International Security and Local Law Enforcement

Occasionally, I’d like to touch on something a little more serious. Countless critics provide quality artistic and socio-political analysis of today’s high quality dramas: Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Top Chef. But I’m afraid that this particular focus has led us to ignore the important lessons we can learn from America’s Top New Drama:  Hawaii Five-O.  Here are some important lessons from this week’s episode. Continue reading

Comcast makes me want to stab a bunny

So about nine days ago my internet service at home started intermittently crapping out. Suddenly I’d lose service and it would stay down for an hour or so and then pop back up.

It kept doing this, so I called Comcast. I got through to tech support easily enough, and they were friendly, but they couldn’t call someone out to my house because there was already a general outage in the neighborhood. That policy actually kind of makes sense, unless someone WITHIN the troubled area has a more specific problem.

This went on for approximately five days.

FINALLY they set up a service call for today (Tuesday) between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Apparently they expected me to just take the day off from work and wait at home all day because they didn’t bother to call me when the repairman showed up, so I missed the appointment. THANK YOU, COMCAST. IT’S NOT LIKE I HAVE A JOB OR ANYTHING. I AM IN FACT THE HEIR TO THE KIBBLES ‘N BITS DOG TREATS FORTUNE AND NEVER HAVE TO WORK A DAY IN MY LIFE. IT IS QUITE LEISUREFUL. I SPEND EVERY SINGLE TUESDAY WITH ABSOLUTELY NO OBLIGATIONS OTHER THAN PLAYING CONTACT BRIDGE WITH A COLORFUL ASSORTMENT OF FILIPINO CARNIVAL WORKERS.

So now I’m not getting internet service restored until at least tomorrow. I hope you get fisted by a Kim Jong Il puppet, Comcast.

And one last thing, I know you’re trying to rehabilitate your company’s rep for completely shitting all over its customers, but just training them to be friendly is not enough. I don’t care if the lady sounds like a chatty Cracker Barrel waitress from Murfreesboro. I’d prefer a rude asshole who can actually fix my shit.

Winter Tires

When one thinks of milestones in life, they may think of graduting college or getting married, perhaps buying a house or having kids.

I’ve accomplished one of those events, and while it was a significant event in my life, I find that the smaller, less momentous occasions are the ones that stick with me, and end up being just as defining in in shaping who I am.

One of those such small things is buying winter tires.

I have never bought winter tires before. I have not…

EDIT: WHAT THE HELL? I got part way through and decided I didn’t like how this was going, so I decided to delete it. Clearly that didn’t happen. Sorry guys….

So anyways, anyone have any winter tire suggestions? I’m buying some, and I don’t want to die on my wretched Canadian roads, so I need to get good ones.

In Which Neil Young’s Electric Lincoln Burns His Stuff

In sleepy San Carlos, CA Neil Young maintains a warehouse full of memorabilia, artifacts, guitars and apparently an electrified 1959 Lincoln Continental.  The thing about turning your old Lincoln into an hybrid bio-diesel-electric is that spontaneous combustion should always be at the back of your mind.

Merc

Let’s get boozy pt. 1

You know what the best thing about the winter holiday season is? Of course you do, it’s holiday themed alcohol. Wondering what kind of sweet boozy nectar is the best to get trashed on this holiday season? You’re in the right place.

Gingerbread ale.  I was browsing the aisles at Whole Foods one day when I stumbled on this gem.  It’s dark, spicy, and tastes likes Christmas (just like me). Sadly, it’s only sold in four-packs, and doesn’t have a wide availability, but if you see it around, it’s definitely worth picking some up.

Pumpkin ale.  Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale is pure deliciousness.  It’s the orangey/brown color you expect out of a ‘punkin’ ale, and tastes moderately sweet while being heavy on the spice, but low on the pumpkin. Honorable mention to Blue Moon’s Harvest Moon since it’s more widely available.

Celebration ale. Sierra Nevada’s celebration ale is an amber-ish IPA with extremely bitter after notes.  It’s pine-y, earthy, not very sweet, and the bitter lingers for ages.  It doesn’t really taste like the holidays, but that doesn’t stop me from consuming mass amounts of this stuff once it’s on the shelves.

Sam Adam’s Winter Classics pack is my go-to party beer during the colder months since there’s a beer in here for even the pickiest drinkers.  While I enjoy all of the beers included, the stand-out is really the Holiday Porter.  It’s dark, and slightly creamy with a much lighter mouthfeel thank you would expect.  But oh-so-good.  My runner-up in this pack is the Winter Brew. An amber colored, pumpkin pie-spicy bock

Game time!

How was the universe…created? Do we even know that?

Short version:
THEORY: Not created, formed. Space/everything began, grew. Before? *shrug*

Long: Read more here.

I was always terrible at physics. Why is [light] both a wave and particles?

Short version:
Light reflects/refracts like waves, has energy/momentum like particles.

Long: Read more here.

Submit a science question to me either in the comments, to my Gawker account, or to my email. I will answer it in ten words or less. If you ask me a question that neither I nor anybody else has the answer to, I will pretend I never received the question.

Just kidding. If any of you can answer this, there’s a Nobel waiting for you. Is the multiverse real?

The Night Watchman

Warning: Author is dweeb academic type who does not normally do “creative writing.” She apologizes in advance for any tedium. Thanks Mr. Meat, this is great.

I don’t sleep. Even when I was a kid I was up at three in the morning staring at the ceiling. During the summer I stayed with my grandparents on an isolated farm in the Western Nebraska scrub. My grandmother didn’t sleep either. We would lay on her bed in the still hours and she would read the comics to me while my grandfather slept in the recliner he passed out in at eight o’clock. Continue reading

Stephen Tobolowsky Needs to be in Your Life

I’m a pretty easy person to please. But one thing that annoys me to no end is the wasteland of radio. I used to love listening to talk radio because my parents didn’t allow cable in the house. At only 23 years of age it’s not like I’ve lived through the golden age of the medium but there was a time when people actually held long conversations and told interesting stories. Now we get blathering talking points and mindless phone calls from Gus in Naperville. Thanks to podcasts we now have a return to long-form storytelling and I want to share my favorite one out there: The Tobolowsky Files.

A lot of you might know his name but you definitely remember the face. Tobolowsky is the ultimate “That Guy.” He’s had memorable roles in dozens of films (most notably Groundhog Day) and through his career has picked up an enormity of stories.

Thanks to an appearance on a movie review podcast and a bright idea by the show’s host he’s now put out 40 episodes of incredible material. Tobolowsky riffs on almost any subject matter. It can range from the typical Hollywood insider stuff to his musings on bedtime stories or the concept of Halloween. He’s one of the most compelling storytellers I’ve ever listened to. It doesn’t matter what he and host David Chen speak about, I just want more of it. Another great part of the podcast is very little is scripted. There is some pre-show banter and Tobolowsky will just get on a train of thought and run with it. That kind of spontaneity is refreshing in an era of pre-packaged glossy interviews.

So for those of you who have long and boring commutes to work, need something to listen to before bedtime or like me are always in search of a good story I say check out this podcast.

PS: Apologies for the length or crappy writing in advance.

iTunes link

Karaoke Rules?

So imagine, hypothetically, that you just started writing on a blog with a bunch of people that you barely know.  It would probably be pretty similar to singing Karaoke with your co-workers, right?  A collaborative endeavor, where you are feeling each other out and you will see each other again tomorrow, but the interactions are mediated, and it’s not like you are likely to really tell someone else how you really feel.

How much is too much?

As with Karaoke, it’s a fine balance.  Start posting a lot more than everyone else?  You’re a mic hog.  Everyone will secretly wish that you would just go home.  Post too little?  Well now the party is just going to suck. And you know what?  It will be your fault.  Plus, you will force them to pick up the slack, turning them into mic hogs!

Song selection matters

Yeah, I love Steve Reich too, but just because you somehow found a Karaoke Bar with Different Trains Part I doesn’t mean that you should find yourself murmuring “fastest train” and “From New York to Los Angeles” into a microphone.  We are all busy; we could be anywhere. Make it fun.

Different Trains Part I

Drinking!

Do it.  Actually, this one is pretty simple.

Experiment

Sure, everyone says that you should bang out your “go to” songs.  But this is wrong.  And boring.  If I wanted to listen to a perfect version of Midnight at the Oasis, I’d ring up Maria Muldaur. I can’t imagine she’s very busy.  (This is how it’s done!) Nope.  I want to hear you try something new and crazy.  I want to laugh (and drink).  Something you are familiar with in the middle of the evening is fine, but you should be pushing yourself.  Give me something new!

…but not too much

But look, if you have only heard the chorus to a song, don’t sing it.  If you don’t know anything about the subject, don’t make me read about it.  Unless it’s really funny.  Then it’s okay again.

Whatever you do, don’t start with a defense of anonymity and then a musing on blog-sharing etiquette.  That’s like leading off with I Will Remember You and Sweet Caroline.  What kind of loser are you anyway?