October 11, 2013 § 2 Comments
When I was a kid, I always used to come up with something that my next birthday represented. This can probably go back as far as when I was 9-years-old, but maybe it goes even deeper. My memory of childhood isn’t so good (if that’s because of repressed memories, please never let them unpress) but this action I took on my birthday’s is something I often think about.
When I turned 9, that was the last year of being in single-digits.
When I turned 10, that was my first year of being in double-digits. (And if I was a little genius kid, I probably would’ve said something about binary code but to be fair, the internet was not even around yet for the public.)
When I turned 11, that was identical-consecutive-numbers.
When I turned 12, that was proper-numerical-order-numbers.
Of course 13 is a big one, because that’s the first time you are a teenager. And then you are classified quite succinctly as being “a teen” and all that it implies, for the next seven years of your life. When you turn 13, you really become a classification of your age, you’ve truly entered “decade assignment” and from now on you might have tasks to perform before your next decade, goals to reach or otherwise be considered a failure.
I don’t know how many of those goals that I properly hit as a teenager. I didn’t have my first girlfriend. I can’t believe I’m even going to admit this, but I didn’t even have my first kiss as a teenager. I got drunk for the first time. Smoked a bit of weed and didn’t care for it because I got way too high. (I’ll never understand this apparent notion that you don’t get high your first time; I thought I was getting high for the first time and also dying for the first time at the same time.) On that note, I didn’t care for the first time I got drunk, aided by my sister’s boyfriend-at-the-time and a bottle of whiskey. Why would anyone start a young kid on whiskey, if not only because that dude turned out to be a giant asshole.
I did the normal things. I got my driver’s license, turned 18 and bought cigarettes and dirty magazines, graduated high school, got into some trouble, went off to college, and before you know it I’m in my twenties.
The funny thing about turning 20 in this country is that it’s the most anticlimactic of all the decade change-overs. Nobody spends their adolescence waiting to be a 20-year-old. Turning 20 is only another roadblock in front of the true goal: Turning 21.
I really wasn’t even much of a drinker when I turned 21. I wasn’t much of a rabble-rouser as a teenager, I didn’t do drugs or get drunk except for on sporadic occasions, and when I turned 21 I went over to my friends apartment with one of those mini-kegs of Heineken that my mom had given me as a gift, and maybe drank half of it. I wasn’t even drunk; that didn’t become an interest of mine until literally the next semester at college, when I made a new group of friends and now had full access to the bars. Now I consider it to be one of my favorite hobbies!
What are the goals of a person in their 20s these days? It used to be that by the time you were 25 you better have a career, a spouse, a bun in the oven, and a house for your spouse with an oven and some lovin’. Start preparing for your retirement 40 years before it’s due. My understanding is that you’re supposed to hire an accountant named Ira so that he can help you save up 401,000 dollars by the time you are 65.
Those goals don’t seem to apply to the 20s anymore. Now your goals are to not have goals, to travel, to date a lot, to use protection to avoid putting any buns in any ovens, entering the housing market is a terrible idea, and “most people really don’t even have their careers figured out until they’re 40 so don’t worry about it!” This current generation of 20-somethings is now sort of the “eh, it’ll work itself out!” generation. It’s the generation that puts the drinking bird toy by the keyboard so that it keeps hitting the proper button to keep Springfield from having a nuclear meltdown and goes out to watch Naked Lunch. Your twenties is literally the time between being a teenager and being a 30-something, and that is literally how people in their twenties interpret that time in their lives.
“We don’t want to leave behind the time in our lives where nobody held us responsible for anything but we also want to be treated like adults!”
By the time I had hit 27 I was already itching to get into my thirties. Don’t get me wrong, I also don’t want to be held responsible for anything, but I’m also fine with surrounding myself with people that don’t expect me to be an adult. When I’m at a business place — like work — I consider myself to be more of a “three kids in a huge trench coat” that walks around pretending to be an adult.
“Business! Reports! Filing things! Print!”
I turn 31 in December and I’m already starting to think about what it all means. What the clock on my life is doing. When will I be “too old” to do certain things? I don’t really worry about things like “playing video games for an entire weekend” or “eating a Lunchable for mid-morning snack” because those are timeless, but there are plenty of other bigger life decisions to consider.
When will I be “too old” to date a girl that’s 26?
When will I be “too old” to have a kid?
When will I be “too old” to quit my job and travel Europe?
When will I be “too old” to consider myself “too legit to quit”?
I look at myself as someone in my early-30s and I think to myself, this could be your last chance to not be “too old” to do anything you want to do. Nobody has ever told me it’s a bad idea for me to quit my job and risk being poor, because I don’t have anyone to support. The age difference from 31 to mid-20′s isn’t bad at all, and if the opportunity to date anyone arises, I’ll let you know.
And there are going to be plenty of grampas that “Do the Hammer” in about 30 years, so don’t you worry about that last one.
But I start to look at other people now, older people, and start to consider what I’ll look like when I get there. I start to wonder “How am I going to look when I’m 45?” or “How will I come off to younger people when I’m 50?” I don’t want to be a creep but at the same time, I don’t want to be an old fogie that doesn’t know how to boogie. (May have just nailed my own coffin there.)
I sometimes go to a bar near my apartment and it’s one of those “locals hangouts” with the same 15 people every night (and about 5000x less charming than Cheers) and I see this group of old men hitting on young women and I think “Oh God no. Not me. Never” and it freaks me out to think about becoming one of those dudes if I don’t either settle down before I’m 40 or develop an anti-aging potion-slash-lotion.
(And really, if I develop that point/lotion, I’ll be so rich that none of the rest of it really matters, so yes, I’m working quite hard on that too.)
So I look at myself now, and I look ahead, and I think:
This is it. This will be the best 10 years of my life. My first 10 years were so stupid that I barely remember them! The next 10 years seemed to have me missing a lot of what you’re supposed to experience when you’re a teenager and I tend to look back on that with embarrassment and regret. The next 10 years were all well and good, but they are gone now and you can’t dwell on that. The next 10 after my 30s will be the first time that I really start to resemble “the dad” of pretty much everyone I knew in school. When you’re 40, you’re perfectly capable of having a kid that’s going off to college. That might not be as normal these days, to have a kid when you’re 19 or 20, but it’s not extremely abnormal either.
I’m not only not ready to be an actual father, I am equally unready to look like a father.
(I picture Maury Povich yelling at me: “Ken, you are NOT the father…. Buuttt.. you could be. You look the part. Technically, you’re not, but I would not have all been surprised if you were the father of this 15-year-old.”)
There’s no choice now but to enjoy it. I’ve lived nearly the first full year of being in my 30s and it’s not like each year is going to be better than the last. At some point you peak, at every point you are one second further from a person that is 26-years-old. And then one day, you’re 40.
(At which point, I’ll bargain that that is the best 10 years.)
October 4, 2013 § 1 Comment
So with much procrastination and a lot of “man, do I really want to say this?” I have finally finished telling my story of my trip to Thailand. It’s certainly personal and frankly, I don’t know if it paints me in a good light, but at least it’s over and I can move on to the next thing. I don’t know what that will be. I received my yearly notice that my rights to this domain are going to expire and I’m not sure what to do with this blog anymore.
I guess we will just have to wait and find out.
To download and/or listen to part III, just follow this link:
Thanks for listening! I’m sure that wasn’t easy.
September 25, 2013 § 2 Comments
If y’all are trying to avoid Dexter spoilers, why would you possibly read further?
I have been a fan of horror and the macabre for as long as I can remember. It probably started somewhere along the road of coming across some horror film on HBO when I was far too young, or possibly finding out that there were Scary Stories that you could tell in the dark, but that was “my thing.” (That and food, I guess.) But I’ve always had a healthy obsession with death, serial killers, and movies about death and serial killers.
What do you MEAN that’s not “healthy”?!?
So when Dexter came along in 2006, I was hooked. Finally a television show that would focus on the killer as the hero. Dexter was a show (or book, depending on if you read or not) that actually found a way to take someone like Ted Bundy and have millions of people sympathize with him! (Or maybe millions of people were already sympathizing with Ted Bundy but Dexter took away the guilt?!) No, I think it was just a matter of people having a fascination with what made a serial killer “tick” and Dexter was a likable character that also happened to have a need to kill people and that need was harnessed in the best way possible — killing people like him. Somehow I found Michael C. Hall much more relatable and likable as a killer as I found him in Six Feet Under.
(Please note: This article is not a “confession” of any sort. To being a closet serial killer.)
On October 1, 2006, the pilot episode ‘Dexter’ told the story of a Miami blood splatter analyst that was adopted as a young child and taught by his police officer father how to properly kill and get away with it because his dad knew that it was the only way to protect his son. He would help develop the perfect machine for getting people like Dexter off of the street, people that killed innocents because it was something innate. Something they couldn’t help. I suppose that Harry Morgan watched Halloween a bunch and figured that even if he sent Dexter to a mental institute, he would eventually escape when he was 18 with super-human strength and kill a bunch of babysitters.
Instead, he’ll kill the babysitter killers. Of which, in the universe of Dexter, there must be millions. According to the Dexter wiki site, he may have killed at least 134 people. And that’s pretty much only in the Miami metro area. Just imagine how many serial killers that would make in the continental United States alone! But aside from the obvious insanity of some of what went on in Dexter, the first season could be considered something special, something different than other shows, perhaps one of the best debut seasons in television history.
Dexter was dead inside, but he had a fake girlfriend Rita. A tortured soul, a battered single mother that would accept Dexter into her life because he was gentle and didn’t want to have sex with people, something that terrified both of them. Dexter needed Rita because it made him look normal, all part of Harry’s Code. In the weirdest way, they were a perfect couple.
His sister Debra was also on the force, working her way up from vice to eventually make detective. All of which gave Dexter special access to the Miami Metro records and information, beyond his own scope and reach as a blood splatter analyst. Deb kept – fucksuckity bitchasscockalekee turnip tits – Dexter grounded. She was as close as he could ever get to loving someone and caring about whether they lived or died. Even if she was an annoying as hell character and the worst cop to ever be on TV and Ice-T is a cop on TV.
His father Harry died long before the pilot episode yet made an appearance for the whole series, playing the part of Dexter’s conscience and a reminder of right-and-wrong as he went about fighting every natural urge he had in order to follow the Code. Or maybe Harry really was a ghost, there’s no way to tell, really. This is the show Dexter after all. Wonderfully charming in it’s originality as well as it’s penchant for going completely off of the rails. Not that the show ever went “Urkel now has a teleportation device” off-the-rails, but it would get rather ridiculous at times.
“How will Dexter get out of this jam!? Find out next week!”
“Oh, he had the key. Okay, cool.”
And then there was probably the most underrated character of the entire series: Sergeant fucking Doakes. The show would eventually try to replace Doakes with Quinn as “the suspicious cop that’s on to Dexter” but when we found out that Quinn was the most one-dimensional character in the history of anything that’s had characters, he moved on as soon as “Deb brought me coffee? What does that mean? Hey, is this shirt too big?”
Yes. Yes, it is far too big.
But the first season was excellent. The Ice Truck Killer provided the first season arc, the backstory of having a brother and what happened to his mother and finding out that he wasn’t the only person that was born this way, since his brother was the Ice Truck Killer all provided for excellent twists and turns as you really worried about the survival of all the characters. And while I would have been upset at the time, you could have ended the show right there and had nothing short of a 12-episode work of art. Put it on the BBC, and nobody’s complaining then!
Instead, we got a lot more. Way too much more.
The second season was okay. It brought Dexter’s work to light as ‘The Bay Harbor Butcher,’ bringing suspense to every episode was you genuinely worried if Doakes was going to catch him. Up until the moment where he actually did! You had more tension between Rita and Dexter as she suspected he was up to something, and nervous that Rita would have her heart broken again. But then you had Agent Lundy and cucumber sandwiches, a gross relationship between him and Deb (not the age difference, but every relationship that Deb ever got into was gross) and you had Lila, the one girl in Dexter’s life throughout the series that I wanted to die immediately. The only thing that really made the second season memorable was the death of Doakes, and really that could have been the death of the show.
Luckily, the third season was pretty fucking good.
Many will point to the Trinity killer and the work of John Lithgow as the pinnacle of the series, but I much preferred the relationship that Dexter had with Miguel and the belief that maybe Dexter could have a best friend that knew everything about him. As viewers we all knew what Dexter was, but nobody else on the entire show was aware except for Dexter and Harry, and that motherfucker ain’t even alive! Finally we could have someone like Miguel to share this with and he was like the coolest guy ever! When he turned out not to be that cool after all, I was more twisted up inside than when we found out who the Ice Trucker Killer was. The show was on top of the world when Dexter and Miguel turned from friends to mortal enemies, and at this point it seemed it could do no wrong.
Season four ended with the death of Rita, as finally Dexter Morgan had to face the fact that he loved people and that his actions as a serial killer had consequences that could eventually come back to bite the people he loved. He always figured that if somebody was going to go down for what he was doing, whether it be by prison or death, it would be him, but now he knew for sure that the people around him were in danger too. Now he had to make a decision as to how to best protect his son Harrison from also succumbing to the consequences of his actions.
Which also happens to be THE EXACT SAME FUCKING CONCLUSION THAT DEXTER WOULD COME TO FOUR POINTLESS SEASONS LATER.
Each of the first four seasons has some sort of personality, with 1, 3, and 4 really sticking out as three of the best story arcs in cable television history. Here’s how I remember seasons 5, 6, 7, and 8:
Season 5 – Mrs. Ten Things I Hate About You comes to town and kicks it with Dexter for awhile and then they kill the guy from Hackers because he’s like Tony Robbins or something but is really a sexual deviant and then she just leaves at the end of the season and is never heard from again.
Season 6 – What’s Colin Hanks so mad about?
Season 7 – Deb knows! And she can’t tell anyone because she went all “Game of Thrones” and fell in love with her brother so the consequences of “What would happen if Deb finds out?” turn out to be: Nothing! Nothing will happen. She’ll be okay with the 100+ victim serial killer. She’s like, lieutenant now, by the way. Biggest surprise of the series: Quinn likes strippers. Dexter gets a new girlfriend and breaks the code by not killer her. Deb is hella jealous.
Season 8 – Fuck. You don’t even wanna know. From Vogel to Elway to the Marshall to Zach to Saxon, it was like a who’s-who list of “who the fuck am I supposed to give a shit about, again?”
Remember when the show introduced “the new Doakes” and then killed him right away? What was his purpose?
Remember when the show brought in “the female Doakes” to compete with Quinn to get a promotion and then got the job… and then completely disappeared?
Why the fuck did Masuka get a daughter? She was going to have some scam or something and then, just sort of, was there. Was that just an excuse to get a new regular that eventually went topless?
The final season of Dexter was obviously the worst, but really this is a show that went downhill steeply after Rita’s death. The first four seasons were still full of terrible detective work, unbelievable scenarios, a myriad of serial killers that have never and will never exist, especially not the extent of having more on every block in America than 7-11′s, but it was held up by interesting characters and suspenseful situations that made you fall in love with Dexter but also the people around him. Eventually the people around him became stupid and shitty and annoying and you just wanted to be the one that wound up on Dexter’s table strapped by plastic wrap.
Finally the writers and producers gave you what you wanted, death, it was just a slow and painful one that last four years too long.
Man who walk through turnstyle backwards, may end up in weird Thailand sex city: Part II of the podcast
September 23, 2013 § 2 Comments
And during your patient wait since part I, of which I’m sure there were any number of you waiting for the exciting continuation of my podcast detailing my trip to Thailand (any number between one and two), I have finally put part II down on audio record.
Let’s just say that Thailand has a… reputation, and Khaosan Road in Bangkok hardly does that reputation justice. While there are definitely ladies (and boys) of the night strolling Khaosan Road at night looking for business, as well as your Tuk Tuk (taxi) drivers that are saying “ping pong show?” under their breath (prostitution and the sex trade is not technically on the up-and-up, but prosecuting that activity in Thailand would be like outlawing gambling in Nevada), the truth is that we were pretty far from the red light district.
In this issue of the podcast, I talk about how Marcus and I tour the most sacred temple in Bangkok with two German girls — in which both Marcus and one of the girls end up desecrating the holiness and cleanliness of the Buddhist sanctuary. (Not in that way… you’ll just have to listen to find out.) And then on Day 3, Marcus and I travel to a place called Pattaya, where we thought that “it’s a great place to party!” meant something entirely different than what it turned out to be.
What it turned out to be was that “Thailand reputation” times 100, unlike anything I have ever seen or expected from the “sex trade reputation” that Thailand has, including a trip down the most surreal road I’ve ever been down.
Sidenote: I know realize that the reason I can’t add an MP3 for download is that wordpress wants more money to do something like that. Why embedding the player won’t work, I don’t know. To listen to the podcast or download it, just go here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fieldgulls/2013/09/22/nsfw–thailand-travel-tips-and-adventures-part-ii
Bada bing, bada boom, just one extra click! Thanks!
September 12, 2013 § 1 Comment
I returned from Thailand on Monday and it was one of the most surreal and amazing experiences of my lifetime. I met new and interesting people, saw some beautiful temples, ate some amazing food for so cheap that it should be illegal, fell in love for 24 hours, walked down the most ridiculous alley I’ve ever been to, probably interacted with some very shady characters, got bitten so badly by mosquitos that my foot swoll up to twice it’s normal size, and got asked if I wanted to be “f’d in the a”!
I talk all about it in what could be a 2 (or 3) part podcast. I think that it would have been very helpful to have something like this to really prepare me for what was to come, however then again it was part of the experience to NOT know what was coming.
I tried to embed the player and add a download link but apparently WordPress sucks. God damn it, WordPress! You can go to this link though and listen to it from BlogTalkRadio or download it from the same page. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fieldgulls/2013/09/12/nsfw–thailand-travel-tips-and-adventures-part-i
The audio sounds shoddy to begin with but that’s because I was trying to add a rain sound effect! This is something new I’m trying, thanks for putting up with me.
Kob kun kob!
August 27, 2013 § 5 Comments
In an effort to see what it is like to spend some time as an adult after 30 years as a minor, I’m taking steps in my life to see if they improve the quality or bore the shit out of me. This is not a step that has any chance of boring me, but it is an important one.
I come from a family of “travelers.”
My father was never around when I was growing up. (You take a moment to say “That explains a lot.”) He worked for a company that builds major structures around the world and after my parents divorced in 1985/86, took permanent residence in Brisbane, Australia. At one point I asked him how many countries he had been to and the number was well over a hundred, though my terrible 12-year-old memory always wanted me to believe he had counted over 250, even though current estimates would say there are only 196 countries in the world.
He would spend a couple months in China, a couple months in England, or anywhere else that they asked him to go. I have a picture of myself as a baby, before my parents divorced, giving bunny ears to some Buddha statue (or Buddha like) that I think was taken in Papua, New Guinea. He would usually be anywhere in the world at any given time, but rarely in Washington where i live.
I’ll give you a moment to bawl your eyes out over this heartbreaking tale of woe that is only shared by at least half of Americans.
But that always wanted me to also have a job that took me all over the world. I wouldn’t care what it paid, just as long as i could see everything that Earth had to offer. My dad’s job actually paid pretty well in addition to getting free travel. As a kid I would incorrectly tell my friends that he was a “contractor” as if he was overseeing the build sites and wearing a hardhat, but it wasn’t until much later in life that I learned he was a “contracts manager,” meaning that he oversaw the actual paper contracts between his company and the customer.
I was only off by about six degrees of Kevin Bacon.
Despite how little I saw (or have seen to this day) my dad, that doesn’t make a son want to emulate him any less. If anything, it’s the fathers that are in your face 24/7 that drive kids away from wanting to be like them. All I know is that I wanted to be in Australia, or Austria, or Aus..tin, Texas? Just see the world.
I’m about 247 countries short.
I went to see my dad in New Zealand when I was very young. I would say I was probably 6 or 7. The only memory I really have was that it was Christmas time and i got a Batman toy car as a present. I went to Australia when I was around 11 or 12 with my sister to see him again, but he had actually contracted malaria just before and after much complaining from my sister about rather being back in America where her friends were, the month-long trip was reduced to two weeks.
My third trip came when I was 20, when I was between community college and transferring to Washington State. I spent most of the time there alone, but really enjoyed getting to travel around Brisbane and Sydney and to just be my own person in another country. I met some great and interesting characters and really experienced the differences in culture, legalities, personalities, and climates. I loved it and have raved about how wonderful Australia is ever since.
I want to feel the same way about other countries. I want to know how people really live elsewhere in the world. You can’t possibly ever get the perspective from television, whether its a National Geographic Channel special in Brazil or Fast Five when Vin Diesel screams out “This is BRAZIL!”
Media only fucks up reality.
But my father isn’t the only traveler in my family. I mean, that would have been false advertising if I had said “I come from a family of travelers” and then only mention my father, the one guy I’ve seen the least in the last 30 years, and if there’s one thing you can trust about me, it’s that I DON’T FALSE ADVERTISE!
(By the way, you can catch me and my band The Rolling Stones at Wimbledon next month and then I’ll be on the cover of PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive issue fairly soon after.)
My half-sister Vikki is also someone i have not seen much of in my life, someone else that has spent more of her time out of the country in the last 30 years than inside of it. Since graduating from the University of Washington roughly 20 years ago, Vikki has spent the majority of that time in third world countries as a member (and now active manager) in the Peace Corps. She spent a lot of time in South America and then moved over to places like Egypt (and was there during the 2011 riots) and is currently in the Sudan.
As she told me: “I sure know how to pick ‘em!”
Vikki speaks at least five languages, last I asked her. Doesn’t that seem like such a more fulfilling life than wasting away in an office cubicle eating Del Taco? Which is totally not I’m doing right now as I right this at 2:06 on a Tuesday.
My full sister hasn’t quite seen as much as my father and half-sister, but did make it a point to see all 50 states before she turned 30, even North Dakota. She also had a “destination wedding” in St. Lucia, Caribbean, which happens to also be one of the few times I’ve traveled overseas.
The other would be Canada, just as long as you call the border at Bellingham, Washington a “sea” as I surely do.
I need to go. I need to see. I need to experience. I need perspective. Nobody in this world can fully start to realize what it is, this world we live in, if you’ve only seen one side of it. Could you possibly know what it is to be “a Picasso” if you had only seen one of his paintings? Especially if that painting had come before his Cubism period? How could you know what “love” is if you stopped seeking it after your first puppy love broke your heart? Could you ever understand what it was to be a “Pauly Shore movie” if you had only seen Bio-dome?
Of course not. That’s not enough perspective. There’s no depth perception on Earth if you’re looking at it with one eye. And with so many sides, with so many people, with so many cities, and countries, and climates, and landscapes, and beers, and women (or men), and music, and foods, and shows, and customs, and styles, and political parties, and systems of government, and did I say beer, you would need 1,000 sets of eyes from 1,000 spiders to even being to get a fraction of what it is to be a human on Earth.
You’ll never get there, you’ll never see it all, but the journey itself is the destination.
That’s why one week from today I will be on a plane. That plane will take off from Los Angeles, California and it will land in Taipei, where I will only be for 45 minutes until I take another plane that will take me to Bangkok, Thailand. After long being my most desired travel destination on the planet, I will finally be in Southeast Asia and i will finally be in Thailand. What was the point of waiting any longer? I am so sick and tired of waiting for the moments that make life worth living, sometimes you have to make them happen on your own.
I will be there for only a week and I wish I could stay longer. I wish i never had to commit to coming back at all, but unfortunately I will need a job for at least a little while longer. My friend that I am traveling with does not/does have that luxury. We had spoken at length about a worldwide trip but while he eventually was laid off from his job, I kept mine. He will be in Thailand for a month and then Europe for a month. I will have to come back and go to work.
On the downside, it’s only one shot of travel whereas I would much rather get drunk on seeing the world.
On the upside, my friend has already turned down a job and recently had his unemployment stopped, and will have to immediately find work in a bad economy when he returns.
But honestly, risk doesn’t worry me. You have to take risks and they often pay off so much better than playing it safe. It’s just that for me I’m not quite in that position yet, I will put it off for moment, up until I simply can’t wait any longer. That day could come sooner than I could possibly imagine.
It has to.
Things I learned in podcasts this week: Space Law, How “Mark” met Tommy Wiseau, and why women are “hysterical”
August 7, 2013 § 3 Comments
A couple of weeks ago I decided to start a podcast. In addition to the 20 or so articles I write per week, and the video or two I do a week, I figured I might as well get in the podcast game too.
In preparation, I decided to listen to a couple of podcasts on my own. I really only had been listening to two podcasts up to that point (Stuff You Should Know, WTF with Marc Maron) but what could two more hurt?
Two weeks later, I currently subscribe to about 20 podcasts and I’m listening for 4-6 hours per day. There’s a lot of information out there and at the moment I’m a junky. /pulls out headphone jack from being injected directly into my vein.
I figured what’s that information worth though if I keep it to myself? Besides all of the power I’ll have over you of course. But also what is it good for if I don’t brag about all the shit I learned, even if a lot of it won’t even win me a game of Trivial Pursuit.
Well, it might win me one game of Trivial Pursuit one day, and then it’ll be worth the thousands of hours of listening. Here are just a few things I learned in the last week.
There is something called “Space Law” – The Joe Rogan Experience with guest Neil Degrasse Tyson.
Joe Rogan’s podcast is three hours long. I think you would have to have some unhealthy obsession with Rogan in order to listen to that every time, but then again how long is the Howard Stern Show? I remember spending 6 am – 10 am listening to a local DJ in Seattle called “The T-Man” so with commercial breaks it’s not that different.
Still, I can only really listen to Rogan if I think the guest is interesting. In that case, sometimes three hours isn’t enough. Tyson is worthy of at least that much time.
An uber-space nerd that can actually hold a conversation, (no offense, I love space and nerds but it’s difficult to find genius that doesn’t go to the beat of it’s own drum) Tyson (who is hosting the reboot of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage) talks with Rogan for three hours about space and the Universe going over conspiracy theories and little known facts. Such as the fact that just because nobody can hear you scream in space, it doesn’t mean that you can go around killing people.
Space Law, which became a concept in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik 1, governs that once you get about 60 miles above sea level, you abide by a new set of rules.
Rule 1: You don’t talk about space club.
What Tyson talks about specifically is that you can’t own property in space. USA can go to Mars and plant a flag and build something, but nobody owns space and shit in space. That’s like… God’s space, man.
Check out the Wiki article for more on Space Law and definitely give the podcast a listen too.
Grimace from McDonalds is a milkshake – Edumacation with Kevin Smith and Andy McElfresh
My favorite podcast at the moment is Edumacation. Not only do I just find Kevin Smith to be a delight (he laughs a lot and laughing is infectious) but I’ve been introduced to a new fellow that has my heart aflutter: Andy McElfresh.
A writer for Jay Leno, McElfresh is basically a smart dude that knows a lot and teaches Smith (a self-proclaimed dumb dude) about science and things. It’s about 90 minutes long and has only just come out within the last month or so, meaning it’s super easy to catch up on.
Every episode they have four segments: The Sci, The Fi, The Why, and The Bye. The way they breakdown the show is whatever but it’s an awesome way to LEARN! (Learning is definitely one of the ways to become a grown-ass man.) Of course, not all knowledge is useful. But it certainly can be fun.
McElfresh was actually a writer on the very first McDonald’s home video and if you’re like me, you remember getting home videos from McDonald’s back in the 90s. If you’re not like me and you didn’t get those videos, you are quite literally a better person. I don’t think it had ever occurred to me to ponder “what is Grimmace?”; the purple blob that hangs out with Ronald, Hamburgler, and Mayor McCheese.
A dinosaur? A… I mean, who knows? I have no idea, he’s a purple blob. Why ask questions, just stuff those fries in my mouth faster and harder.
So again, before he was a writer for Leno (I am not a “Leno guy” but I think it’s fair to see there are many good comedy writers out there working for shows I don’t prefer), McElfresh wrote for McDonalds. He passed along this tidbit of info:
Grimace is supposed to be a thick milkshake that has been turned upside down and taken out of the cup. He gets his name because brain freeze makes you “grimace.”
Allllrighty then, Mickey D’s!! If you say so.
That’s a small bit of info for fun, but Edumacation is chock full of great shit.
You could not fight for the Roman Republic unless you were a landowner – Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, The Death Throes of the Republic
There is almost no humor in Dan Carlin’s work, but you will learn a shitload about history. I’m currently trying to learn about the Roman Republic, which apparently is kind of different than simply “Roman Empire” or “Ancient Rome.”
I mean, damn, I’m 3 hours in and he hasn’t even said “Caesar” yet!!
I could literally list about anything I’ve heard so far in the 5-part series of the Roman Republic called “Death Throes of the Republic” and it would be something that I did not know before. Did you know that “Rome” is in “Italy”? I mean, who makes this shit up!
Seriously folks, there’s a lot you can learn about humanity today by looking of humanity of yestercentury. I’m definitely noticing some correlation between Rome and a “Too big to fail” mentality.
There were about 400,000 homes foreclosed on in 2000, and about 3.9 million foreclosed on in 2011 – Stuff You Should Know, Who owns an abandoned home?
Speaking of which…
Stuff You Should Know was my FIRST podcast. There are hundreds of episodes (probably?) and you should be able to grab some interesting info out of each and every one of them. I’ve listened to probably a half-dozen episodes in the last week, but perhaps the most interesting bit of info that I grabbed (or remembered off the top of my head) was that the housing bubble burst was even more dramatic than I could have ever guessed.
No matter how many times I have heard someone try to explain the housing crisis, I never quite get it. But Stuff You Should Know is a great example of “Explain it to me like a 6-year-old” and that is a perfect example of my mentality.
I’m not super smart. I need you to help me along. That’s what Stuff You Should Know is great about. Good news: In 2012, the foreclosures were down to 2.4 million! Woo! Those are about 2007 levels.
To learn more about what happens to an abandoned home and why nobody, including the banks, want to claim them, check out the ‘cast.
Part of the reason that the U.S. isn’t on the metric system? We weren’t invited! – Stuff You Should Know, Why isn’t the U.S. on the metric system?
This is a great one too. So is “What would happen if the Earth stopped spinning?”
Spoiler alert: Bad shit!
There is a guy on YouTube that sounds exactly like Tony Soprano – Opie and Anthony, Tony Soprano, ep. 7
His name is Max Koch and it is really creepy. Especially on this episode of Opie and Anthony, when he calls in just after Gandolfini’s death.
“Mark” from The Room was the one to approach Tommy Wiseau in an acting class to find out who this guy was - How Did This Get Made?, The Room: Directors Edition
If you know anything about me, you know that The Room is one of my favorite movies of all-time. In fact, I think it’s the most thought-provoking film of our generation. Most people will just call it “the worst movie ever made” but it transcends all of that and then some.
That’s why it was great to get to hear directly from one of the stars of The Room, Greg Sestero, who plays Mark. Besides his sex life going well, Greg also talks about how he was in the same acting class as Wiseau and saw him do an extremely weird reading of Shakespeare. While the rest of the class shook their heads in disbelief, Greg approached Wiseau and asked him to be his acting partner.
29 Harper High (Chicago) students were shot in the last year - This American Life, Harper High parts 1 and 2
This American Life is like the number one radio/podcast show that women say they listen to on OkCupid… so of course that means I have to listen to it now.
What I won’t do is go “back to school” like Rodney Dangerfield, especially not in the Chicago High Schools where you don’t even get a choice of whether or not you are joining a gang. If you live in the neighborhood, you’re in.
At least let me choose my team colors!
Hysteria literally relates to the female parts of a woman, and was a really sexist way of doctors telling a women they was “just bein’ crazy, yo” - Sawbones, Hysteria
Sawbones is another new podcast that I’ve been listening to. It’s like Stuff You Should Know except that instead of two buddies, it’s a husband-wife team and believe it or not (prepare yourself for the same shock that you had when you were watching the episode of The Cosby Show when they were doing riddles) the wife is the one that’s a doctor!
duh duh duhhhhhhh!
The couple talk about some of the strange ways that we have treated medical conditions in the past, and it is not pretty. So not pretty that a 1920s doctor might treat it like shit.
“Hysteria” was literally what doctors would diagnose women with for “Actin’ crazy” because… their uterus was bouncing back and forth inside of them. For serious.
And the way to treat a women with hysteria? Doctors would manually use their hands to rub their…. well, you’ll just have to listen.
That’s it for this week in what I learned in podcasts! If you’ve got any suggestions for shit I should check out, throw me a comment. I’ll try to listen to it, as long as it doesn’t suck. Well, I’ll still probably listen to it and tell people how much it sucks.