Monday, May 26, 2008

Food In The Raw

My friends like to make fun of me when we go hiking & overnight camping, because I always seem to bring too much stuff. I start bringing out odd packages & storage containers, and they shake their heads with least, they do until dinnertime.

While they're roasting Oscar Meyer weiners or eating cold sandwiches, I'm eating jambalaya over rice, with garlic bread on the side. For breakfast they're gnoshing on cereal bars, I'm scrambling fresh eggs and flipping pancake (true story!)

The keys are: not letting yourself settle, and preparation. I tell everyone - a ziplock freezer bag is your best friend. A little cooking the night before will leave you warm, full and satisfied by the campfire.

I admit I was a bit lazy this time. The Mexican Chicken soup for dinner was canned, but the trick is to take it OUT the can before you go. Empty it into a baggie, put itinside another, and freeze it. Bingo, 1/4 the weight, fits inside your backpack the same - and ready to eat once you pot it over a fire.

My breakfast was also lazier than normal, but it's been a while since i've done a full pack and didn't want to overdo it. I usd simple packs of instant oatmeal, but brought along a little cinnamon and some "crunch" dried fruit. Added to the oatmeal, the fruit rehydrates - and you've got a tasty, fruity breakfast.

I also have these packs of Internatonal Coffee Cafe Mocha instant drinks. Pour into a mug, add hot water.

Because there ain't no Stabucks out here, and a brother needs his java in the morning.

Don't You...

...wish you were here? :)

In The Heat of the Moment

I had no intention of lighting a fire tonight.

Understand...I am a rational man. I'd had a small fire, just enough to cook with. I was done. A fire served no purpose. I had a lantern. I had a flashlight. Lighting a fire would be...would be...

Of course I lit a fire. I couldn't help myself, something primal in me literally screamed for a fire. My cro-magnon ancestors demanded a fire, and by the gods I would give them one!

I have enough wood collected to build a log cabin, but even as I sit here typing this I'm wondering... it enough?

It IS primal. We as Men - and that's gender specific - are bred to NEED a fire. We are physically incapable of being around the implements needed to start a flame, and not actually do so.

The proof can be found at every BBQ around the globe, Put more than one male near a pit or grill, and all will gravitate towards it. We all must participate, offering our opinions on how it should be done.

"Stack them like a pyramid! " "No, stagger them!" "Add leaves for kindling" "Grass, throw some grass on there!"

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Brainfart: This is Why We Do It

Pine Meadow Lake, NY. Feels good, doing this with a full pack after 2 years and still feeling strong.

Brainfart: On The Road

I must have eaten @ the Orange Top Inn a million times over the years. On rte 17, itls sort of the nexus gathering point if you're hiking Harriman, going to the Ren Faire in Tuxedo, or one of a million bikers who seem to frequent the place. Good luck getting a coffee quickly, tho, service sucks but its the only decent diner for miles.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Or, Maybe Little Precious Is a Wii Bit Fat

Those silly, silly Brits are at it once again. And thank the GODS they started it, because you know damn well it would have happened here in the Colonies eventually.

For those of you living under a rock for the past half a year or so, Nintendo has come out last week with a new game called "Wii Fit", which really is more of an exercise videogame than it is an entertainment game. It's designed to get you off your ass and, I don't know...exercise, I guess.

Hence, I suppose, the name "Fit" in the game's name.

My sarcasm is dripping with overflow here because the British media is, itself, overflowing with joy - telling the oh-so-sad tale of a young girl, a mere 10 years of age, whose precious psyche will forever be scarred by this horrible Japanese game which has, apparently, decided that the waif is somewhat on the porkier side of "not-fit".

Meaning she's a fatty.

This is just one article, but there are plenty; they're loving this story, and can't seem to get enough of it.

The short version.

Young miss exhales with joy as Parental Units bring home the overhyped Nintendo "game", which I should emphasize once again is advertised as a "fitness" game. To get you into shape.

Young miss boots up the game, stands on the boogie board provided, and goes through the mild exercises the game puts you through to determine your initial fitness level.

The game calculates, factoring in her age, weight, height, and of course her ability (or apparent lack thereof) to perform the few menial balance and agility tests it has asked her to do.

The game responds. "Holy mother of god, get off my board before you break it in half, you chubby whale!"

Child runs off to Mums, crying hysterically. Mums is outraged that anyone would tell her nummykins she's fat, and bakes the young tot a blackberry pie to soothe her bruised psyche. Reporters swarm eagerly, racing to be the first to tell this dastardly tale.

Of course, I exaggerate. As did, obviously, the press. And this family.

The game does not scream you are fat. It will not poke fun of your Homer Simpson-like beer belly. It does, however, provide you a scale with which to judge your initial degree of fitness, giving you a starting point to improve upon over time.

The girl's father says: "She is a perfectly healthy, 4ft 9in tall 10-year-old who swims, dances and weighs only six stone," said the father, who did not want to be named for fear of embarrassing the girl further.

"She is solidly built but not fat. She was devastated to be called fat and we had to work hard to convince her she isn't.

So. At a conversion rate of about 14pounds to a stone, she's...84pounds, give or take a cupcake or two. I really have no concept of what 84pounds is actually like...but I went searching. Of course.

Things that also weigh 6 stone include:

The PHANTOM THREE-WHEEL SCOOTER has a weight capacity of 300lbs, and gets 15miles on a single charge. This sucker comes apart for easy storage, and yes that is indeed a headlight you see included in the package. Vroom vroom, baby!

If the scooter's not your bag, this HI MOUNTAIN JERKY SMOKER is a compact 24" tall, 19" deep with one oven rack and two smoker screens. It's stainless steel top and interior walls make for quick and easy cleaning. Mmm-mmm, I can smell that squirrel jerky roasting all the way from here!'re more the audiophile, hmmm? These REGA FLOORSTANDING SPEAKERS stand just about 40 inches high (just over 3ft) and 15 inches deep. I'd tell you all about the craftsmanship but who cares, it's a $4000 speaker; it better be made well.

So what does all this really say? It says that a 10yr old girl the size of a small jerky smoker got all teary because her video game called her a tubbo.

Perhaps...I dunno. I'm going out on a limb here. But maybe. Just maybe.

Maybe she's, just, you know, a *bit* overweight? Which, I'm betting, is why Daddykins and Mumsy bought little princess the goddamn FITNESS GAME IN THE FIRST FUCKING PLACE?!

Holy shit, Batman, what the hell is wrong with you people?!

"Obesity experts" are upset that the game could "damage a child's image of themselves". Obesity experts?

Fat people. Fucking chubbos are upset that junior porkers might actually figure out that they ARE fat, and GODS HELP US do something about it?!

Go eat a fucking double cheeseburger, you fat bastards. These are the same people who probably sued McDonald's for making them fat; yeah, like it's SOOOOOOOO hard to JUST order the grilled chicken salad. I mean, really - you HAVE to have the supersized fries. Oh and it's only a quarter more for the Jumbo sized Coke, so why exercise self control and get the bottled water? Apple pies are TWO for a dollar, of course I don't want just one - and skipping them completely? Out of the question!

...all of this...and the damn game doesn't even tell the kid she's fat. It's a BAR on a SCALE that says she MIGHT be a bit overweight, and HERE'S SOMETHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.

Evil fucking game, that is. Right satanic. Blimey.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Prime Directive

For all of you non-Trekkies out there, I'm going to ask for you patience for a moment while I clarify exactly what the Prime Directive is.

In the fictional universe of Star Trek, the Prime Directive, Starfleet's General Order #1, is the most prominent guiding principle of the United Federation of Planets. The Prime Directive dictates that there can be no interference with the internal affairs of other civilizations, consistent with the historical real world concept of Westphalian sovereignty.

In human-speak, that means: Fuck off, space traveler. Mind your beeswax. We'll handle our business, you handle yours.

That said...human beings, as a collective and as individuals, will find any excuse to LET SHIT HAPPEN. I don't care how absolutely fucked up a situation is, I guarantee you there will be some fool with a Handycam there filming the whole thing, going "Croikey, would ya look at thet!" We'll watch another Rodney King get his ass whipped something fierce, and when it's all said and done the person will hold up his hands and scream out the Prime Directive.

"Wasn't my business."

Case in point. Because I know, you knew, something sparked this shit.

A friend of mine (thanks, Tippers) forwarded an article that she assumed we'd all find interesting, which I indeed - did. The headline of said article was worded thusly:

Seal caught on tape molesting a penguin
Scientists study rare example of interspecies sexual harassment

Oh yes. It went there. This shit was on, peoples! It went on:

One summer morning, scientists observing elephant seals on a beach on Marion Island near the Antarctic spotted a young male Antarctic fur seal subduing a king penguin.

At first we thought it was hunting the penguin, but then it became clear that his intentions were rather more amorous," de Bruyn recalled today via email.

The roughly 240-pound seal subdued the 30-pound adult penguin by lying on it. The hapless bird of unknown sex struggled, rapidly flapping its flippers and attempting to stand and flee, without luck.

The seal then alternated between resting on the penguin and thrusting its pelvis at the bird in vain attempts to insert its penis for 45 minutes. Natural, unsuccessful sexual escapades by this variety of seal with members of its own species may last as long as this penguin assault did, "but yes, it is quite a long time and thus unusual," de Bruyn told LiveScience.

The seal then abruptly gave up, moving to sea and completely ignoring the target of its affections. The penguin apparently did not suffer any injury. The scientists detailed their findings in the May issue of the Journal of Ethology.

There was more, of course, but I don't really give a fig; I've got enough to work with right here.

These so-called scientists sat there, for 45 MINUTES, watching a 250lb seal try to anally rape a 30lb penguin.

45 minutes.

All in the name of science.

Now...even the worst stoner, high as a fucking kite, would find this hilarious. As do I.

For maybe...5 minutes, max.

Then - and call me crazy, but really I do feel this to be true - at some point, my FUCKING CONSCIENCE would have kicked in and I'd have tried to stop this from happening. Thrown a rock, splashed some water, yelled "Get the fuck off him, you child molester!" Anything. Because AS a guy, the last thing I want to sit there and watch is some other creature get turned into a prison bitch.

My subway ride to work is 25 minutes. A TiVo'd episode of Lost is 45-50 minutes. So let's put that into some perspective, shall we?

For the length of an episode of Lost, all commercials nicely removed, you ALSO have the option of watching a seal rape a penguin.

45 minutes, folks.

Can I just say, ahead of time...that if ever, EVER, you see me getting anally raped by a 250 seal....stop it. Please. Throw a fucking rock at my head, shoot me and put me out of my misery, do something. Anything.

Because the needs of the one, outweighs the needs of the many.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Brainfart: Street Heat

Saw this POS with the lime green rims sitting on Broadway, and flipped when I saw the label Street Heat near the bumper. Close. It should say Burn Me, Please.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Brainfart: The iScooter

Spotted this bit of silliness walking around midtown the other night. Seriously...are you THAT much of a fan-boi? I'll bet whoever owns this eats Apple Jacks for breakfast every morning too.

All I Need Is a Dollar And a Dream, Right?

Someday, the world will acknowledge my innate godhood. For now, I'm content to bask in the glow of my own creative brilliance.

Back to the Ziggurat idea. I'd played around with this concept of LCD/Plasma faux windows for the interior, where instead of having actual windows I'd instead install video cameras on the outer walls of the structure and feed the live outside images to digital screens throughout the interior, which would give the appearance of being windows. I could look outside in real time, but never concern myself with someone else looking in.

By pure random chance - or the mind of a burgeoning god, I haven't decided yet - I stumbled across this website for a company called the Sky Factory ( What do they make?

Fake, luminous, skylights/windows.

How fantastic a concept is this? They basically build a lighted panel into your ceiling, install a special photographic panel, and cover that with an overlay. Flip a switch and presto! you're looking out at a great image of the world, any image of your choosing!

They can also design it in any pattern of your choosing, whether you want an entire ceiling panel or a round, gothic skylight. Which you absolutely KNOW yours truly would have to have. I loved that giant window they had in the movie "The Crow"; I've sworn that if ever I had the money, that would become my bedroom window. With this concept, I can have it and not worry about who's looking in, about needing curtains, or even where to place my bedroom - who cares whether or not the room is looking out over a particular view, when I can decide myself what image shows up on the display?

There's one design that I absolutely love on their website, it's sort of a ceiling/gutter skylight concept that follows the curve of a hall, along the ceiling; it just looks fantastic, providing a "natural" light while enhancing the design of the hall itself. I'll have to throw that in as well, I like the idea of curving halls within a pyramidal structure. I may even do that for the basement of the house; let's go with the underground feeling, but give it a sense of being above everything by hinting at nothing but sky being above it. I love the duality of it. [UPDATED NOTE: oooo! oooo! What if...instead of's an UNDERWATER display?! Holy school of fish, batman! How fuckingly awesome would that be? Hell it'd be like a better version of the old fish screen saver; imagine the occasional WHALE swimming overhead, casting a virtual shadow as it moves? Goddamn, I'm good.]

Now of course, their design s isn't quite MY design idea; theirs involves static images, a sort of mylar/film singular image that is installed into the window and becomes your permanent view. My idea would be to take their design and replace the lighting fixture with the digital wiring needed, and instead of the film photograph I'd replace that with an LCD or Plasma screen. I could even have a central computer system, where I could change the "weather" at will throughout the house - deciding on a clear night sky full of stars, perhaps, or a bright sunny day. Tie it in with the central air conditioning, and change the heat - and "wind" - to go with it. Add in scents to mimic the ocean, or fresh-cut grass, or the muskiness of a jungle or forest, or a garden...the possibilities are near-endless.

Oh and yes, they do have wall windows as well. These frames are about as fugly as hell, but the word "custom" is all over the place with these guys and believe me, I'm all about the customization.

Hell, depending on their patents - if I've got the mega-money to build the house, I've certainly got the bucks to finance a company to build these on my own. I may just market this myself.

Where's my lotto ticket?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Bottom Line

Lately I've found myself looking ahead at the road my life is on, and it's not a bad road - sure it has it's potholes and bumps. But there isn't much traffic, the weather's been good, the engine sounds good and my gas tank isn't on E.

So why is it I keep looking back, and wondering if I missed an important exist somewhere?

I know it's an odd metaphor, but really it fits. It's like I was driving and my exit was coming up, but then this 18-wheeler pulled up in the right-side lane and suddenly I'm in traffic and can't cut over, and before I know it I'm past the exit and still speeding forward. So you figure you'll go on up ahead to the next exit, except you're deep on the interstate and so far it's been a good five miles and still no exit is coming up. Even if you find one, you're not sure how to circle around and get back on the highway to the other direction; instead you end up back on the same road, going in the same direction, and you've given up trying to find that same exit.

Understand I'm not about to delve into some emo shit; I like my wrists un-slashed, thank you very much, and I'm all about living life - not mourning it. But there's still that sense of "wrongness", that Sliding Doors feeling like except for one little thing, my life would have turned out completely different. Maybe better, maybe not - but different. And "right", whereas this one feels uncomfortable like a suit that's a big irregular. It doesn't sit right in the shoulders, the cut across the chest seems off. It's a nice suit, but it isn't tailored for me.

Case in point. We had what we call a "C" level departmental meeting, meaning all the departments who fall under a particular Chief where gathered together to listen to the ED explain the rationale behind our company's recent merger, why things happened the way they did. Basically a "how we got here" overview of the last 5-8 years, which was pretty revealing.

The scream-and-shout moment in my psyche came when the ED was explaining how they needed to increase the firm's Profits Per Partner, aka the PPP. Very reasonably he went on to explain how that was first achieved by cutting costs across the board, then - of course - cutting staff. An example was given of various IT personnel throughout our offices, how there would often be three individuals in each smaller office serving various functions from network/infrastructure support, to applications management and training. Rather than keep these people - 3 per office, over say 25 offices, for 75 people - you eliminate them ALL. Keep one person for the US, one for Europe - and fly them out to the other offices in their particular region as they're needed. Instant savings.

It was also brought up how, if we (and by WE I mean the institution) manage to get our Associates to work an additional 2 hours per week - again, a very reasonable request on the surface - that would average out to an additional revenue of $10 million dollars a year.

Ten fucking million dollars, which would then be used to increase PARTNER compensation.

I'm listening to this, eyebrows raised, nodding appropriately, but inside I'm screaming "OMG! You're telling me all those layoffs weren't because the firm was losing money, but because the Partners weren't making ENOUGH!?"

How in gods' name did I end up here? I'm not corporate! I hate corporate, despise the machine...but here I am, a cog in the wheel of the machine itself. And unfortunately I don't see myself leaving it any time soon, because being a typical American I like the lifestyle I've made for myself and leaving the machine would mean giving up all the creature comforts I've become accustomed to.

I'm a crackhead, and Corporate America is my dealer.

I'm not big on the whole Lotto thing - never have. It feels like cheating; I know that's weird, but fuck you I'm admittedly weird so get over it. Even stealing money, to me, means having had to WORK to get it - the planning, the actions, the getaway. It's twisted logic and questionable morals, but they're mine. So there.

But simply being handed money feels...just wrong. So I was never big on playing it.

I think that'll change. Because I feel like I deserve more, and yes again that's me being a typical greedy capitalist American, but so what. And yes, I did play the Mega yesterday. Obviously I didn't win, and there's this nagging little Capricornian gremlin on my shoulder screaming over the lost $4 I spent, but fuck him too. I'm getting off this highway, going off-road and blazing a new trail - one way or another.

Life's like a road that you travel on
When there's one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend and sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your head to the wind
There's a world outside every darkened door
Where blues won't haunt you anymore
Where brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore
We won't hesitate
Break down the garden's gate
There's not much time left today

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you're going my way
I wanna drive it all night long

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Brainfart: E=MC's Back

Apparently this is Musicology day, but that is why I call them brainfarts - you control what comes out, or what it smells like.

Forget Touch My Body, the song you'll be shaking your ass to in the clubs is I'm That Chick. You'll thank me later.

Brainfart: Play the Funky Music White Boy

i'm not a fan of Diddy or his Making the Band self promotional largess, but if Justin Timberlake found the soul Michael Jackson seems to have lost then Diddy's Donnie Klang may have found Prince's funkability. It'll be interesting to see if e has any sustainability, but his single Take You There is gonna blow the Bose is everyone's car speakers all summer long.

Friday, May 02, 2008

What's Red & Gold And Kicks Ass?

Yes indeed, true believers - Iron Man is indeed all that and a bag of micro-chips!

First: no one questioned Robert Downey Jr.'s acting ability. However, this is a superhero movie. It isn't so much about whether an actor has the talent, its whether he's suited for the role. Eric Bana made for a boring Bruce Banner, as did Brandon Roth's Clark Kent. We know Downey can play a drunken asshole - he doesn't need to act, to pull that one off. The question was really twofold: could Downey pull off the cool, suave genius that is also Tony Stark? And could Jon Favreau as director, whose previous directing credits included Zathura and The Breakup, pull off an adrenalin-charged, technology-heavy film like Iron Man?

A most emphatic yes to both.

Downey's Stark is fearless, carefree, impulsive - and yes, dear lord, every bit the tomcat I grew up wanting to emulate. His shameless flirting with a blond reporter, even while she's insulting him and his corporation, will become the stuff of legend (do I need to tell you where she wakes up the next morning?) He is every bit the egotistical ladies man we expect him to be, and you can't help but feel that Downey obviously enjoyed the role immensely.

However, Stark is only one half of this movie. The title demands the armor be both believable AND fantastical, and Favreau delivers on both fronts. The classic grey Mark I is every bit the home-cobbled monstrosity we expect it to be, and yet in its crudeness we are amazed. We watch as Tony, safe at home with a renewed sense of purpose, begins to refine his design. Here Favreau shines; he is obviously a fan himself, and the film is riddled with small kudos to the Iron Man storyline. Stark's computer AI is named Jarvis, and any Avengers fan worthy of the label will recognize the name. The suggestion of a later War Machine sequel is also hinted at, and Stark's anger at seeing his technology abused can't help but bring to mind the classic Armor Wars storyline of the early 90's.

The film is, of course, technology heavy - but wisely does not try to fill our heads with pseudo- science. Stark MAKES you believe that he, if no one else, understands how it works - and as the viewer you become free to accept the improbable as truth. You don't care how his repulsors work, how his suit's AI interfaces with the helmet's HUD, or how his boot jets work - you only care that it does, and wonderfully so. You'll move to the edge of your seat when Stark takes that first flight, wishing you could be the one inside it. Downey captures that childlike glee marvelously, drawing you in and sharing his exhileration with you.

Gwyenth Paltrow plays a casually cool, but obviously enamored, Pepper Potts. She's Stark's version of Bond's Ms Moneypenny, so much in love with her boss but knowing she could never have him to herself. Jeff Bridges' Obidiah Stane manages to be both fatherly and cunningly evil, and when he finally admits his betrayal to Tony you're well prepared, yet still impressed by the level of his hubris. He roars with impotence at his own inability to match Stark's genius, tearing into a subordinate who declares a needed level of technology impossible to build, snarling in response: "Stark did it in a CAVE! With SPARE PARTS!"

If there is a dent in this movie's armor it would have to be Terrance Howard's James Rhodes. Rhodes is Tony's right-hand man, his protege, his best friend - and yet none of this comes across in the interactions between Howard and Downey. I don't know if it's a measure of Howard's acting, him being miscast in the role, or a poorly written role for him. He doesn't mash his parts, far from it - but he's background material, overshadowed even by Paltrow's character. This is a shame, because it casts doubts that he could handle a starring role in a spin-off War Machine film.

Is Iron Man worthy of the name? It's a sleek, titanium-gold ride of a movie that straps a pair of rocket boots onto your feet and sends you cackling happily into the stratosphere. Sit back, eat your popcorn and enjoy. I did.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Brainfart: Anticipation

Iron Man: is this the SpiderMan for 2008, or is it Catwoman returns? Review to follow, true believers!

The Other Man of Steel

When I was a kid and the Marvel cartoons were in syndication (Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk and Iron Man) - I really thought this was the coolest cartoon song ever. Ev. Er. Captain America had his mighty shield...Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can...and Doc Bruce Banner, belted by Gamma Rays turns into the Hulk.

But Tony Stark. He made you feel he was the cool exec with the heart of steel. As Iron Man, all jets abaze, he'd FIGHT and FIGHT with repulsor rays.

Amazing Armor. He's Iron Man.

And yes, I have my tickets to the movie already. Midnight showing.

Dorkgasm: These ARE The Droids I'm Looking For

Hello. My name is Eric.

And I'm a Star Wars Dork.

We won't go into the specifics of my addiction; suffice to say, I manage to hide it fairly well. Until products like this appear on the market, and the drool starts to form on its own:

This, true believers, is an R2-D2 Digital Audio and Video Projector. If ever you are trying to escape the clutches of the Dark Lord of the Sith and his Imperial Forces, this replica droid will project your image - or, conversely, the image of any DVD you choose to insert into its housing - onto a 260sq ft screen. And gods help you, if that first movie you insert isn't Star Wars: the original trilogy.

This is a fully articulated, completely mobile droid/projector. It moves remotely using the remote and treads, and its head swivels on command. All of the lights, beeps and whistles you expect to hear from our Friendly Neighborhood Astromech Droid are on board for your amusement and pleasure.

R2 here comes loaded with the following stats:
Picture by DLP from Texas Instruments
Project to ceilings and walls up to a 260-inch picture
Resolution: 1024x768
Contrast Ratio: 1800:1
Lumens: 1500
Built-in CD/DVD player. Also plays MP3/MP4 video
iPod docking station, memory card and USB slots
Built-in 20 watt stereo speaker system
FM wireless audio out (channels 1 through 7)
Full-function: forward, reverse turn 360 degrees and recline
Millennium Falcon remote control with removable stand
Head turns using Millennium Falcon remote control
Plays the most popular R2-D2 sound effects

Wait. Can we back up a second? "Millenium Falcon remote control"?

Gods help me, I think i just came in my pants.

I have now decided. My Ziggarut home theater system must have this, despite its $3000 price tag (however, given that I can't afford the ziggarut I don't see a problem spending the additional fictional dollars). And the theater design MUST look like the Mos Eisley cantina.

Oh god, oh god. It's happening again. Anyone have any tissues?