Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Winter for humanity

Hey all (tap, tap, tap). Hello? Is this thing on?

Welp, just poking my head up from a long hiatus to highlight an interesting opinion piece I just read:

The biggest problem climate change poses isn't how the Department of Defense should plan for resource wars, or how we should put up sea walls to protect Alphabet City, or when we should evacuate Hoboken. It won’t be addressed by buying a Prius, signing a treaty, or turning off the air-conditioning.

The biggest problem we face is a philosophical one: understanding that this civilization is already dead. The sooner we confront this problem, and the sooner we realize there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves, the sooner we can get down to the hard work of adapting, with mortal humility, to our new reality.

The choice is a clear one. We can continue acting as if tomorrow will be just like yesterday, growing less and less prepared for each new disaster as it comes, and more and more desperately invested in a life we can’t sustain. Or we can learn to see each day as the death of what came before, freeing ourselves to deal with whatever problems the present offers without attachment or fear.

If we want to learn to live in the Anthropocene, we must first learn how to die.

You know, just a little light and inspirational reading as we had into the long, dark winter months. I wouldn't want anyone to get all depressed or anything, especially my all-time favorite American Prepper, El Borak.

Anyway, I'll catch you crazy scamps in the Silicocene.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Salute to A-hole Driver in Prairie Village

3AM presents Real Men of Genius
Real Men of Genius!

Today we salute you... Mr. Douchey Entitled Prairie Village Teen Driver.
My daddy bought me bitchin' Honda!

You own Mission Road in your own mind, and you’re not afraid to prove it by texting your friends a selfie from the driver's seat every five minutes.
Yellow light means floor the accelerator…

You know nothing make you manlier than drag racing a cyclist. And when you swerve into the bike lane, you cockily yell "You're welcome!"
Eat my dust, stoopid cyclist!

And while your over-worked pops has to pay your speeding tickets and your higher insurance rates, being pulled over by the Prairie Village police every time you hit the road is something those Lancer chicks really dig.
They love the bad boy!

So wave the green flag and put the pedal to the metal, oh swoop-haired future ambulance occupant. Because even though you’ll never make it to Victory Lane, that over sized spoiler on your 1990s Honda looks really boss!

Mr. Douchey Entitled Prairie Village Teen Driver!

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Thursday, August 01, 2013

YouTube Tuesday: How To Hack A Website

This amazingly awesome satire series by Wired stars John Hodgman as an aging NSA agent who reminds me quite a bit of Uncle Nick. And, it's awesomely amazing. tagged: , , , ,

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Aegrescit medendo ...

...but I might try it anyway.
You might claim you’d do anything to reverse baldness, but the “vampire treatment” puts that sentiment to the test.  Scientists use injections of “platelet-rich plasma” to combat aging on the face and hands and can use the same process on the scalp.

Yes, the “vampire treatment” involves extracting your blood and re-injecting it into your scalp.  Volunteer attempts have proven successful, with many subjects experiencing significant hair growth in spots that have long gone dark.

Researchers believe that the treatment works by stimulating stem cells below the skin, assisting in the re-growth of hair.
I mean, when you think of if, it's really not all that different from pro cyclists banking their blood for later use in the Tour de France... except you're (hopefully) regrowing your flowing locks instead of sitting on a tiny bike seat for six hours a day.
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Snow Country for Old Men

Suburban living for the 21st century male has several key milestones.

There's the point where you decide to pay a guy to take care of your yard because who needs that aggravation?

There's the point where you switch from a propane grill to a wood chunk charcoal smoker (dude, don't even bring that charcoal brick stuff around my house. What do you think this is, Gladstone?).

And then there's the day when you get your power snow thrower.

Of these three, I think the final one represents the furthest stage of "maturity." I mean, it seems like a bit of an extravagance. You're spending a couple hundred bucks or so on an appliance that you'll use maybe once or twice a year? But when you have a snow event the likes of which we had this week, you damn well are grateful that you have a snow shovel that you can plug in or power up and just walk behind to clear your driveway. That goes double if, like a majority of the guys on my block, you have "advanced experience in the role of life."

Me? I kind of take it as a point of pride that I haven't yet crossed that threshold. I'm still young. I'm able bodied. I ain't 'fraid of a little cold white stuff, and shoveling it off my driveway is my manly duty, a rite of passage each winter that, like the out-taking of the trash and the smashing of the spiders, proves how important I am to this family.

So I wasn't at all daunted when I opened the garage door Thursday afternoon to attack the thick layer of white stuff in my driveway. Hell, I was kind of looking forward to it!
Before: A tabula rasa
10 inches exactly
Then, I moved the first shovel full. This was a heavy snow.

And when I say it was a heavy snow, I don't just mean there was a lot of it. Don't get me wrong, there WAS a lot of it, but it was also quite wet and heavy. This was going to be a tougher job than I was expecting.

Frost thing's first. I shovel a path from the garage door to the end of the driveway. Whew, this is tough. Next, shovel out the rest of one side of the driveway.
Halfway done with half the driveway
By the time I'm halfway done with half the driveway, I've worked up quite a sweat -- a manly sweat, mind you. I can see that I'd better do little advanced planning for the post-shoveling recuperation.
I'm going to need this later...
I shed my coat and get on with the job. Soon, I've got half the driveway cleared. That's enough to get one of our cars out of the two-car garage, just in case we have some kind of emergency (like running out of Scotch). I've also got a helluva backache, which makes that Scotch emergency all the more likely.
It all got me wondering just how much snow I moved. We had our driveway and sidewalk replaced last summer, so I know that the area I shoveled is about 907 square feet (130,608 square inches). Multiply that by the 10 inches of snow over the whole thing and you end up with 1,386,080 cubic inches of snow, or 802.13 cubic feet1. That all converts into a pretty seriously stiff back the next day.

But numbers aside, I was prepared to reward myself for a job... well... done.
Time for a cold one
Also, I'm totally going to get a snow thrower before next winter.

1) All math calculations done by the Internet and may be subject to my complete ineptitude at mathematics.

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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Graze anatomy

It's not something I talk about, but I'm not afraid to say that I'm not nearly the man I used to be.

You see, a couple of years ago I went through a weight-loss regimen. I never really got the hang of political correctness, but I believe the proper term for my body-type was "fatus-boombalatus," and I'd come to that point in my life where you've gotta either get busy livin' or get busy dyin'... Aw hell, it wasn't all that dramatic. I just wanted to see a lot less of myself.

So I did. I dropped about 40 lbs and never looked back.

I didn't really want to make a big deal about it, and I still don't. So I'm not going to go into the whole process right here/right now (maybe some other time). I only bring it up by way of introduction of what I do want to discuss.

You see, part of getting rid of 20-percent of myself was eating smaller portions but higher-quality food. Of course if you're consuming fewer calories, you want to get more from each individual one. So you look for good ways to eat nutritious food.

Well, a few weeks ago I stumbled across a Tumblr post about a new service/web startup called Graze. This service married my passion for being lazy by shopping from home over the internet with my passion for eating delicious low-calorie snacks.

Well, here's how they explain it:

So I like what I see, and I sign up to pay five bucks a week for a box of healthy snacks that get sent to me in the mail. Sounded like a good deal to me. I mean, I spend more than that on coffee each week.

About a week ago we get the first shipment. (which was free, btw. Yeah, your first and fifth boxes are free when you sign up. Sweet!).

When you enroll for the service, you pick the four snacks you want included. For me, the toasted pistachios were a no brainer (FTW!). I also opted for a dried raisin/apple/almond mix ("Eleanor's Apple Crumble"), and a Fruity Mango Chutney (with black pepper dippers).

I also got the "Yin & Yang" a mix of almonds, raisins dried cherries and chocolates. I'm not crazy about chocolate, but I thought the women in my life might like it. (I was correct, of course).

All of the food is really tasty, especially the apple stuff which  was gone within a matter of hours. And all of the portions are low-calorie (the one with the chocolate was 217 calories for the entire serving).

I can hear you asking... "But, hey. You ordered food through the internet? Was it any good?"

Well, when the box arrived, I opened it and put on the dining room table. Between me, my Supermodel Wife and two daughters, it was empty within two and a half days. So, yeah it was good.

Looking forward to the next box coming in this week. There's a kind of granola bar-type snack that I'm eager to try out.

Anyway, if you're looking for a nutritious, low-cost and (most importantly) lazy way to get good snacks, check out Graze. Since they're sill in a beta soft-launch, you'll need an invitation code. You can use mine if you want: TNPZWDP

If you sign up, let me know what snacks you tried and what you think.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

End zone

Let's face it. In the grand scheme of things, sports American style, aren't all that important.

To misquote my good friend Rick Blaine, "The problems of grown men playing a child's game don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."

But then again, in the grand scheme of things, what is important? Spending time with friends and family? Getting the most enjoyment of what little time we have together? Accepting that life is suffering, and it's better to do it with people we love than alone?

Curtis Kitchen has a great post today. It's about an old story. A tragic story that happens over and over, and will happen to all of us eventually. 

Still, there's something to be said for an old story well told.

Five of his sons were in the room, as were a daughter-in-law and an infant granddaughter, a full group that would spend the next week together starting the next day, nearly 24 hours per day, in a hospice care facility. The NFC Championship game was on the hospital television, and while the volume had been kept low for the most part, it was turned up as a replay was analyzed. The camera flashed to San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, who clearly disagreed with the replay call on a disputed completed pass.

As his morphine intake increased in a morbid race against his body’s increasing pain, Dad had spent recent days mostly asleep, only waking when his failing body demanded water, or when a nurse would attempt to move him in his bed. However, as it turned out, that replay moment came in the middle of Dad’s last rally, and he had gone as far as to sit up a bit in bed, fully alert, enjoying both the company in his room and the game.

That’s when, despite his voice being mostly a loud whisper by that point, Dad let the 49ers coach have it.

“Shut your mouth, Jim Harbaugh!”

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013


It would be great if,
like my Chrome browser, Life had
a 'Restore' button

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

May the Swartz be with you

I've been trying to avoid posting political stuff here, but the silly White House Petition site may actually prove to be of some use if it results in a very, very small measure of posthumous justice (not that there is such a thing).

“A prosecutor who does not understand proportionality and who regularly uses the threat of unjust and overreaching charges to extort plea bargains from defendants regardless of their guilt is a danger to the life and liberty of anyone who might cross her path,” said the petition.

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Happy BiRRthday

Hey nerds! In case you weren't paying attention, it's J.R.R.Tolkien's biRRthday today.

In honor of the occasion, a week ago I took my wife and (older) kid to see the fiRRst movie in what will be +The Hobbit trilogy (of movies. I know all you nerdlywise people know The Hobbit was just a single book... and more of a kids' story at that, but whetevs).

Anyway, I know there have been a lot of ubernerd reviews of the movie saying it sucks, it's too long, blah blah blah. But those nattering nabobs are just getting their nerdy panties in a bunch because the director added a lot to the story that wasn't in the original book. But take my word for it, it's a good flick. We paid $5 a person to see the matinee and we sneaked in our own drinks/snacks. That brought our total outlay to about $15 for 2.5 hours of entertainment. A great value in today's economy.

And speaking of the economy (and +J.R.R. Tolkien's birrthday), I wanted to pass along the discussion about The Macroeconomics of Middle Earth that I found on the fun Worthwhile Canadian Initiative blog.

The full economic impact of Smaug can only be understood by recognizing that the dragon's arrival resulted in a severe monetary shock. On the left is shown Smaug's hoard. On the right, for purposes of comparison, are the gold reserves of the Bank of England. It is clear from a simple inspection of these two figures that the amount of gold coinage Smaug withdrew from circulation represents a significant volume of currency. This would, inevitably, lead to deflation and depressed economic activity.

There are also a lot of great comments. I assume they're all well-considered and rational, although I can't say I read every word. I did read enough to come to the conclusion that we should probably hire a company of these Worthwhile Canadians (and possibly a Hobbit burglar from somewhere), send them to The Lonely Mountain of Washington, D.C., and have them slay the evil dragon of political expediency that has imprisoned our national economic recovery.

Of course, I guess there's such a thing as taking a metaphor too far.

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