Saturday, February 28, 2009

A website that will definitely come in handy someday

Instant Rimshot. There's just something so satisfying about a good rimshot. Make sure to use this site at your next party/stand up comedy club appearance.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

History's 10 Most Terrifying Contraceptives

Continuing with the accidental theme today of NSFW posts, here's a very funny and quite disturbing list of the scariest contraceptives throughout history. Very funny and good list, courtesy of Cracked. I particularly like the comment mid-way through about how ancient civilizations existed primarily to gross out the future.

If you gotta go out young...

this is the way to do it. (Subject matter is NSFW, by the way)

F*** You, Penguin

Well, here's a post that is definitely not for everyone, but for those of you with a good sense of humor and a tolerance for cursing, then this is one of the funniest blogs I've ever seen. F*** You, Penguin is a blog that fills a need that has gone unnoticed for too long: putting extremely cute animals that pose for pictures in their place. The writing is hysterical, the pictures are as cute as can be, and as far as I can tell, the blog updates often, like once a day. Definitely give it a whirl.

[thanks to David "Penguin" Feldman]

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Nerves are great. That means you care."

-- Tiger Woods on his nervousness about returning to golf

A Japanese Life Told In Bento Boxes

Just Bento, run by Maki, has long been one of my favorite sites on the Internet, mainly because of the way it's able to reflect on and display a particular culture through food, specifically through bento boxes. It is also one of the best examples I've seen of how to incorporate Eastern ideas about food into Western culture. Finally, it has really good recipes, which is always a plus.

Maki's latest entry is one of the best posts I've seen on the site; it shows how bento boxes change in a typical Japanese person's life as they grow up, become adults and eventually retire. It's educational, well-written, has great pictures of bento, and really paints a neat picture of life in Japan. Terrific stuff.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Music Recommendation: Early Del Amitri (Waking Hours, Change Everything)

This is an out of nowhere music recommendation, but I've been so blown away by these two albums lately that I feel compelled to share. :)

I had the famous Del Amitri song "Roll to Me" in my head on Friday, and went on YouTube to listen to it. I then saw other Del Amitri videos, listened to them, and got amazed at their high quality level, especially their early material. I then remembered from somewhere deep down in my memory that a friend whose musical taste I trust had told me once that Waking Hours, Del Amitri's second album (but really their first in terms of their pop sound; their first album is just a dull alt-rock album), was one of the all time great pop albums, and had some of the best relationship songs ever. So I ended up buying it, and agree with him. However, I also decided to purchase their third album, Change Everything, and like it even more. I've been playing both albums non-stop over the weekend.

Both albums sound quite similar, although Change Everything has a more polished sound to me, and has one of the best track sequences I've ever heard on an album (it reminds me a bit of The Joshua Tree, where the track order is just perfect, especially the first three songs). The lyrics are also surprisingly deep and insightful regarding relationships; it reminds me of Crowded House, with similar pretty melodies. Both albums also feature a really neat country side to them throughout, with perfectly arranged banjos, slide guitars, and harmonicas being a part of almost every song.

Del Amitri are Scottish, but sound very American. If they had been an American band, I think they might have been huge here, instead of being a more or less one hit wonder with Roll to Me (they had other singles here, but none very successful). If you like smart lyrics, beautiful pop melodies, and great arrangements and production, then I cannot recommend these two albums enough.

My discovery of my love for Del Amitri has also made me realize that my favorite pop records tend to come from the United Kingdom, in particular Scotland and Ireland. Frightened Rabbit, Del Amitri, Big Country, U2, and The Waterboys are all bands who have put out albums I deeply love. Also, Australia/New Zealand doesn't do too badly either what with Crowded House and INXS, to name a few.

A bunch of thoughts on the Oscars (at least, the part I saw)

My god, the Oscars is a bizarre show. The awards are so politicized and as a result arbitrary in regards to actual quality that it baffles me why people still watch this for who's actually going to win. Hell, it baffles me why people watch this at all, but whatever. Here are some thoughts on the Oscars, at least the part I could sit through.

Nice overall set design and lights. It actually did feel elegant and old-fashioned, but with a trace of modernity. However, what was up with the "set" that Daniel Craig and someone else whom I've forgot presented on for art direction? Now that was just tacky.

It's astonishing how much the academy ignores animated/comic book/fantasy films. Iron Man being snubbed doesn't surprise me somehow, even though I loved the film not just because of its comic book nature, but because it was a damn good film. But Wall-E not winning anything of a technical nature, including sound design? As my friend Jeni pointed out, the entire first half of Wall-E, arguably its best part and one of the best sequences in the history of animation and maybe even film, was virtually all sound! Return of the King in 2003 was clearly an enormous fluke and not a trendsetter.

Hugh Jackman seemed impossible to dislike, but not exciting; a very safe choice, which translates to boooooring to me. Also, what was up with the musical numbers, Hugh? Now Will Smith, who I doubt would ever do a schmaltzy Broadway dance sequence, would seem to me to be a perfect host for this; he's very funny and at times edgy, extremely likeable, and is an enormously successful movie star. I would guess he has turned them down, but why? Not something he wants on his resume for some reason? I don't blame him.

I love the idea of five former winners presenting the acting Oscar nominees. This along with the idea of giving the speechmakers as much time backstage as they want to record a full acceptance speech where they thank everyone they can think of instead of taking up everyone's time onstage are the two best ideas the Academy has had in ages.

What was up with the Best Song medley? I can see why Peter Gabriel boycotted it. It was impossibly lame; it had the effect of trivializing all three songs by mushing them together while still feeling like it ran too long. Also, the guy who won both Best Score and Best Song for Slumdog Millionaire has to have set some kind of record for shortest time to becoming a multiple Oscar winner. This is like the complaints people have regarding how many medals get handed out at Olympic swimming; when you hand out too many awards all at once, it kinda seems to trivialize them a bit.

The Man on Wire guy gave one of my all time favorite acceptance speeches. Humor, magic tricks, and balancing the Oscar on your chin, all in about a minute and a half. If more acceptance speeches were like his, I'd watch the Oscars much more.

I do not understand how Milk has won at multiple award shows for Best Original Screenplay. Sure, parts of the script were very good, even though a lot of it was the acting, especially Penn and Brolin (Brolin in particular took a decently written character and made him exceptional). But any script that repeats the same phrase five or six times during a film, and even pointlessly reshows an early sequence of the film with said phrase in it at the end of the film, doesn't strike me as being well written throughout.

I could say more, but I think this is enough. I'm very curious as to what the ratings are going to be for this year's Oscars. I can't imagine they'll be very high. Slumdog Millionaire doesn't strike me as being a big enough film to care enough about to watch sweep the Oscars (though I'm very happy for Danny Boyle, whom I've always liked). Of course, it's way bigger than No Country For Old Men. We shall see.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Woman's Weave Stops Speeding Bullet!!!

Now this is why to get a weave. Personally, I'm about to get a buzz cut/shave my head, but I'm starting to think that maybe a weave is a better idea.

Finally, a word to replace the N-word

President Please

This is kind of awesome. I still can't believe that the video from NY1 is real; it really does feel more like Daily Show than actual news footage, but that only makes it worth watching more. Great, great stuff.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why My Job Is Awesome Sometimes

Thanks to a class I take notes in, I have now learned the following things:

Santa Monica College has a gigantic cosmetology department, complete with a freaky glass window of styled dollheads in the entrance. And it's in, of all places, the business building; I also take notes in an accounting class just up the stairs.

With a little bit of practice, I could probably blowdry someone's hair decently, by sectioning it first and putting clips on, making sure to coat the hair with product, and then blowdrying the back of the head first, working my way up to the crown. Or something like that.

The only reason fancy hair products are "cocktailed" (smell nice) is to sell more of them. This seemed to shock about half the class, some of whom actually cut hair in salons as assistants. The teacher also stated that she doesn't let a client leave unless the client spends at least one hundred dollars that day in the salon.

Moroccan oil is a big trade secret. It smells great, is non-greasy, can be used as a pre-treatment or as a styling aid, and only costs about twenty bucks.

Cosmetology students tend to have one or more of the following characteristics: incredibly beautiful, quirky, overly friendly, and/or flaming gay. Oh, and they ALL wear black. Except for one girl. Who was in all white.

The test for a cosmetology license consists partially of seeing if you know the steps for techniques such as curling and the like, but mostly of whether you know safety rules and regulations. Absolutely no time or energy is put into making sure you can actually cut hair or do a manicure decently; all that really matters is that you can keep your space and client clean.

Big hair is back.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wake Up Your Cat

This is hard to explain, so just check it out. It's both damn funny and cute at the same time.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thoughts On The NBA All-Star Game

Shaq can really dance! The routine he did with the Jabbawockeez was actually very smooth. You gotta love that he called himself a Shaqawockee after the routine. :)

Speaking of Shaq, him and Kobe playing together tonight really was like old times; it looked like the two of them had never been apart. It also generated one of the better quotes I've heard in sports in a while. When asked about him and Shaq reuniting and how it felt, Kobe replied, "Well, it's not like we're going to go in the back and watch Steel Magnolias together and cry." Priceless.

Cool message from Obama. Man, what president in the past twenty years would ever have been hip enough to pull off something like that?

Finally, I just have to comment on John Legend. I have never liked John Legend, nor understood his appeal. So he's a throwback to the old soul artists, but with a new, hipper twist. Well, for one thing, it'd help if he could sing. But also, his arrangements always leave me cold. What was hysterical about tonight was the way they set up the "really into it" crowd right in front of the stage, and blacked out the rest of the arena. I've always found that directorial choice funny, only because it's so painfully obvious that they're doing it to mask the fact that no one in the audience cares. But this was worse than usual; not only was no one really into it in the arena, but they only had what looked like maybe fifty "fans" at most in front of the stage. When they did long cuts, you could see how few people there were! Sigh...

Personal Announcement

As some of you may know, I was training for a marathon until a couple of months ago, when I had a major injury that forced me into taking too much time off(I had a swollen thumb that ended up needing to be lanced, and if you wonder why that would curtail marathon training, let me just say that I hope you never have to find out). After recovering from the injury, I drifted back into weight training, which was my primary mode of athletic training in college.

However, I have a body better suited for running, and I've always performed very well in running in general; running, along with endurance sports in general, seems to be my forte athletically. Weight training makes me feel good, but I know I can never be very strong due to my muscle fibers and limb length, and that always makes me hit a limit in weight training that frustrates me. I also have problems in weight training with goals, since I can't get high enough weights to ever have aspirations to do power-lifting.

With all that said, I've decided to return to endurance training. I just did a test mile and a half run around my house and felt great. However, I'm going to try and be more diverse than I've ever been; running, swimming, cycling, racquetball/squash, tennis, weight training; I'm going to do it all. It should be a ton of fun, and when I start training towards an actual event, I'll let you know and possibly restart my old training blog.

Friday, February 13, 2009

40 Years Worth of Thanks

There is so much tragedy and despair covered in the news, likely because of the inherent drama and the amount of "commentary" and differing opinions that can be given about tragedy as opposed to straightforward good news. That's why stories like this one, featuring a firefighter who overlooked racism to save a child's life, and his reunion with that child forty years later, are so powerful; we don't hear about these kinds of things enough.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Movie Recommendation: Coraline

I just came back from seeing Coraline, the new Henry Selick movie based on the Neil Gaiman novella, and it was unbelievably brilliant. It is easily one of the best animated films of all time, both for its story and the quality of the animation. There is nothing else that looks anything like it, and there are certain scenes that are breathtaking to behold. Also, I saw it in 3D, and it is the best use of 3D I've experienced yet; it is not overwhelming, and enhances the magical quality of the world that Selick has created. If you like Neil Gaiman and/or animation, you owe it to yourself to see this, preferably in 3D. It is a triumph.

Music Recommendation: Duncan Sheik's Whisper House

Another day, another music recommendation. I first started listening to Duncan Sheik when everyone else did, in 1996 when Barely Breathing came out. Except for Spring Awakening, he has flown completely under the mainstream radar, sacrificing commercial success for musical integrity and creativity. My best friend, Jeni, has been a huge fan of his for a long time. I had liked parts of Sheik's first album and had been annoyed by others. As a result, I hadn't followed his career at all. But when she played me his second album, Humming, I was blown away. He took everything I liked from his first album, discarded all the stuff I didn't like, and took off in a new, more mature direction. It was as if Sheik read my mind. :)

I've become a huge fan since, and I like everything he's released quite a bit (and with both being older and having more musical sophistication, I appreciate his first album much more than I did when I was 12). His newest album, Whisper House, which is really a collection of songs from a new musical he's working on of the same name, is one of the best things he's ever done. The melodies are beautiful and eerie, the strings are gorgeous, and the songwriting is top notch. I highly recommend it. Make sure, if you want to pick it up, to buy the iTunes version; it has a fantastic bonus cover of The Ghost In You by the Psychedelic Furs that I haven't seen available anywhere else. Enjoy!

Earthbound Starlight (Sony won't let me embed it, and yes, the album is called Whisper House, not Earthbound Starlight as the video description claims)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The High Five Escalator

Improv Everywhere is an awesome improv group based out of New York City that pulls off pranks/performance art in public places. They are most famous for the "people frozen in Grand Central" stunt that made national news. But this latest stunt, the high-five escalator, goes back to the heart of why they do what they do: to make people laugh and be happier as they go about their day. Great, great stuff.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Question

This has been bothering me for the past couple of days. In every team sport, like baseball, football, soccer, hockey, volleyball and basketball, there is a raucous crowd situation. Often music plays loudly throughout the game, and there is a kind of party atmosphere (or picnic atmosphere if you're at a baseball game). In other words, at these kinds of events, you can chat, cheer, boo; basically be yourself at all times.

However, in solitary sports, like golf or bowling, the crowd is expected and in fact required to be quiet during an actual point. Sure, they can applaud between points, but there is a definite sense of distance and restraint on the part of the audience during the match. Now, this makes perfect sense in something like golf, where the player is in competition with only him or herself, and can rely on no one but themselves to succeed.

But why does tennis, which is NOT a solitary sport (in other words, you're playing against another opponent, albeit without a team), require the crowd to be silent during the match, only to cheer between points? I know there's the whole "gentleman's sport" excuse, but come on. The sport attracts pompous personalities that it trumpets (McEnroe and Agassi to name a few), it's fast-paced and high energy, and everyone wears casual wear to the matches. Heck, boxing is a sport with two people squaring off against each other where the crowd is raucous, and people used to wear suits and ties to it!

Why do tennis players need silence to deeply focus in the same way golf players do during a shot? I'm sure it helps, but that kind of silence would help in any sport. In fact, the more I think about it, tennis players would probably love feeding off the energy of the crowd during play. What do you think?

Game Recommendation: Big Bang Mini

I don't plan on doing too many video game recommendations, but occasionally when I run into a game that is just too good not to mention, I'll let you know. Big Bang Mini, which retails for 20 bucks, is an incredibly fun game for the Nintendo DS, the handheld Nintendo system (if you don't own a DS and like video games even casually, it's a great buy; there are a ton of great, innovative games that are G-rated, and run dirt cheap). It's an upgrade to the old school arcade shooter, only this time you shoot fireworks at targets, and if you don't hit your target, you have to avoid the debris from the fireworks going off in the sky. The game has a terrific, zany sense of humor, great graphics and music, and again, retails for twenty bucks. This is a steal.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Steve Martin On The Muppet Show Playing Dueling Banjos!!!

Now THIS is quality. Steve Martin on the Muppet Show showing off his banjo playing skillz. I love Kermit on the lower left clapping along once the song gets going. I may make a Muppet Show post at some point; I think it's one of the most innovative and flat out great shows that has ever been on TV. Enjoy!

Music Recommendation: M83

I know I'm way behind the hipster curve with this recommendation, but I know most people that are reading this won't care. :)

M83 are a French "group" (I put that in quotes because it used to be a duo, but one of them left and now it's really one guy, Anthony Gonzalez, and a bunch of guests) that specialize in making music that sounds like it comes straight from 1984. However, the key to why they're so great, besides Gonzalez being an excellent songwriter, is that this is music made with hindsight, so it contains all of the best aspects of the 80s (wonderful melodies, innovative use of synthesizers, intentional campiness, terrific rhythm) with none of the cheesiness that so often marred eighties groups.

The album to pick up is Saturdays = Youth, which came out last year to rave reviews. It took a while to grow on me, but I haven't been able to stop listening to it lately. If you decide to pick it up, get the iTunes version, which has a great bonus track. Here are my two favorite songs from the album, in video form:

Graveyard Girl

Kim And Jessie (unfortunately an edit to make it a single, but you'll get the idea)

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Cost of Living in New York City

Well, this isn't exactly shocking, but still humbling.

I am seriously considering moving back to New York in a little while, but have to come to terms with the fact that there is no way I could possibly live in Manhattan, in any capacity. The cost of living there is so outrageous, especially compared to other places in the United States (like virtually everywhere else), as you can see from the article above. I have two good friends living in Brooklyn right now, and while they're not exactly living in luxury, they have a decent sized kitchen, two bedrooms, and peace and quiet from living in a small neighborhood. I'll almost certainly go that route, depending of course on where I end up working. But still, what a ridiculous situation New York is in at the moment. It is actually losing its middle class, which can never be good.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Terminator Salvation: The Halloween Costumes

I'm sure everyone's heard the Christian Bale rant from the set of the new Terminator movie; to be honest, I could care less except for the unbelievably brilliant dance remix of the rant (very explicit and potentially offensive, of course). But did you know about the Halloween costumes from the movie that have been released already? The Onion A.V. Club is all over the story.

Kellogg's decides to drop Phelps

Kellogg's today decided to drop Michael Phelps after the pot smoking photo that has gotten him in a firestorm of controversy. Now, look. Pot is pot. It's a great social drug, certainly the best other than alcohol. Phelps is what, 23? That's when you're supposed to smoke pot, drink, and have fun, right? Not when you bill yourself as a role model and an American icon. I'm honestly surprised that more sponsors haven't dropped Phelps; they bought his image, and now that that has been tarnished multiple times, it seems only right to sever their connection to him.

Honestly, what concerns me the most here is Phelps himself. What was so striking about him at the Olympics, beyond the ridiculous performance itself of course, was how socially awkward he was when being interviewed. There were the pictures of him in hip hop clothes, and the stories of how none of the female athletes wanted to have anything to do with him despite the Olympic Village being a known hotbed of sex. All of these things suggest that he spent WAY too much time in the water during his formative years, and is paying the price for it now. There is a clear lack of maturity present in Phelps, and he is an example of what can happen when an incredible talent is discovered at a young age and is not given enough time to be normal.

UPDATE: Now Phelps has been suspended for THREE MONTHS by U.S. Swimming. Wow. Also, there's apparently a pot smoking scandal going sumo wrestling.

Heavy Metal Laundry Tips

In case you haven't been keeping up with your Laundromancy, here's an excellent (and damn funny) primer on how to keep those Slayer or Iron Maiden shirts in tiptop shape.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Obama on America

"In a country as diverse as ours, there will always be passionate arguments about how we draw the line when it comes to government action. That is how our democracy works. But our democracy might work a bit better if we recognized that all of us possess values that are worthy of respect: if liberals at least acknowledged that the recreational hunter feels the same way about his gun as they feel about their library books, and if conservatives recognized that most women feel as protective of their right to reproductive freedom as evangelicals do of their right to worship."

--Barack Obama, from The Audacity of Hope

I just started reading this, and will do a review here when I'm done. But let me say that it is one of the most thoughtful, well written, and engaging books I've read. Quotes like this are common.

Best use of the Wii yet

Have you seen this man? His bespectacled and vacant-expressioned face is wanted in Japan in connection with a hit-and-run accident, but for some reason the local police saw fit to print a "Wanted" poster with a mugshot that looks suspiciously -- make that exactly -- like it was created using the Nintendo Wii's Mii channel.

No, we don't have any more information about his crime, but if our time spent playing Mario Kart is anything to go by, the culprit's probably in trouble for reckless use of red shells and banana skins.

As to how is it that the police don't have a photo of the man, but have a picture of his Mii, your guess is as good as ours. Perhaps the mugshot-sketcher called in sick that day, and a creative (and tech-savvy) cop used the break-room Wii to put together an alternative.

[from Yahoo's Mike Smith]

The Wisdom of Ricky Gervais

"Podcasting is perfect for me, because I'm always trying to aim at those things that only have self-censorship. I'm trying [to] cut out all interference artistically. That's also why stand-up is so exciting. What you say is what is heard. I think Woody Allen said,'The best an idea gets is when it's in your head.' So I've always been conscious of control. The more control you have, the more it can be what you would want to see or hear." - Ricky Gervais

[from Andrew Sullivan]

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Onion on Action Figures

Action Figure Fights On Despite Loss of Dragon Sword

I fondly remember action figures. As an only child growing up, I was often all alone in my room with no one to play with, and my favorite activity besides reading was playing with action figures. My main villain was Magento from X-Men, and my hero was some miscellaneous good guy much like Huntarr in the article. I created epic battles, made up ridiculous psychological traumas when something broke (I still remember making Wolverine, who lost an arm, hesitant to enter battle because of the memories of his missing limb), and came up with grudges, rivalries, and events after which "nothing would be the same." I was basically a bad comic book writer at five years old.

But, in thinking about it right now, action figures were actually huge in developing my sense of imagination. Sure, I had an internal logic that would have made sense to no one but me, but who cares?! The fact that there even was an internal logic is amazing enough. Thumbs up to action figures, especially if those thumbs fell off during a duel for justice! :)

King Lays The Smackdown on Meyer

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Stephen King's opinion may drive a stake through the heart of "Twilight" author, Stephenie Meyer.

In an interview with USA Weekend, the bestselling author compared Meyer with J.K. Rowling , the author of the Harry Potter series.

According to Stephen, "Both Rowling and Meyer, they're speaking directly to young people... The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn. She's not very good."

[from OMG!]

I'm not sure why this makes me so happy. Of course, King isn't exactly the greatest writer of all time, but he has written some wonderful stuff (I'm a huge fan of On Writing, but also Hearts in Atlantis, and the sheer scope and imagination of The Dark Tower), and I was way into him when I was younger; I've actually read most of his work. I've never liked Harry Potter that much (Rowling can't write dialogue to save her life), but I understand the appeal, and I can see why King likes it; it has great imagination and a solid plot. I refuse to start Twilight only because I know there's no way I could get into it due to the subject matter and my gender. But it is funny to me that the Twilight film was a huge success for one week, and then dropped steadily; maybe people realized that the whole concept was, well, lame.

You Know You Do Too Many Crosswords When... see the clue _______ dish, and without thinking or looking at how many letters the answer needs to be, you know it's PETRI.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Favorite Websites

Here, in absolutely no particular order and off the top of my head, are some of the websites I visit every day and why:

Hot Chicks With Douchebags
: My uncle turned me onto this site sometime ago, and it remains one of my favorite concepts of all time. While it is a very mocking and cynical website, there actually is some good social observation going on, not to mention hysterical writing from the site's author, DB1. Check out the archives, in particular the Hall of Scrote. My personal favorite is Peaches, but there are many other great ones, including Gator and Oompa Prompa.

Andrew Sullivan
: One of the best writers and social thinkers we have, and as a gay Catholic conservative, Sullivan has a unique and powerful perspective on two of the most hot button issues right now, namely religion and equal rights for homosexuals. His writings on Obama, whom he fully endorses, are the most erudite I've seen. It's also fascinating to go through his archives to see his transformation from Bush defender to Bush hater. He also updates something upwards of fifteen to twenty times a day.

GameFAQs: This betrays one of my guilty pleasures/hobbies in life, video games. However, this is an incredible and trailblazing website regardless of its content; this is, in a sense, the original Wikipedia, albeit for a very specific topic. It features a staggering amount of free, typically very high quality information about video games, such as full walkthroughs and strategies, from diehard fans. Much of the writing and ideas are as good and usually better than the stuff that comes out professionally, and the size of some of the documents sometimes boggles the mind (one is close to 400 pages long!) You can find a couple of FAQs I've submitted under my name of Dmikester.

John Scalzi: I have been reading John's blog, the Whatever, since before the term blog existed. John is a terrific and funny writer; it has been amazing to watch his transformation from unknown freelance writer to bestselling, award-winning Sci-fi author. I actually peer edited his first big hit, Old Man's War. Highly, highly recommended.

Diary of a Crossword Fiend (Amy Reynaldo)/Rex Parker Does The NYT Crossword: Another one of my hobbies is crosswords. I try to do at least three or four every day, and no website covers the high quality ones that are out there better than Amy's site. She is one of the top crossword solvers in the country in terms of speed, so don't be discouraged by her times if you go to check it out. Rex Parker's site, while focusing solely on the NYT crossword, has become the major hub for the crossword blogosphere, and you'll see why when you go to the site. Both great websites, updated every day.

The Big Picture
: An absolutely brilliant collection of photo sets from all over the world, and of all different kinds of events. Some are tragic, some are uplifting, some are just plain beautiful. Make sure to check out the pictures of Obama's inauguration. This updates about once a week.

You can see other websites I love in my blogroll, including the ones listed here, on the right. Enjoy!

And So It...


Welcome, one and all, to the first real blog I've ever kept. My name's Mike (if you hadn't guessed that by now), and I've blogged before, but about a very specific topic, namely my attempt to run a marathon for the first time (I ended up being sidelined with a ridiculous injury, sadly) . I've long been asked by friends and family to start a real blog, one that is filled with my random discoveries on the Internet and musings about life. Well, out of sheer boredom at work, I've found the time, and have now started one! I have no agenda or schedule here; I'll just post when I can, and about whatever strikes my fancy. As a warning, things might get a little dirty sometimes around here in terms of the links I post and/or the subject matter I address. If you're overly sensitive, well, now you know not to click on every link blindly (I'll make sure to warn you).

I sincerely hope you enjoy this blog, and that you tell all your friends. Thanks for reading!