable to me.) So that was her fault. Obviously.

Fast forward to Saturday when I'm trying to figure out how many crabs to buy for the Crab Feast. You have to buy the whole thing; no fractions. So. Guy puts one on the scale. I eye it critically. (It should be pointed out here that an adult Dungeness crab is not small.) Mmm... not sure that's enough. Throw another one on there. Yeahhhh. That looks way better. Much more pleasing to the eye and the palate. Just as the very helpful guy at Santa Monica Seafood was getting ready to ring up my two (enormous) food items The Girl noticed that I was unsupervised and came over to inject some much needed restraint. "I think one is probably enough, don't you?" Me: Uhh, no. Yes? You think?  Her: I think one is probably good. Me: Enh, okay if you say so. Two does seem like kind of a lot. I guess.

We barely finished the one.
I'll do better next time. Probably.

Re: the Ballet - The Nutcracker was sweet. It was a small (by nutcracker standards) local production so although the main parts were very well done there was a precipitous drop off in the quality of dancers after you got past the front line. As a result some of the dances were maybe not as great as they could have been, but I didn't care. It was still fun. Sweet Katie will be pleased to know that we might make a trip up to SF later this month to see the big show. We're looking at dates now so I'll keep you posted.

Photo is from a pile of old pics I scavenged from alligator sunglasses and wanted to re-post.

11 December 2011

Take that!

When I'm not slaying dragons in Skyrim on the dorkbox360 I'm pwning n00bs in Battlefield 3. (No Call of Duty for me. After some uncountable number of hours I am finally tired of that game. BF3 has vehicles and destructible environments and different game types. It makes a difference.)

Anyway, this happened on the PC version of BF3:

That guy wins. Double bonus points for the theme music.


Had one of those weird many-little-things-go-wrong days last week. Some of the stuff was careless, like dropping my ipod touch, picking it up and then dropping it again before I put it in my bag. Dur. Also I had to pay for parking at a place because I was 2 minutes over the allotted time for validation. Silly trivial hassles and inconveniences: late to meetings I didn't know about, early to meetings that were canceled, etc. But there was one standout: when I spilled the cocoa powder.

I make a chocolate or chocolate peanut butter protein shake in the mornings for breakfast. The regular chocolate protein powder (Jem Lean Complex 8, if you must know) is pretty good but it's even better if you put some cocoa powder (0g carbs, lots of flavor) and all natural peanut butter in it (carbs and fat but it tastes good so shut up). Soy milk is a good option if you don't like dairy. Or if you're weird.

In assembling my delicious and nutritious shakebomb I managed to spray the cocoa powder all over the kitchen. It was everywhere: counter, floor, stove, my skin and hair and clothes, the sink (more mess than you would expect), and the dog. What a mess. If you were ever wondering how to get chocolate boogers, well, now you know. It was a spectacle. Took me half an hour to clean it up, not counting the time that I should have spent showering and changing my clothes, which I skipped because I was late from cleaning up the mess I made.

No photos because my phone wasn't immediately handy. Oh well. You kind of had to be there. If you were you wouldn't eat chocolate again any time soon.

10 December 2011

Powerpoint is awful - dance is much better

I grew up using and seeing Powerpoint so I've never been in a workforce that didn't have it. As such, I can't know if presentations were better or worse before its arrival.

I do know that in its current iteration it enables a lot of terrible presentations. The most common mistakes are to put too much information on the slides and then, inevitably, read them out loud. As such, this modest proposal sounds good to me.

09 December 2011

Not sure that's going to be enough

Would have been very handy during my fraternity days
Cleaned out the cellphone photos a while ago and found this little gem. It's from well over a year ago when I visited the Del Taco on 17th street. I wasn't doing any eating, just acting in a supporting capacity. Hit the can when I was there and that's when I found this plunger with the XXL handle.

Of course it was in a Del Taco. How could it be any other way?

Mostly I was bummed I didn't think of doing this first.

08 December 2011

That's a helluva thing

Heard some good covers of this song. A 'good' cover is one that enables you to hear the song in a new way. Or maybe you just like it better. Whatever. Some people think Bob Dylan walks on water. I'm not one of them, but he knows a thing or two about how to write a song. This live version (!!) of Don't Think Twice, It's Alright from Bree Sharp is very strong.
No actual video to speak of. Shrink your browser, turn up the speakers.

See you out there.

07 December 2011

That's a funny angle

But of course...
One photo from Florence I forgot to share was this illicit image of Michelangelo's David.

Photos of the statue are expressly forbidden but the way the local security is positioned enable you to snap a shot from this angle if you're quick about it. You can drift into a little alcove and as long as security isn't on patrol (they do frequent walkarounds) you can take a rest on one of the benches and/or sneak a photograph on your Blackberry (which is what The Girl did, per my request). If you even think about putting your camera to your face in this area you will draw immediate shouts from the patrol. And I mean angry shouts. With finger pointing. And then you'll get kicked out. Ouch.

I usually don't violate those types of rules but I really wanted a shot of this if I could get one. So here it is.

The statue was one of the things that was worth the price of admission. Sometimes stuff you learn about from a distance doesn't make much of an impression in person. You can chalk that up to expectation if you want, but sometimes it maybe isn't all that great after all, expectation or otherwise. The David was the opposite of that. Whatever your expectation, it is awe-inspiring and beautiful. Impossibly, absurdly great.

The Best of the Rest in the /wherever they keep the David - I'm too lazy to look it up/ was mostly unfinished work by Michelangelo. That guy finished projects about as often as he took a shower, which is to say: hardly ever.

06 December 2011

Sometimes I feel like this might happen to me

This is lifted more or less directly from Alligator Sunglasses, which is a tumblr of funny stuff on the web. Most of it is pretty good but anything Sesame Street or Muppet related is near and dear to my heart so I re-post it here.

I love how well put together he looks in the first panel. His papers are organized with that little clippy thing, he's lost some weight. Very professional.

05 December 2011

This didn't work, so here you go again

Tried to embed this in a previous post but it didn't work. Trying again.
Need to figure out how to embed videos better. This format isn't so good. 

Here's the link direct to the video:

04 December 2011

F*ck Yeah Motorcycles

Traditional old-school Honda colors are red, white and blue
Regular readers that aren't into the motorcycles can look away now. 

Got the 600RR bodywork done. (For the record, that's a 2007 Honda CBR600RR.) Painted and customized the race plastics with a headlight and brake lights so that the bike is street legal(ish). Helpful because I don't have a truck and also I intend to sell it some day and it'll be much easier to sell if it's road legal. Don't plan to ride it on the street all that much. It's registered, plated and insured but the plate isn't actually mounted to the bike. I put it in my backpack if I ride it on the mean streets.

Big thanks to the guys at Metric Method in Lake Forest for all the help and good work. They installed the custom headlight and custom fabbed the brake and turn signal indicators in the rear (there aren't any in the front, see prev. comments re: street legal-ish).

I ordered some mirror block-off plates (and handlebar mirrors, for the street) but I haven't had a chance to install either one yet. Hard to start working on the bike when you get home at 10 PM and your roommate (who sleeps directly above the garage) is already in bed. Haven't even put decals or stickers on it yet. I hope to have all that done by this weekend. Hope. I had some custom decals made up. More on that when they're installed. With photos. Get excited.

Check out the HID high-beam headlight. It's crazy bright but at least people can see you coming. I'd rather annoy everyone because they see me than get run over because they didn't. Not a difficult decision, if I'm honest.

Here's a video:

The "Dream" part is because these red/white/blue colors are associated with the Honda Dream racing team. I think that's classic Japanese engrish so I don't describe it in that way, but most people familiar with Honda Racing will recognize it.

See you out there.

03 December 2011

It's a big step I'm not sure I'm ready

Vernazza (Cinque Terre) - Everyone takes this picture; wouldn't you?
I never posted the Italy pictures. Actually I have no recollection of whether or not I posted the Italy pictures but it's a safe bet that I didn't. You care.

Anyway, here's the processed photos of the trip I took to Tuscany and Cinque Terre (not part of Tuscany, apparently). Processed = resized and maybe auto-level colors in photoshop. Otherwise they are not retouched. We visited Pisa, Lucca, Cinque Terre (stayed in Monterrosso), Florence and Siena. The cooking photos are from a cooking class we took outside of Florence. I was in charge of the camera for part of that so I took a lot of pictures. Skip past them if you're over it. 

Italy, 18-28 August 2011

02 December 2011

What the hell just happened?

It's been a month. A MONTH! I started getting concerned calls and emails from friends. Once they established that I wasn't kidnapped and/or seriously hurt they started asking Important Questions. Mostly the same question: What the f are you doing?
Well, lots of things. E.g:
- Playing Battlefield 3 and/or ESV: Skyrim, either one of which will take over your life without you even noticing. I don't know where the time goes when I sit down with those games. It's like taking a nap when you're a little kid: you blink and it's four (or more) hours later.
- Spending time with The Girl. (more on that in a separate post. Due later this weekend, not a month from now, thanks for asking).
- Reading the books. Just finished The Hare with Amber Eyes, which was well-reviewed but I didn't think was very good (boring). Not recommended.
- Goofing around with motorcycles, although not as much as I would like because of all the other items on this list. I'm not home much, and if I am home I'm pwning n00bs or slaying dragons.* 
- Working. A lot. When I get home I don't feel like typing up a summary. Upside is I have a job. Downside is they expect me to do work there. They are funny like that.
- Traveling. I was out of town for Thanksgiving. And also for work.

 I had a lot to say about the Penn State sex abuse scandal but then Charles P. Pierce did it better. He should, since he gets paid. I'll folllow up as the trial moves along and the verdict comes in. The SI piece was particularly disturbing, so I suggest you start there for full summary.

The NBA solved their lockout crisis. Phew! Now I'll have something to ignore until the playoffs start in June.

More updates as I work through the backlog.
Thanks for reading.

* Not a euphemism.

04 November 2011

Clearing up the backlog - occupy SOMETHING

Lots to get caught up on. Can't fit it all here. Busy with work and other stuff. You care.

Alligator Sunglasses has been sharing the occasional cookie monster and/or muppet, so let's lead with that. You could get it from there if you wanted to. Or here. Whatever.

If you're of a mind you might browse through this editorial from the New York Times:


Or this one from the blog's favorite economist, Paul Krugman, who explains why you live in an oligarchy (for a concrete example, see above):

The budget office report tells us that essentially all of the upward redistribution of income away from the bottom 80 percent has gone to the highest-income 1 percent of Americans. That is, the protesters who portray themselves as representing the interests of the 99 percent have it basically right, and the pundits solemnly assuring them that it’s really about education, not the gains of a small elite, have it completely wrong.

If anything, the protesters are setting the cutoff too low. The recent budget office report doesn’t look inside the top 1 percent, but an earlier report, which only went up to 2005, found that almost two-thirds of the rising share of the top percentile in income actually went to the top 0.1 percent — the richest thousandth of Americans, who saw their real incomes rise more than 400 percent over the period from 1979 to 2005.
Who’s in that top 0.1 percent? Are they heroic entrepreneurs creating jobs? No, for the most part, they’re corporate executives. Recent research shows that around 60 percent of the top 0.1 percent either are executives in nonfinancial companies or make their money in finance, i.e., Wall Street broadly defined. Add in lawyers and people in real estate, and we’re talking about more than 70 percent of the lucky one-thousandth.

But why does this growing concentration of income and wealth in a few hands matter? Part of the answer is that rising inequality has meant a nation in which most families don’t share fully in economic growth. Another part of the answer is that once you realize just how much richer the rich have become, the argument that higher taxes on high incomes should be part of any long-run budget deal becomes a lot more compelling.

So that's fun.

On the subject of executive pay: my friend's company they announced that they were eliminating 401k matching. (Fair enough. I was surprised they still had it in these tough times.) What they didn't announce was that they were pushing through a generous bonus package for the executives ON THE SAME DAY as the announcement. For example, her boss got $50,000. No idea what the CEO and the rest got, but you can bet it was a hell of a lot more than that.


Why is it so hard to raise taxes on such a small number of people? It's absurd.

27 October 2011

Super Sic Forever

Image copyright Peter Guld, courtesy HFL Magazine
Marco Simoncelli was killed in a motorcycle crash in Sepang, Malaysia on Sunday during the MotoGP race.

He was 24.

Just typing those words makes me more sad than I would have ever imagined. He was not my favorite racer. He didn't ride for a team that I particularly cared about. I never met him. I don't know anyone that was friends with him. We never interacted directly in any way.

Here is the summary of the crash from motomatters.com:
On the second lap of the race, in dry conditions, Simoncelli's rear tire broke loose at Turn 11, then gripped, sending Simoncelli and his bike across the track into the path of another rider. [Ed. It was actually two riders, Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.] Simoncelli was struck, losing his helmet in the impact, and the race was red-flagged. Simoncelli was transported to the medical center, but died from the injuries sustained in the crash at 16:56 local time.

I've been wondering why his death makes me so sad. I've never shed tears for a professional athlete; I'm too old and far too cynical. Simoncelli is the first. He was young, charismatic, talented, and he was a racer's racer. The older riders didn't like Simoncelli's all-or-nothing style, they said he needed to settle down. The younger riders (and some racing legends, like Kevin Schwantz) disagreed, and suggested that the people complaining needed to go faster or get out of the way.

I thought he was reckless at times, but his recklessness had nothing to do with the crash that killed him.

What everyone agreed on was that he was incredibly nice, generous, and friendly. He was the people's champion, especially now that the great Rossi is stuck in the middle of the pack. Unlike Lorenzo (the nicest robot you could ever hope to meet), Simoncelli was a gregarious, charming personality. His nickname was Super Sic (pronounced Super SEECH, if you prefer the Italian version), a reference to his extraordinary riding skills (sick) and also his general awesomeness (which, according to everyone that interacted with him, was super).

As for me, I will never feel the same about racing motorcycles. I was not very affected by the untimely death of Dan Wheldon, maybe because I don't spend my free time driving open-wheel race cars as fast as I can. But racing motorcycles is one of my great passions. I understand what motivated Simoncelli, not least because he said during his recent contract negotiations that if they stopped paying him to race then he would happily pay his own way. A lot of riders say that, but with Super Sic you tended to believe it.

Forever is a long time, but I expect that people like me will be telling future racers about the young Italian rider with the wild hair that was capable of going as fast or faster than anyone on two wheels. He made it to the mountaintop that is MotoGP and the only thing that slowed him down was tragedy. Legends have been made out of less.

26 October 2011

The world revolves around me

I hate when science gets in the way.

Full text:

The supreme arrogance of religious thinking: that a carbon-based bag of mostly water on a speck of iron-silicate dust around a boring dwarf star in a minor galaxy in an underpopulated local group of galaxies in an unfashionable suburb of a supercluster would look up at the sky and declare, 'It was all made so that I could exist!'

- Peter Walker

Hey, who said my supercluster was boring?

You're not kidding

This was kicking around the interwebs. Now I'm sharing it with you.

My friends and I used to compare weird mutant powers. Everyone has one. Most of them were decidedly off-color, so I can't repeat them here. Which, given my propensity for the f-word on this site, is saying something. Ask me in person the next time I see you; it'll be more funny that way.

25 October 2011

Might as well work late

I told the girl I was looking forward to some B-time tonight, as in Betty the Dog and Battlefield 3, which came out today. Except the BF3 servers are crashed and the online version of the game is unplayable.

Since I only play the online version of the game, this is untenable. 

Dear EA,
Please take the suck out of your service immediately if not sooner. I've got n00bs to pwn.

21 October 2011

Bring the noise: Stereophonics

This is an old song. But it's awesome. I'm enjoying it today, and it might be new to you. Or not. Whatever.

Band: Stereophonics
Song Title: Dakota

You might be able to find a better audio quality version on youtube. Not sure. But this is the official version. I don't have time to watch the video. Who cares about the video? Get your dance on.

19 October 2011

Herman Cain is unfit to govern: flat taxes are for idiots

The GOP's big talking point is that they want to 'broaden the base', so that more people pay taxes. It really rankles them that some percentage (I think it's about 47% but I forget the exact figure) of the people here in the US pay no income tax at all. What they always fail to mention is that these people don't have any fucking money. Yeah I put the f-bomb in there because I wanted to get your attention. Few things irritate me more than rich people suggesting that poor people should bear more of a burden.

Which brings us to Herman Cain and his 9-9-9 tax plan, which is epic stupid for a lot of reasons, not least of which is the 9% flat tax. Flat taxes are not very equitable when there is a wide distribution of income. They don't take the ability to pay into account, for starters. If Cain's tax plan were implemented, the tax rates for everyone except the top 20% would go up. This is the definition of broadening the base.

The really interesting thing is how much money the super rich will save. That is well illustrated by the attached graph. As you can see, the top one tenth of one percent (the richest of the rich) get quite a nice break. So that they can buy a fourth Ferrari or whatever.

Krugman has some information here: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/tpc-does-herman-cain/

I know you don't love economics as much as I do, but still: this is absurd.

18 October 2011

Delays, absences, and other sh*t

I know I've been away and for that I apologize. I am back now and while I'm not any different than before I'll return to my usual pattern of posts 3 or 4x a week as per usual.

To that end, here's this little re-worked gem from the intertubez.
"We feel too little, and think too much..."

I have heard that Charlie Chaplin (that's him in the video) entered a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest at the height of his popularity. He placed third. 

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.

07 October 2011

I know it's been too long

I've been busy.
I don't expect that to change this weekend but I'll get something for you next week for sure.
Here's a quick video. The iphone4s came out, and I guess you can talk to it? I guess that's if the vaunted touchscreen interface (of which I'm a fan) is too much effort. Like when you're running. Or baking. I don't bring my phone when I go running, and when I'm baking I just wipe my hands off before I pick up my phone. Weird, I know.

Here you go.

29 September 2011

Italy + Vespas + Racing + Dreamboat = win

When I was in Italy last month with The Girl we looked at renting a scooter and touring around Florence and environs. Opted not to because it was crazy expensive and I told her I'd take her for a ride up PCH on my own (nicer) motorcycle and if she didn't live in Newport she would think it was totally rad 2 the max instead of hot and alternating between boring/scary. I don't regret not renting the scooter but when I go back to Italy I will plan ahead and do it. Because Italy does scooters (and motorcycles) right.

Here's video evidence of a Vespa race in Torino where they do a lap on the top of the old Fiat manufacturing building. So awesome. The ladies might want to stick around until skip to the 1:28 mark to see some ridiculously handsome Italian guy say something about riding Vespas in chic italian clothes and effortlessly stealing your girlfriend. Ciao, bella! Actually I'm not sure what he says because it's in Italian but I'm probably pretty close.
Thanks to HFL for the video, and Red Bull for sponsoring the event.

27 September 2011

Readling lists, and technical difficulties

Gigantic flow chart is gigantic
Had to do some stuff with that other thing so it's been hard to find the time to blog. I did build a new desk for the home office, so that's something. If I didn't have to take it mostly apart and rebuild it to make it more comfortable to work at then I would be even more pleased. At least it can be adjusted.

NPR solicited feedback on the top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy novels. The full list is here:


And these people decided that it would be easier if it was a gigantic flow chart:


I think LOTR is overrated, never more so than when it appears at the top of this list. While middle earth is wonderfully imagined and the story well told, the characters are flat and one-dimensional. That's fine when you're in fifth grade but as an adult one (hopefully) prefers something more sophisticated. (A lot of people like Twilight, but that doesn't mean it's good. I don't mean that LOTR is awful like Twilight is; I mean that popularity does not necessarily equal quality.) Also, just because it's the first great fantasy series doesn't mean it's the best; I thought The Once and Future King was better. And easier to finish.

The number 2 and 3 books on the list are two of my all-time favorites.

Anyway, check out the list for and/or flow chart for some reading suggestions.

20 September 2011

If only...

Loved this entirely too much.

Mostly because of stuff like this:


Bring the noise - Everything old is new again

Been load-testing the speakers with this jam for a couple weeks now. The full version isn't out or available anywhere that I can find, so you get this bootleg of a bootleg, which kinda sucks but whatever. It's got enough mojo that you should be able to get through it okay. Incidentally, Tiesto Club Life episode #228 is the best in recent memory. If I heard this in the club (if I still went to clubs) my head would explode.

This bootleg was posted a couple different places but the graphic the guy uses for the video is totally rad 2 the max. So that's the version I chose.

Should also add: how awesome are the Eurythmics? This song is over 20 years old and still killing it. Yeah the remix does a lot of the heavy lifting but that synth/vocal hook has got legs and then some. 

If you're not sure if you like it I suggest you turn your stereo up a lot louder. Like, a lot.

Problems at the back

The posts are piling up. Lots going on over here so the full update will have to wait. I do have a stack of pictures to share and some funny anecdotes to relate. You care.

Here's a short non-sequitur: Was at the moto shop doing moto stuff last week and while I was there I saw a couple late 30's guys picking up a bike. An early warning sign was that one of the guys kept telling my tuner about the bike he had just finished doing work on. Customer Know-it-all would ask a question, then give the answer. Typically those interactions go better when the expert talks and you listen. That's not to say that you shouldn't engage in a dialog with your tuner, but Tuner Ryan hasn't spent the past 10 years studying and working on motorcycles because he doesn't know how to work on motorcycles, is what I mean. So if you bring your bike to Ryan for him to work on then you should, you know, trust him to work on it. Ryan handled it all with aplomb because he is customer-oriented.

So this goes on for forty-five minutes (don't ask what I'm doing - I'm dicking around in the shop, as per usual, because I like learning about bikes), and juuuuust when they are about to leave the rider comes in and gears up. The guy riding the bike has a textile jacket (good), full face helmet (very good), shorts (not so good) and slip-on shoes (not good). What really didn't inspire confidence was when he asked me to help him secure his helmet. As in, fix the strap under his chin because he didn't know how to work it. One the one hand, it's good to ask for help with something like that. On the other hand, WHAT THE F ARE YOU DOING MAN?!!??  It was funny but also scary. Mostly scary. Only funny if everyone makes it home safely.

The following video shows how difficult it is to stay involved in the game when you're a goalie. Also there may be some sort of drama or protest happening; we'll never know. What we do know is that the goalie is playing a little bit out of position and, uhh, yeah. Ouch.

14 September 2011

So much love

This came across my desk early last week but I didn't have a chance to post it until now. It's a quote from Bob Marley in which he says some rather obvious things about love and partnerships and expectations.

You might not agree with all (or any) of it, but my favorite takeaway was "Love hard when there is love to be had." I agree with that very strongly. 

Change 'him' to 'her' and it works just as well. 

13 September 2011

Best. Lunch. Ever.

Beaker is the best muppet
This is kicking around the intertubes but if you haven't seen it yet: there's a guy that draws on his kids lunch bags every day during his lunch break. And it's AWESOME. I posted my favorite here but I invite you to scroll through the archives and find your own. And also to enjoy something surprisingly fun and cool.

Go here: http://lunchbagart.tumblr.com/

09 September 2011

Complete Command

This is for Ze Newbs.
When he whipped the tail at 2:17 I jumped out of my chair.

If you were wondering what complete command looks like, it looks like this: 

Anniversaries, remembrances, and heroes

For some reason we celebrate powers of 2, 5, and 10 more than other anniversaries. It's arbitrary and lame but I've already explained how I feel about all that so I'm not going to get into it here. So, big 'anniversary' coming up this weekend.

The megachurch in my area is taking the opportunity to expand their services like it's some kind of Easter celebration of 'freedom'. That makes me want to throw up for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that I find it repulsive and disgusting when people wrap the American flag in religion. (I prefer a secular brand of patriotism, thanks very much.) But I digress...

This weeks Badass of the Week is about Rick Rescorla, and it's a story that I didn't know. I invite you to read and enjoy it for yourself. Because he was awesome, and he was killed almost exactly 10 years ago today.


07 September 2011

How to change your oil: life lessons

The last couple posts have been long on words. Let's shift gears (HONK!) and bring it back to one of my other favorite topics: motorcycles and motorcycle maintenance. The video is more or less everything you need to know if you're changing the oil on your SR500 (a bike I want, but do not own, in part because I'd have to build it myself and also in part because Deus hasn't opened their LA showroom yet).  Not sure that the roommate wants a rebuild project to get in the way of the Bowflex Xtreme. Can't say I blame him.

Anyway, if you're a guy you will probably enjoy this video. If you're one of the female readers you probably stopped reading at the title.

"Love hard when there is love to be had" - Bob Marley

That's the dance floor in the middle, under the string of lights
Friend of the blog Big Cheese got married over the weekend and it was awesome. I mean 'awesome' in the awe-inspiring, epic sense, and also in the 'wow that was totally rad 2 the max' sense.

Some backstory about Big Cheese (skip past the dotted line below if you're over it):

I first heard about him from a mutual friend over 20 years ago. My friend Jayme said, "I have a friend who is just like you; you will love him." Since I was an insufferable asshole at that point of my life I wasn't really keen on meeting someone else that was just like me. For starters, one insufferable asshole is quite enough, and also, why would I want to meet some guy that was just like me? I am a beautiful and unique snowflake. So we didn't catch up until a bit later.

As it happens, Big Cheese ended up dating one of my very dear friends from high school (her name is Sweet Katie, because she's pretty much the nicest girl ever, and, as such, a good fit for Big Cheese, since he tended to suck all the nice out of the room pretty quickly, especially then; for the record: so did I, but whatever).

Sweet Katie said, you have to meet this person, he's great, he's funny, he's this and that. I was still over it, but since I was pretty much living with Sweet Katie and her family off and on, and taking advantage of their generous love and kindness (Sweet Katie's mom and dad are, not kidding, some of the nicest people in the world), there wasn't much I could do to avoid it. So I really did have to meet him. As it turns out he became one of my closest friends, and except for Jayme (mentioned above), I was the longest-tenured of his peeps at the wedding by a considerable margin.

There have been many ups and downs in each of our lives and although the geographical distance between us has sometimes been significant, the emotional distance was quite small, and we stayed close.

Wedding Highlights:
- The setting was a majestic Buddhist retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains. The weather was perfect, with warm (but not too hot) days and crisp, cool nights.

- The food was organic, locally grown, and universally excellent, which was a big deal considering the place was way out of town and there weren't a lot of alternatives.

- The guests were very nice and friendly. This is almost always true but it's still fun to meet everybody and hear their stories.

- We opened the wedding day with a morning yoga class at 9 AM, led by yours truly. I prepped a program and playlist but didn't expect the class to be very well attended. Bonus was that there were around 20 people there, including all of the wedding party except one person who was too hung over. It was crowded but I had a blast.

- Big Cheese broke down during his vows and had to compose himself. It turned all the bridesmaids into waterworks. It was nice to see people get emotional at what, at its core, is simple civil ceremony.

- The array of custom-crafted organic pies for dessert. I had the key lime (2x), chocolate mousse, pecan (2x) and apple.Yes I really did eat 6 pieces of pie. They were very small. And I may have eaten a piece of the pecan pie with my breakfast the following day. The fat kid loves dessert. Don't judge.

- Epic dance off to close the night. At the close anyone left standing was on the dance floor, including the DJ and the bartender. It was that kind of fun.

The happy couple are off on a honeymoon now.

06 September 2011

My Italian vacation: recap

Not bad
I took only a handful of pictures in Italy. This wasn't one of them. The girl I was with took it on her cellphone. It's the view (at sunset) from the rooftop terrace of our hotel in Florence. Pretty nice. Usually I would auto-filter a photo before I post it but this is great as-is.You can't beat the light at sunset. Florentine architecture doesn't hurt either.

Trip was great. I don't think I've ever had more fun. Visited (in order): Pisa, Lucca, Cinque Terre (stayed in Monterrosso), Florence and Siena (day trip from Florence).

Highlights, in no particular order:

- Gelato. Everywhere. I was on a mission to try and find the best gelato place that I could. Since the gelato shops were everywhere this was a serious undertaking; you'll be happy to hear that I was up to the task. 

- The view from the roof in Florence. Just look at it.

- The Leaning Tower of Pisa at night. We were the last people allowed up and it was fantastic. No crowds, pleasant weather, and a panoramic view of the town. Took no photos so you'll have to get your own.

- The food and views in Lucca. It's a tourist town but it is a beautiful place to visit. And the food was great.

- Blue skies, every day. They do a brisk business in crisp blue skies in Tuscany and the Italian Mediterranean during the summer. I think I was there for 5 days before I even saw a cloud. I wore a lot of sunscreen. And a rather dashing straw fedora.

- Views in Cinque Terre. The Girl took some pictures in the various towns but I haven't seen them yet. And may never. I posted a link in a previous entry so you've already seen some great pics. Spent a quiet beach day swimming around the Italian Mediterranean. Like the gelato research it was tough, but I struggled through it. Hiking the towns was awesome too. It's not an easy hike but it is beautiful and rewarding.

- Florence. It's full of tourists, and deservedly so. It is beautiful and the sights in and around the city are superb. DO go see the David at the Academia. DON'T bother with the Uffizi unless you loooove Renaissance art (I don't). DO avoid the gelato places on the main streets and get involved in the places on the side streets. Special tip: if you cross to the south side of the Ponte Vecchio and head east along Via de Bardi, you can find gelato that shames anything else you might try. I forget what the place is called, but here's a link to a map. I recommend the mascarpone and Nutella gelato. Beyond good. Not sure that 'good' is even the right word; I need a new word to describe it because I ran out of superlatives. How about "worth a trip to Florence"? Yeah I think that covers it.

- Cooking class in Florence. Learning + fun + delicious food = win. The Girl's family gave her the gift of a cooking class at a restaurant / farm in Figline Valdarano (outside Florence) for her birthday. So we took the train out there one evening and made ourselves dinner. I took a LOT of beautiful pictures of this (with her camera) and I'm working on the post-processing. The important thing is that it was amazing. We cooked everything for our dinner from scratch (except the pasta). So we made focaccia, biscotti, stuffed calamari, stuffed zucchini flowers, broiled fish on garbanzo beans, and some other stuff I'm forgetting. Everything was locally grown on the farm (except the seafood, which was caught the night before): olives and olive oil, eggs, vegetables, etc. The chef cooked with us for about 3 hours and then we sat down and ate. We ended up preparing much of the food on the menu for the evening, so while we were at dinner the calamari would come out and we would look over and say, "yeah we made that." Super awesome fun time and one of the most cool/unique things I have ever done.

- Walking through Siena on a Saturday afternoon. I could do a whole post about Sienese culture but it would take too long. Suffice to say that the place is worth a visit. Stroll through the town. Soak up the atmosphere. And when you're there take a class at the...

- Tuscan Wine School in Siena. More super awesome fun ways to learn about Tuscany in general and Siena in particular. Originally wanted to take the 1 hour 'crash course' but it was booked. That worked out well because the 2 hour course is superb. Highly recommended. You get to sample some delicious olive oils, breads, cheese, and wines. So good. You will return to the streets of Siena in a festive mood, so you might want to hike any stairs BEFORE you take the class. Just sayin'.

I'm sure I'm leaving some stuff out, but you get the idea. Crammed a lot of activities and sightseeing into a relatively short span of time.

If you want specifics or recommendations on stuff I didn't cover here just let me know.
Thanks for reading.

Post-it Wars = radness

Note that Pedobear is not on an exterior window
This is has been all over the interwebs for a couple weeks now but I've been too busy (read: lazy) to post it. (See what I did there? HONK!)

The Guardian gives it a quick summary, with a photo gallery.


01 September 2011

I loved this so hard. No idea if it's your cup o' tea, but whatever.
lulz to my facebone.

Original here:


Thanks for reading.

This probably took a while

Hat tip to ze Newbs for this little slice of excellence.


BIG BANG BIG BOOM - the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Time and money wasted

The United States of America loves going to war on ideas. Drugs was a big one, and although it has been wildly ineffective at actually, you know, keeping people from buying and using illegal drugs, it has been effective at making people a lot of money and putting people in prison.

The next big war on a concept was the War on Terror, which has been more expensive than the war on drugs, making a greater number of people a staggering amount of money, and roughly as ineffective. While some strategic gains have (probably?) been made, only a fool would argue that Afghanistan or Iraq are anything like a success. Instead they are endlessly awful quagmires, which is exactly what you'd expect when you start a war without a clearly defined strategic goal for winning. You can't wage a war on Terror because you can't make it surrender. In short, it just goes on and on, forever. I don't know about you, but I'm not a huge fan of wars that go on and on. They're expensive, for starters. 

When are we going to start a war on an idea that might actually do some good? We started a war on poverty but gave up when it got too expensive. A person's willingness to aid another person is directly related to whether or not they have ever found themselves in a similar position. Post-depression era 60's there were still a lot of people that remembered being hungry. If you've never been hungry it is unlikely you will help someone who is hungry. Never been poor, no sympathy for the poverty-stricken. Also it's much easier to criticize the government for helping people than it is to help them. So: f you, poor people. It's your own fault.

Why don't we wage a war on ignorance?  Because as it happens, ignorance (or lack of education) is one of the great predictors of poverty. They go hand in hand. All the hard work in the world won't help you better your lot in life if you can't get an education.

Education isn't really all that expensive, especially compared to how much money we spend on wars and our failing, soon-to-be-bankrupt health care system. So what the fuck is the problem?

The problem is that the culture of military dominance in the United States is sacred and untouchable, while the culture of wanting to help kids reach their full potential isn't. Also, there's not nearly as much money to be made in education as there is in arms. In other words: primary education needs a political action committee. (Secondary for-profit education is a whole nother can of awful mess but we'll consider that in a different post.)

The US spends more on defense than every other country in the world put together. Wouldn't it be rad if that were true of education? 

Expanding on ideas outlined by Dave Eggers: Why do people gargle the balls of the American Soldier but throw the American Teacher under the bus? Why, when test scores are low, do people want to fire teachers? We don't blame the soldier in the trenches when a battle goes badly. Instead we blame the commanding officer that failed to set them up for success. As Eggers points out, if we don't like the results we're getting in the military we ask what it will take for success: more manpower? more money? more equipment? better equipment? more training? all of the above? 

In education if things don't go well people blame the teacher and cut funding. All of which contributes to worse results. This is ridiculous. I know that teaching kids not to be idiots isn't sexy and doesn't capture voters like WAR and TERROR and FEAR, but still.

I need this in my life

Been kind of an up and down week. Big wedding this weekend, at which I will be leading a yoga class. Except for the fact that I don't really know what I'm doing it'll be great.

I'm trying out the new blogger interface and although I like the new one better they moved some stuff around and I have to figure out where they put it. 

It's great to be back from Italy so I'll try and do another post on that later today if I can.

Also: this happened.

30 August 2011

Repost all up in this bitch: Dogs are awesome

This is repurposed from another website, who repurposed it from somewhere else. Original lives here: http://www.thedoghousediaries.com/?p=1321

I felt bad because when I left this morning I said goodbye to Baby Girl and she was unusually sad. What she didn't know is that I hid some treats around the house for her so that she has some fun surprises to discover later in the day. I'm nice like that.

29 August 2011

Consider the Lobster, by David Foster Wallace (read it free online!)

David Foster Wallace has featured prominently in this space before. He is my all-time favorite writer.

Found a link to one of his articles today, so I'm re-posting it here.


You can also find it in his book of the same name, via amazon. I think the book version is longer, if you're into that. I have a copy kicking around so let me know if you want to borrow it.

Effort matters

"Too... much... pasta..."
Just got back from my Italian vacation. More on that in a bit. Sonz had this link in my inbox for me to read, so I'm sharing it with you. Just a bit of inspiration to start your day.


In related news, I got a blister from walking around Lucca and I may have been kind of a little bitch about it. So now who's the asshole? --> this guy <--

(I didn't take that cat photo, but I could have. The towns I visited in Italy did a brisk business in extremely relaxed cats. It was rad.)

17 August 2011

For the cyclists: Danny MacAskill (yeah that's the correct spelling)

I guess this is pretty cool, if you're into insanely difficult stunts on two wheels.
The whole thing is just crazy awesome, but my favorite parts were the 180 from one side of the train tracks to the other, and then the bit where he balances his way down the steel cable. On a bike. Are you kidding? The whole video is beautifully framed and shot.

Not sure who chooses the music for his videos but it's nice that it's not all METAL MULISHA PUNCH ME IN THE FACE BECAUSE I'M SO TOUGH DETH METALLLL GRRRR. It's actually pretty good. Weird.

Aside: the person that posted the video below misspelled Danny MacAskill's name. Bust.
It's capital M, ac, capital A, skill.

Confirmed it on his website here: http://www.dannymacaskill.co.uk/ (Click through to see correct spelling; URLs are always all lower-case.)

Link to one of my all time favorite web videos here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj6ho1-G6tw

Starting tomorrow I'll be out of town for 10 days on my Assassin's Creed Site Visit Tour of Pisa, Lucca, Cinque Terre, Florence, and Bologna in lovely Italy. I will post some photos and updates on that as best I can.
Thanks for reading.

16 August 2011

Well that's pretty much the best thing I heard today

Long-time readers will know of my deep and abiding affection for the muppets. In order, my favorite characters are: Beaker, Dr. Honeydew, Cookie Monster, the Swedish Chef, and Kermit.

It turns out there's a Muppets tribute album coming out. You can hear it early on NPR* (natch). It is perhaps telling that the list of contributing artists reads like my typical itunes playlist:
Alkaline Trio
Ok Go
Airborne Toxic Event
Andrew Bird
Rachel Yamagata 

Full link here:


If you don't want to sing along to the Weezer cover of Rainbow Connection I invite you to watch some muppets with a 6 year old. They will show you the way.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me...

Thanks for reading.

* The promo sponsor for NPR during my listen was Pabst Blue Ribbon. That's what I call a hipster / muppet / nerd BULLSEYE.

15 August 2011

Long overdue good news: The US gov't might stop subsidizing ethanol

It's about damn time.
Actually it's way, way past time, but whatever.


I liked this part from the farmer that produces corn for ethanol:

Despite the increasingly negative public opinion on ethanol Schipper is just not ready to give up on it yet.

"Everything has turned on us, but ethanol is still a great thing," he said. "It's been good for us."

No it isn't a great thing you fucking moron. It's wildly, shamefully inefficient, awful for the planet, awful for the economy, awful for most taxpayers (excepting you and oil companies), and awful for the country. Get your shit together and grow food that people can eat. You only started growing the stuff in the first place because of artificial demand. Ugh.

12 August 2011

What are you looking at?

You know you want it.
Sturgis is this weekend or last weekend or maybe the week before that. You don't care and I'm too lazy to check. Point is, it's happening, and it's a big deal in the v-twin / custom bike building communities. I'm not really a fan of American v-twin (read: Harley Davidson, but could also mean Victory or anything that comes with a matching t-shirt) motorcycles in general, and 'custom' bikes in particular. They tend to sacrifice function for form. And by that I mean they are unrideable pieces of junk. Plus I've never thought Harley's were cool; I was always more into the speed racer bikes.

Anyway, the v-twin crowd is kind of awesome with their pirate-wear, and we have an excellent example here: Nothing goes together like shorts and a motorcycle, so here's a photo of a sexy Hardley rider from the intertubes. He's got all the bases covered: tight cutoff jeans (rolled up slightly, natch); custom pipes; short sleeved shirt (very protective in the event of a crash); half helmet (link to photos of half-helmet wearing crash victims redacted in deference to the fact that it is too gross); sort of boots with white socks; weird coyote skin (??) seat covering; come hither gaze.

If this guy saw me on my bike he would probably have a big laugh at my zany helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, and boots. And I would envy that he looked vaguely comfortable at a stoplight, because this time of year it's quite warm in all the gear. Not so warm that I would consider sitting on a dead coyote, but still pretty warm.

11 August 2011

The cat loves art; hot Italian summer

Two pieces of news today.

1. A while ago I got my friends a fun signed print from theoatmeal of a kitteh with gatling guns and a jetpack. I think it would take tardcat to the next level but I'm not sure it's in the budget. And I'm not sure tardcat is qualified to operate a Gatling gun. Her mom got a photo of tardcat reviewing the framed piece. It sort of goes with a small postcard I brought back from a museum in Madrid (not the Prado, the Museo Thyssen-Bournemisza). I'm artsy like that. Official word is that the cat approves.

b. I'm going to be out of town for about 10 days starting late next week. Taking a trip to Northern Italy, or, as I like to think of it, 'visiting some cities that I might recognize from Assassin's Creed'. I'll be in Pisa, Cinque Terra, Luca (sp?), Bologne (maybe), Florence and maybe some other places (but not Venice). Not sure. But I do know I'll be in Pisa and Florence. So that's something. I also know it'll be hot. Details and travel blog entries to follow. And then maybe photos. We'll see.

04 August 2011

The Readers Respond, part XI, plus special bonus science comic (for you scientists out there)

Anonymous reader anonymous says about the jam below:
fact: cheese makes everything more delicious

To which I respond: WHY. EEE. ESS. YES.

Resistance is futile. Just embrace it. You know you want to. REPEAT OFFENDER!*

In unrelated news, this comic about science arrived via the intertubes. I know ze Newbs will particularly enjoy it, since he is a scientist and when he takes a break from being a megagenius we occasionally discuss matters of a scientific nature, scientific discoveries, difficulties surrounding research of same, and similar. Or we talk about what douche he is. (It's either highbrow or lowbrow over here, if you hadn't figured that out already.)

*'Repeat offender' is when you listen to a track and then restart that shit again from the beginning. It's not done any more but back in the day, before the proliferation of dance tracks and electronic music and dance radio and cd's and electricity and running water and clean underpants and proper oral hygiene and pretty much everything we take for granted now, DJs would play the same song over and over again in a single set, either back to back or mix it in from different spots. The crowd would go nuts for it. On limited-press vinyl they would literally wear out the record, sometimes in a single night. True story. Is that awesome or what?

03 August 2011

Summer Anthems - Summit by Audible

I haven't really heard any instant megajamz so far this summer. Yeah there's been a parade of pretty good Adele remixes but nothing that has a fun, sunrise set flavor. (Not that I would know, since the last time I saw a sunrise set was a good long while ago, but whatever.) Until today, when I heard this. It's unsophisticated catchy fun, and makes me feel like partying. As with most good summer jams it'll be gone before you know it.

I've been load-testing the speakers for a couple days now and recommend you do the same. Some haters will frown on it because it's cheesy. They can eat a slice of shut up.

Track is by Audible, and it's called Summit (original mix). As I type this it's got only 321 youtube 'views'. So you're getting in early.

If you want to go all out you can buy it here: https://www.beatport.com/release/summit-league/389720

02 August 2011


In my yoga practice I frequently talk with people that are new to yoga and/or say stuff like "I can't do yoga, my flexibility is poor".* (I practice yoga at a gym and also at some local yoga studios. The gym studio tends to draw more new and less committed yogis.) Or they tell me that they feel intimidated because they couldn't do certain poses. Or I notice that during their practice they focus too much on getting into a certain position (hand on ground, arms open, whatever) and compromise the rest of their pose.

The thing is, that's all bullshit that gets in the way of your yoga practice. It's not what yoga is about.

Yoga is not about what you can do. Yoga is about HOW you do what you can.

Your pose will look slightly different from my pose will look slightly different from everyone else's pose. Doesn't matter. What is important is that you find a way to reach your full potential in a safe, healthy way. Don't cheat your way 'deeper' into a pose by pulling other parts of your body out of alignment. It doesn't matter that you can get further into a twist or put your hand on the ground if your hips / knees / shoulders are flailing around. It's not good for your body and it's not good for your yoga practice.

Instead, focus on proper alignment. Build a good foundation and then work within it. That's your yoga. That's everyone's yoga. Good yoga is not a handstand. Good yoga is a strong, well-aligned, fundamentally sound attempt at a handstand. Whether you (or anyone) gets there is icing on the cake, and even if you are practicing your handstands the same principles apply:

You will make real progress towards your full potential in yoga when you let go of what you can do and instead focus on how you do what you can.

Namaste, bitches.

* The concept that you cannot do yoga because you have poor flexibility is so patently ridiculous that I don't know where to start. It's a negative feedback loop of nonsense. It's like saying, 'I can't get exercise because I'm fat.' How do you ever expect to get in shape if you don't exercise? How do you expect to improve flexibility if you don't stretch?


Friends were out of town for the weekend so I got to look after tardcat. The funny thing about tardcat is that although she gets lonely she doesn't want you to actually touch her. Instead she just wants to be in the same room as you and maybe, if you're lucky, she will sit by you or rub her face on your hand. Do NOT dare pet her or she will get uncomfortable and leave. You can sometimes scratch her neck if she's in the mood.

Like many cats she eschews her water bowl and drinks direct from the tap or from a freshly filled cup. Her preferred technique is to stick her paw in the water and then lick it off. It's not very efficient but tardcat has all kinds of weird behaviors. Like when she gets stuck on the roof and lays down in protest.

Another classic tardcat behavior is 'killing' birds that accidentally fly into the sliding glass door. She can't take them down on her own. But if they're sufficiently dazed and confused by the impact then she can sometimes get one. If they're dead already and still warm she brings them into the house, just like a normal cat. It's kind of gross. This habit led to the following exchange during a recent visit:

Me: Is that a dead bird?
Monica: No. It's a cat toy that looks like a bird.
Me: You sure?
Monica: Yesssss. Stella (Ed: actual cat name) never catches anything.
Me: (looks closely) Why is there blood coming out of it then?
Monica: What??? Ewwww...

I love pets.

Hells yeah

I might have to set the DVR. Purely for informational purposes.

Thundercats promo video:

28 July 2011

That's pretty good I guess

Neymar got a lot of press for his haircut and his play during the Copa America. Both of them were rather poor. When we saw his coiffure for the first time the best response was from Monica, who said, "Oh. My gosh. Look at ME, bitches!" I laughed, because his haircut is very Look at Me, Bitches.

He did do this in a league game though. And if I could do that then I'd probably get an obnoxious haircut too.  I'd get an obnoxious haircut if I could even imagine doing that. In a video game.

27 July 2011

Back to back Sesame Street rap covers: Because that's what the world needs

I think I featured this on the blog before, but I couldn't find it. (I didn't look very hard.)

So here (again?) are Bert and Ernie, doing what they do.

If I made a Sesame Street / Girl Talk mashup I think the universe would collapse under the weight of the awesome.

EDIT: Wanted to point out that the green dude @ 1:01 in the video is dancing pretty much exactly like I do when I'm at a Girl Talk show. Coincidence? I think not. 

"Se-same street?"

[It may be that some of you don't remember a muppet trying to pronounce Sesame Street as "se-same street" over and over again. I promise it was funny.]

This mashup of the beastie boys and sesame street is my second favorite muppet video mashup ever. The Cookie Monster is an inspired choice.

Sesame Street breaks it down from Wonderful Creative on Vimeo.

25 July 2011

Well played, sandwich guy. Well played.

The backyard (seriously)
I get sandwiches at the local grocery on occasion. For lunch. The deli made sandwiches are really hit or miss. Too many variables to list them all, but the two big ones are the quality of the ingredients and the person who puts it together.

The ingredients are all over the map. Sometimes the bread is stale (sometimes not), sometimes the lettuce is crisp and sometimes less so, and even the turkey depends on the mood of the assembler. Some days you get the boring bland stuff, some days you get the fancy premium pepper Boar's Head turkey cold cut.

There is one guy that does a consistently superior job, but he's not always there. So you take your chances.

I mention all this BS (that's backstory, thanks very much) because today I filled out my sandwich form as per usual but my order was misread and inverted, so my regular options were omitted, and my regular omissions were included. Hello turkey with mustard and tomatoes and pepperoncinis (I always get those though so who knows what the guy was looking at). As it turns out, the sandwich was excellent. Tomatoes were surprisingly delicious and I didn't mind that it was missing lettuce and onions. Nicely done, sir.

Note: Photo has nothing to do with my lunch. It's just a nice picture of the koi pond that I took with the crap camera on my cellphone. It's been hot here and I'm not sure if the fish like it but the plants seem to love it.

22 July 2011

Imitation, flattery, and theft (yeah I stole this)

Irrelevant Demotivational pilfered direct from Badass of the Week
 Confession time: I've been sitting on one of my favorite websites for a while now, waiting for the perfect moment to share it with you, the public. As it happens there is no perfect moment. And it's possible that many of you have already heard of it.


Today is Friday, and that means that at some point today there will be an updated Badass of the Week.

I've been working through the BotW entries for a while now and they really don't ever get old. I find that they are best savored one or two at a time, because there's only so much facepunching, sackbusting badassery that the human mind can take before you start to desensitize, and that's not cool. None of the epic awesome that is Badass of the Week should be anything but epic and awesome.

The language from BotW can best be described as colorful, and as such isn't strictly SFW. (There are f-bombs, is what I'm saying.) But it's not unsophisticated, and fans of comic books (check), video games (check), history (check), esp. combat history (check), mythology (check), role playing games like D&D (check), and people/things that are awesome (check, and check) will enjoy the hell out of it.

My favorite recent paragraph (and there are many from which to choose) is from the entry on Buzz Aldrin. I'm well familiar with the history and hagiography of Aldrin, since he features in two excellent books: The Right Stuff and, more recently, Rocket Men (second book highly recommended). Anyway, here's my favorite extract from his bio on my new favorite website:

OK. Now this is the United States, and here in America you are free to believe whatever crazy ridiculous nonsense you want to believe. In fact, guys like Buzz Aldrin have fought wars to defend our right to say whatever the hell we want to say whenever we want to say it, no matter how much it makes us look like complete idiots/toolsheds/jackasses. But when you go up to a man, especially a hardass like Buzz Aldrin, look him in the eyes, and call him a "liar, a thief, and a coward" to his face, you also have the right to receive what's rightfully coming to you. And in this case, what's coming to you is a fucking punch in the mouth.

Buzz took one look at this guy, said nothing, and coldcocked that douche in the chops with a head-shatteringly badass face-punch that left him staggered and dazed. I'm not entirely sure what happened afterwards, but my guess is that the cops showed up, took one look at Buzz Aldrin, and then maced the shit out of the conspiracy theorist with a bunch of crazy tear gas pepper spray stuff and arrested him for violating every conceivable statute relating to "Criminal Dumbassery".

I emailed my cousin to suggest that he incorporate the BotW site content into his kids bedtime reading. The oldest is around 6 so he might be a little young for it. I'm hoping he set it aside for the future, because they are going to love it.