Friday, March 29, 2013

Pass'd over

Least favorite Easter pick-up lines:
1.     You know what else rises after three days?
2.     Is your name Friday? ‘Cause you’re Good.
3.     I’d Cadbury those eggs.
4.     There’s an Easter Egg hunt … in my pants.
5.     Peeps. Poops. What’s the difference?
6.     I’m gonna nibble your ears off.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book Review: The Private Eye, Issue #1, Brian K. Vaughan/Marcos Martin

The Premise:
In the future, everyone wears masks and the paparazzi are private eyes.

The Good:
Love the premise. The story is a modern-day/futuristic noir thriller that moves the action along. And the art is fantastic. Designed for tablets, the action features bold and vibrant splash pages.

The Bad:
Like all comics these days (hey, I grew up in the verbose-laden heyday where words overwhelmed the artwork), it's heavy on art and light on words (which is fine), so it can be zipped through in less than 10 minutes.

The Verdict:
Buy it. Best of all, Mr. Vaughan and Mr. Martin are following the Radiohead model of "name your own price". Full disclosure: I paid $1, which I feel is a fair price, considering I can get a song for $.99 and an hour-long comedy concert from Louis CK for $5. Plus, the series is only supposed to run 10-issues. So $10 for an hour and half of reading--cheaper than a movie!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I discovered a new phone app called Rando. The premise is simple: take a photo and send it to a random stranger somewhere in the world. Once you send a photo, then you can receive a photo. The app supposedly strips out identifying information and only provides country and city info. It's probably what Chat Roulette was intended to be until the shirtless/pantless perverts took it over. So far, I've sent and received 7 photos and only one has been a bust (not literally, just a blank photo ... cheater!).

Some pix are better than others.
This is the amount of info you get.

That's no moon.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Book Review: Feeding a Yen, By Calvin Trillin

The Premise:
New Yorker staff writer, Calvin Trillin, reminisces about some of his favorite dishes from around the world.

The Good:
Mr. Trillin is a tour guide with a wry sense of humor and a passion for all sorts of dishes, ranging from the local and conventional to the far away and exotic. He is prone to hyperbole, but readily admits his biases and moves on. His prose is easygoing, yet descriptive to the point to where you have to run your sleeve over your mouth, lest any drool puddle on the page. Simply put: Mr. Trillin would be an exemplary dinner party host—the kind with the ever-ready story that begins, “This one time, in New Orleans …”

The Bad:
This is a book about food. Do not read it on an empty stomach or if you are trying to maintain a diet of any variety.

The Verdict:
Buy it and read it. Preferably with a sandwich in your hand. Or a risotto nearby.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Things I've learned recently

Salad dressing is made up of three parts: oil, acid (vinegar or citrus juice) and seasoning (salt, pepper, etc.).

The secret to small talk is to get the other person to do the talking.

Lentils are delicious with a healthy dose of cumin and olive oil.

Classic hats, when worn with confidence, are making a comeback.

The Vine app has its limitations (only 6 seconds), and yet those same limitations have created infinitely imaginative films.

No amount of talking will ever replace doing. In fact, they aren’t even the same currency.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Face to Facial Hair

Yesterday I was stopped in a parking lot and told, in no uncertain terms by a friend of a friend, that I absolutely had to participate in a beard and mustache contest at a local bar next week. And to think that I was about to shave it all off the day before. Good thing the weather turned cold or I might never have gotten my shot at follicle infamy. Details to come ...

Friday, March 15, 2013

House of Cads

I’m about five episodes into the Netflix original series, House of Cards, and it’s fascinating, however not quite for the reasons I expected. The storylines are intriguing, the directing and production values are sharp and the acting is top-notch. So what’s the problem (because you know there is one)?

So far, it’s all villains and victims. Every major character is unsympathetic. While it’s interesting and sometimes gripping to watch the characters manipulate and take down rivals, their motivations are rather murky. I get that it’s supposed to be a critique of politics today—some would say the cost of doing business—yet I find it hard to believe that it’s continually this ruthless and that people are just so matter of fact about making ethically challenged decisions. I at least want to see them do it for God or Country or some other such mantra and/or platitude that can live on a higher level.

Is this a show worth watching? So far, yes. But is it also a show that’s a lot like Curb Your Enthusiasm in that it’s hard to watch more than one episode in a day because it makes you feel bad about humanity and yourself for watching it? Also, yes.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

E.T. Poster, Modern Day

We had a movie poster contest at work. I thought that it would be interesting to do a modern day version of E.T. since the famous line, "E.T. phone home" would now be a smartphone. And there you have it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fun with the Sun

Perhaps you’ve seen pictures or videos along these same lines—our sun is massive when compared to Earth, yet miniscule when compared to a select assortment of gigantic stars. Those stars make our sun look like a teeny-tiny pea next to an exercise ball. Which got me thinking …

·      Are the planets that orbit those gigantic stars proportional to the star?
·      If so, would the aliens on those planets be proportional as well?
·      If life exists on other planets, what percentage is proportional to our own?
·      Is Marvel Comics’ Galactus based on a true story?
·      Are there stars that swing towards the other end of the size spectrum?
·      Is there a star that’s smaller than Earth?
·      Smaller than moi?
·      Are the planets small, too, with super small aliens and even smaller and cuter kittens?
·      Could we eventually harness the power of that small star to travel to another galaxy?
·      How much wood could a space woodchuck chuck if a space woodchuck could chuck wood in space?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Repetition killed the Radio Star

How did it come to this? Or was it always like this and I haven’t realized it before now?

I am, of course, talking about Pop Radio. And I realize I’m not saying anything you haven’t already heard before. Because that’s Pop Radio—hearing the same eight songs over and over and over and over again until you love Big Brother. It’s like Christmas music in Mid-to-Late December—you’ve heard the same song so many times that you can’t tell if they are good or not because all objectivity has been beaten out of you. It was like when I worked retail: You’d start off with a new set of music, “Oh sweet Allah, something new to listen to”, which turned into, “Oh sweet Jesus, make it stop”, to, “Son of a Buddha, anything but this horrible music”.

And that’s the tragedy: There is SO MUCH good music out there. You could go the rest of your life listening to music and never hear all of the music that has been produced in the world to this point.

Yet we WILLINGLY do this to ourselves. Spoiler alert: Bruno Mars ain’t ever getting into Heaven and Taylor Swift will always be a horrible girlfriend. That’s just the reality of Pop Music. But we listen like the outcome will change. “Maybe this time Fun. will actually be, y’know, Fun.” Nope, same boring, whiny crap. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go listen to a band called, Boring Whiny Crap*. I hear they’re pretty good.

*I hope this band actually exists and are pretty good.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Poker in the front ...

This past weekend I played in a fundraiser poker tournament. The twist was that there were quite a few people from the professional circuit in attendance as well, for a grand total of 5 tables of 8, or 40 total. The buy-in was a set amount, which got you about $5,000 in chips to start, and you had the option of buying an extra $2,500 for about 1/3rd of the buy in price—a good deal, but one I refused. So I was already starting at a deficit.

The game was Texas Hold ‘Em. For the uninitiated, you are dealt two cards face down. Then a round of betting ensues. Anyone remaining gets to see three more cards (“The Flop”), more betting, another card (“The Turn”), more betting, the last card (“The River”) and, if there are two or more players remaining at that point, a last round of betting. Players play the best five cards available—a combination of one or both of their two cards and the five in the middle.

The thing about poker you don’t see in movies and on TV is the enormous amount of folding of hands that goes on. Most hands never make it past The Flop. The best players pick their moments and their fortunes largely result from a few well-placed bets or even going “all-in” at certain points. Rarely are you in every other hand.

The other thing that gets a lot of attention is “The Tell”. Everyone supposedly has one. But in all my years of playing, I can honestly say that it’s not so much a specific action, like a smirk or a wink, as a general feeling that develops as you play. Every hand is a chance to learn something about your fellow players. Does the guy to your right always folds if challenged? Does the girl to your left bet too aggressively when nothing good is showing?

For example, if The Flop comes up A-K-J and everyone checks around or bets lightly, you would expect that things wouldn’t change much when a 2 comes up on The Turn. But if someone suddenly bets aggressively, you have to wonder if they are 1.) trying to steal the pot, 2.) were trying to pretend they didn’t have anything at first in order to lure in more money or 3.) want to make sure that no one is able to catch their Straight on the River.

Basically, these things add up to give you an almost subconscious read of the table, which of course “Tells” you quite a bit of information.  

Unfortunately, even the best played hand are subject to the whims of Lady Luck and my A-10 suited was beaten when the old codger across from me caught a matching 7 to his A-7.

These are the subtleties that make poker interesting. And if there wasn’t so much smoking at those games, to the point where my eyes were burning, I would probably be more inclined to try my luck in the future.