Friday, September 21, 2012

the guild season 6 will be on geek & sundry!!!

Have you heard of The Guild? If you haven't, then I'm officially pulling your geek card. It's written and directed by geek darling Felicia Day. The web show, which will be entering it's 6th season this fall, chronicles the IRL (mis)adventures of a MMORPG guild. It's enjoyable, funny and endearing even if you're not a gamer.

The star of the show is Cyd Sherman, an out of work concert violinist who, at the beginning of the series, admits to being a shut-in with a series addiction to an unnamed WoW clone. Crisis brings her into real life contact with Zaboo, with whom she's been carrying on a computerized coquest; Vork, the guild leader; Clara, a stay-at-home mom; Bladez, a rogue online and off; and Tink, who seems to prefer keeping a screen her and the real world at all times.

The best moment of season 1 is definitely (SPOILER ALERT!) the boss battle against Zaboo's mom. The conversation choices of each "friend" reflects their role in the game. Is this what Legend of the Red Dragon (LORD)[1] would have been like if it had supported party play? I shared The Guild with my brother and a small group of geek friends. I think it's this moment that always clenches the win.

Season 6 of The Guild is being shown on Geek & Sundry, a web channel developed by Felicia Day, Kim Evey, and many other talented folks. I also watch a couple of other things on Geek & Sundry.

The flog, Felicia's weekly video blog, is probably the flagship program. Each week, she recommends 3 products or websites, tries to learn a new skill, and responds to a letter writer with an actual, honest-to-goodness typed letter. I really like when her brother joins the show and they (poorly) play co-op video games of the 8 and 16bit era together. Wil Wheaton's show TableTop is also great. Each week, 3 celebrities join Wil to play a table top board game. An episode lasts about 30 minutes. The trash talking is fun and I'm always glad to get a demo of a board game I haven't played before.

For fans of Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin appeared on Sword & Laser. Levar Burton has been on, too.

In other words, do yourself a favor and subscribe. Currently, they're running a drive to reach 500,000 subscribers. As they meet tiered goals, various prizes and giveaways are unlocked. So join up today!

[1] Legend of the Red Dragon was an online fantasy role-playing game hosted on Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) back in the early days of commercial internet. You can think of it as an early forerunner of modern MMORPGs like WoW.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2012 Olympics: The Aftermath?

In the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics in London, anti-human trafficking groups in the UK continued to press the government to take steps to combat a predicted uptick in human trafficking. Greece had reported a significant increase in victims in conjunction with the 2004 Olympics in Athens. As an intern at a human rights organization based on London last summer, I myself witnessed NGOs (or "charitable organizations" as they are called in the UK) consistently pressing MPs and leaders of the UKHTC and other government entities to take steps to address the predicted problem.

Now the games are in full swing. Michael Phelps has become the most decorated Olympic athlete in the recorded history of the games. The American women's gymnastic team clinched gold. And the internet has fallen in with a hurdler from Australia. But the question still on my mind is:
was there an upswing in human trafficking victims because of the games?

Anti-Slavery International posted a story at the end of June about its awareness raising campaign aimed at stamping out forced labor associated with the games. BBC Newa published a story that same month contesting the link between major sporting events and an increase in human trafficking. Several resources report that London police cracked down on brothels in the first half of 2012 in attempts to stamp out the sex trade ahead of the games. But the Daily Mail, a dubious source for sure, reported an explosion of Olympic themed escort advertisements and promotions with increased staffing to meet the expected demand.

Will the UK government conduct an assessment after the closing ceremonies to see how effective it was at preventing human trafficking around the 2012 Olympic Games? While sex trafficking and prostitution may grab the headlines because they are salacious, will the government study the possibility of forced labor in the construction of the Olympic facilities and the increased staffing of hotels, restaurants, and other service industries blessed with an Olympic boom in business? How will they study the suggested increase of child victims of trafficking pressed into service by gangs of criminals to pick pockets during the games?

A story has been circulating over the last week among Christian websites about the London Olympics and human trafficking. The story centers on a Stop the Traffik campaign around London using large gift-box styled installations to raise awareness of human trafficking. Stop the Traffik is partnered with Compassion United Kingdom. The story, unfortunately, does not highlight enough the active work that many Christian faith organizations have put in both with lobbying efforts to combat human trafficking and in the role as victim support providers in the UK.

Controversy always arises where religion and government services meet. The selection and funding of the Salvation Army as a first responder in the UK while the POPPY Project was defunded last year was no exception. However, as a broader coalition to combat human trafficking across the globe and support victims coalesces, all hands should be welcomed, including the faith-based ones.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

assault! jack the ripper

Director: Yasuharu Hasebe
Starring: Tamaki Katsura, Yutaka Hayashi

Assault! Jack the Ripper is a Japanese horror film from Nikkatsu studios in their Violent Pink line. Pink films (also called "eroduction" or "Roman porno") are a genre of Japanese films that has no exact analog in the West.[1] Per studio guidelines, pink films contain a certain quota of sex scenes spaced at required intervals, making them similar to the softcore porn of Cinemax and Showtime ilk. But the stories are generally more complex and subtly psychological and quite often feature nuanced female characters unlike softcore porn.

Violent Pink (also called Pinky Violence) is a subgenre of Pink that involves violence, very often graphic in nature.

Much ink has been spilt breaking down the Western horror genre, including exploration of the representation of gender in horror. I'm intentionally not going to approach Assault! Jack the Ripper from that angle because of differences not only between American and Japanese culture but also because of the differences in the history of cinema and visual language in the two countries. Although a discussion of the abject or the targeting by the killer of sexually active women in horror films could potentially be fruitful in this case, I leave them aside. I will instead just discuss two major themes in the movie.

Wikipedia summarizes the plot of Assault! Jack the Ripper as: "A young couple engage in a rampage of murder, rape and mayhem in order to stimulate their sexual appetites." Succinct, it fails to describe the two major themes of the story. First, the victims are increasingly targeted as women as such. Second, the sexual charge that initially propels the murder spree eventually transforms into the eroticization of violence itself for the Cake Man (the male lead).

The film begins with Afro Perm[2] (the female lead) goads the Cake Man into driving her home in a rainstorm from the restaurant where they both work. They stop to pick up a female Hitchhiker who seems to be garbed in hospital clothing. The Hitchhiker stabs herself in the arm with a cake knife, horrifying the Cake Man and Afro Perm, and then reveals a collection of razor blades she intends to use to continue her self-mutilation. She is likely an escaped mental patient.

The Cake Man ejects her from the car but she won't let go as he speeds away. Eventually, she falls and dies. Scared because of their role in her death, Cake Man and Afro Perm drag the Hitchhiker's body into an old scrap yard. Afro Perm strips the Hitchhiker's body for some reason and ditches her clothes. Cake Man then drags her body deeper into the junk yard. Unfortunately, her corpse snags at the crotch on a bit of metal and the Cake Man tears the Hitchhiker in half.

Back at Afro Perm's apartment, the pair deal with the unintentional killing with varying levels of ease. The Cake Man is shaken and disturbed while Afro Perm seems nonplussed. She strips out of her wet clothes, revealing a plump body that's quite a bit curvier in the bosom and bottom than most of the rest of the women in this movie. Eventually, Cake Man and Afro Perm cap off the night with some very intense and passionate sex.

The next day, Afro Perm approaches Cake Man at work but he ignores her. To make him pay attention, Afro Perm leaves with a male customer whose lecherous advances she had spurned yesterday. Cake Man follows the pair and watches as they perform oral sex on each other inside the car. Having made her point and firmly seizing Cake Man's attention, Afro Perm gets out of the car and walks over to Cake Man's car fully naked.

The duo try to have sex again back at her place but it's just missing a certain spark. That spark, they decide, is murder. And so begins a killing spree initially driven by the couple's libido.

The pair first stalk a high school girl who had previously come into the restaurant. They hit her with their car and then quickly snatch her up. Instead of an abandoned junk yard, this time they take their victim, still very much alive, to an abandoned bowling alley. Afro Perm is committed to the murder right off but Cake Man has reservations. All hesitation is shed, however, when the young girl slips her gag and begins to scream. Cake Man charges her with a knife, the same knife that the Hitchhiker had used to cut her arms. He stabs her but we cannot see where the knife pierces her body because of the framing of the shot. We only know that it hits somewhere below her chest.

The couple go at it hot and heavy on a nearby bench. Murder is just the aphrodisiac their sex life needs. But while Afro Perm rides him, Cake Man stares at the bleeding body of the young girl. Once they have finished up, the couple ditch the body in an elevator shaft.

Their next target is the girlfriend of the restaurant patron Afro Perm messed around with. They follow the pair to the airport, and after the man boards his flight to America, the couple abducts the woman and takes her to a graveyard. The woman pleads with Afro Perm as a woman to spare her life. Afro Perm orders her to perform oral sex on Cake Man, which she does. Then Afro Perm commands Cake Man to perform oral sex on the woman. He lies down on the ground and she lies on top of him. She continues to perform. He, on the other hand, brutally stabs her in the groin using the same knife as before. The couple then hides the woman's body beneath a grave stone before having sex in the car.

This scene is pivotal to the film in three ways. First, it's the first explicit scene of the Cake Man's m.o.; we have the reuse of the knife and also his preferred target: the groin. Remember, he accidentally tore the Hitchhiker apart at the groin in the junk yard. We can also speculate that he stabbed the high school girl in the groin, too, even though the camera wasn't positioned for us to see it. Second, it is the zenith of the conjunction between sexual intercourse and violence. Not only do the couple have sex after the killing, but the killing itself involves rape of the victim. As the killings continue, we see a growing divorce between explicit sexual satisfaction and the act of murder as the stabbings themselves look increasingly sexual. Third, post-coitus, Afro Perm says to Cake Man "We're just like a husband and wife. I'm going to look after you. Like a real wife." The couple take up residence at Afro Perm's apartment. She attempts to move their relationship into the domestic sphere, cooking and cleaning for Cake Man. She even refers to their relationship as a "marriage" of sorts. But as we will see, Cake Man's intentions become very different.

Cake Man's next kill comes without Afro Perm. It is also the first stranger; someone that the couple is not connected to. He leaves their apartment to go wandering around a downtown area at night. While walking, Cake Man finds an invitation to a prostitute's place of work. The prostitute appears to be an older woman, probably in her late 30s or early 40s, likely older than any of the victims so far and also Afro Perm. She strips and dangles her breasts in Cake Man's face but he lies perfectly still, seemingly uninterested. Suddenly, he flips her over, pins her to the bed, and may or may not have sex with her. We do not see him remove his underwear but she does moan.

Cake Man gets up, puts on his pants, and retrieves the knife he's used in the other killings. The prostitute thinks that he just wants to play a little rough and offers to let him tie her up for a little more money. Instead, Cake Man stabs her in the hand. He then drags her into the bathroom where he binds her hands with the shower line before stabbing her fatally in the groin. We also see him drive the knife upwards, attempting to cut her in half. This splitting action is much more explicit than the previous kill. The camera zooms in on the knife and follows it as he forces it from the groin to the stomach, lingering on the action. When he returns home, he sharpens the knife. He does not have sex with Afro Perm.

At this point, while the murders are still tied explicitly to sexual satisfaction for Cake Man, we see that his appetite for murder and sexual satisfaction have been segregated from Afro Perm. She initially urged him into the murder for turn-on game but now he doesn't need her to (1) pick the targets, (2) goad him to kill, (3) have sex with post-kill. However, with the nudity and touching of the prostitute, he still links the act of murder and sex.

The next kill, however, does not contain any explicit sexual overtones. Cake Man targets a young mother who he encountered earlier in the alley outside the restaurant with her child. She works at a wedding reception hall. He goes to her work and asks her to speak in the garden. There, he stabs her in her ceremonial clothing. He stabs her in the groin and then lifts, again attempting to cut his victim in half. He has to flee before he can finish the job but we are shown a still shot of her body lying on the ground, a bloody mess staining her white clothes over her groin area.

The film next cuts to Cake Man and Afro Perm entering her apartment. News of his attack plays on the television and she confronts him, accusing him of "cheating" on her by killing without her. She also mentions that it's been 10 days since they have last had sex, confirming that Cake Man didn't sleep with her after killing the prostitute. Afro Perm demands that he take her with him but he strikes her and then leaves the apartment.

Cake Man attacks a woman working alone at night across the street in a dress shop. Neither Cake Man nor Afro Perm have been shown to have any interaction with her; she is his second stranger kill. It also seems to be the first time he has set out with the purpose of killing a stranger. Initially, she is about to escape but Perm Girl enters to help him. Cake Man then starts slashing the dress maker with the knife, cutting her across the back and several times on her breasts. They struggle over the knife and the blade cuts into her hand as Cake Man forces it lower down her body. He spins her around and stabs the knife into her groin. Her head tosses back in imitation of the moment of penetration in sexual intercourse before he lets her fall to the ground. Cake Man then flees, leaving her body there. Afro Perm follows him.

These two kills sever completely the connection between explicit sexual intercourse and Cake Man's desire for murder. However, the murders themselves have taken on more overt sexual characteristics. The mother is shown with red blood staining the white clothes directly over her groin after he stabs her from his own groin area. The dressmaker's positioning with Cake Man and her body language both imitate sexual intercourse at the moment the knife pierces her groin. Rather than his penis entering Afro Perm's body to metonymically repeat the fatal stabbings that are his m.o., the murder and the sex have now collapsed into a single act.

At this point in the film, with barely 8 minutes left, the director introduces a new element: food. After murdering the dressmaker, the film cuts back to Afro Perm's apartment. Cake Man spoons overly generous amounts of jelly into his croissant, which has been split along the edge and spread open in such a way as to resemble a vulva.[3] While he eats, Afro Perm performs oral sex on him but Cake Man doesn't seem to be paying attention. Afro Perm suggests they go on a picnic on their next day off.

Cut to the graveyard (yes, the same graveyard where they earlier raped, murdered, and stashed the body of a victim). Afro Perm performs oral sex on Cake Man while he lies on his back eating. She then strips and mounts him while he continues to eat, seemingly unmoved by her actions. He continues to eat while she moans, proclaims how happy she is, and tells him never to leave her.

I'm not quite sure what this conjunction of food and sex with Cake Man being distant is supposed to mean. Does his eating of the food Afro Perm prepares and thoroughly un-passionate reaction to sex represent the domestic sphere and his resistance to settling down? Or does his gluttonous consumption reveal that now he is out of control (i.e. can't sate his appetite for food or murder)? Is the pairing of food and un-emotional sex supposed to contrast with the earlier pairing of murder and passionate sex? If so, to what end?

After the picnic, we cut back to the apartment where Afro Perm is doing laundry while Cake Man sits at the table drinking a coke. But then Cake Man slips out to stalk a nurse on her way home from work. He shoves her into a dorm room where three other women are getting ready for bed. He stabs the first in the chest and the next one in the groin before tying the third standing with her arms over her head to the bed. The camera pans to a shot of a woman on the ground with her legs open towards the camera, focused on her white underwear. He stabs this woman, the first roommate, in the groin and smears her blood on the nurse's face with the knife. Next, he cuts along the bound woman's chest beneath her breasts, slashes her throat, then cuts an X on her chest before stabbing her in the groin. When the nurse screams, he lashes out at her with the knife, cutting an X across her chest and then horizontally and vertically.

This final murder scene of four strangers includes several face close-ups of the women with expressions that hover somewhere between fear and ecstasy. Their gasps at times sound like sexual moans. This ambivalence reinforces the transition that has happened between the overt and subterranean sexual pleasures of killing for the Cake Man.

As he is leaving, Afro Perm shows up. She clutches him and calls him "husband" as he stabs her. She falls to the floor and the camera zooms on her face and rotates as blood pools beneath her head. Cake Man is then shown in silhouette walking against the morning sky along a spillover. He takes off his shirt, washes the knife in the water, and then examines it as he continues walking along.

The end.

Although Cake Man is at first a reluctant murderer, his constant m.o. of stabbing women in the groin, supplemented by slashing at their breasts, betrays an underlying sexual element of the crimes even without the post-killing intercourse with Afro Perm. Possession of sexual knowledge does not seem to motivate the murders as the high school girl is presumptively "innocent" and there is no indication that the nurses are impure either. Given the attack on the young mother who worked at the wedding hall, it doesn't necessarily seem to be "motivated" to restore a more traditional social order.

Over time, the sex that initially motivated the murders becomes folded into the act of murdering itself. Cake Man and Afro Perm began their murder spree in order to spark the flames of passionate sex. They would kill, they would have sex. Sexual play with the victims was also included. They had sex in the presence of the body of the teenage girl. The restaurant patron's girlfriend was made to perform oral sex on Cake Man. There is sexual touching with the third victim, the prostitute, even if there was no sexual intercourse. But as sexual activity during or after the murders ceases, the murders themselves come to look more and more like intercourse.

Taken together, what do these two themes mean? I'm still trying to work that out. Any guesses?

[1] You can read up on Pink films here.
[2] Really, you have to see it. According to Wikipedia, the director asked Tamaki Katsura to style her hair in this way for the film.
[3] The jelly he is spooning into the croissant may be red but I can't tell. I'm colorblind. If so, that image would repeat the imagery of the bloody woman's parts Cake Man has been carving.

Monday, March 5, 2012

top 5 things i'm looking forward to in mass effect 3

We're on the eve of Mass Effect 3's launch. I, unfortunately, won't be playing tonight or until after Spring Break. I ordered online and chose standard shipping. Too bad for me. But to salve my wounds of not continuing the career of FemShep's war against the Reapers at launch, I thought I'd say a few words about the top things I'm looking forward to in Mass Effect 3.

1. Kinect control - Yes, I know it's only voice, but I'm glad to see a AAA title finally integrating voice controls in a way that hopefully works. I still remember the fiasco that was SOCOM on the PS2. And no, I still haven't played Gunstringer.

2. Multiplayer - And not as your Shepard character! Finally I can directly take on the role of a hulking krogan or a sly salarian. And the creators promise that successes (and failures?) in the multiplayer mode will have consequences for the single player campaign. That doubly means I'll have an incentive to play it.

3. Melee combat - I haven't used melee a whole lot in the Mass Effect series. It hasn't seemed all that effective and frankly isn't all that much fun to look at. It lacks a certain visceral je ne sais quoi that chainsaw-bayonetting hordes of Locust has in Gears of War. But during the demo I found a certain thrill in charging up my omni tool and smashing it into foes. The only thing better than glowing green (yellow?)[1] death would be an achievement for glowing green death-ing enemies.

4. The story's final act - I've been in love with Mass Effect ever since first opening the Collector's Edition tin for ME1. I imported my FemShep from ME1 into ME2 and kept the relationship with Liara alive in my heart.[2] Now it's time to see how it all ends. Hopefully, since it's a video game, the series will end with a bang and not a whimper. Too many of my favorite sci-fi universes (Babylon 5, DS9, Firefly) have ended with less than spectacular results. Let's hope BioWare cranks the fun and the storytelling up to 11 for the final installment.

5. The return of old friends - I missed Urdnot Wrex in ME2. Yeah, he was the leader of a clan and you could talk to him, but playing as Grunt just didn't have the same impact. Liara should be back. Hopefully my new second favorite Mordin Solus will return. No, I haven't read anything about who will be back. I want each return to be a surprise.

That's it. That's my top 5. To those of you picking up your copy at midnight, I envy you. Please keep the galaxy safe until I can join you. In the meantime, I'll continue to content myself with another Bioware creation: Star Wars: The Old Republic.

[1] Sorry, I'm colorblind.
[2] Still haven't played the Shadowbroker DLC to help Liara in ME2 and maybe renew that relationship in-game.

Friday, February 24, 2012

top 5 of the week for 24 february 2012

1. belle and sebastian - get me away i'm dying

2. trailer trash tracys - candy girl

3. here we go magic - tunnelvision

4. bon iver - blood bank

5. kurt vile - jesus fever

Friday, February 17, 2012

top 5 of the week for 17 february 2012

1. porcelain raft - despite everything

2. olivia tremor control - a peculiar noise called train director

3. the soft moon - total decay

4. tape deck mountain - p.i.

5. braids - lemonade

Thursday, February 16, 2012

a post that isn't about music

One thing that I haven't discussed yet is my mad love for Mass Effect. Bioware has done a bang up job with the series so far. The final installment, Mass Effect 3, is ready to launch in less than 3 weeks. I couldn't be anticipating a game more.

I set aside playing Mass Effect 2 for awhile. Wanted to get through other games in the library and then Xbox Live games like Bastion, Orcs Must Die, and recently The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile had caught my attention. With Mass Effect 3 dropping so soon, I'm devoting my free hours (the few I have in law school) to finishing up Mass Effect 2.

I don't know about you, but I'm a firm fan of femShep. My Mass Effect character was a femShep and I've continued her career in Mass Effect 2. I play her as a Paragon, tough but fair on her allies and only soft with Liara T'soni. I've become invested in her personality and her story. I'm glad the demo and some of the promotional materials will highlight femShep as a viable story path. She's a solid female character.

Some might argue that she's just a clone of the male Shepard career path. That's probably true. And that's what makes her such a compelling female character. Her sex organs don't dictate her horizons. She can be the tough as nails, ass kicking soldier (mine is) instead of some female stereotype. She wears the same armor as male Shepard, carries the same guns, and earns the same respect and reactions.

Currently, facebook is running a Mass Effect 3 contest. You can earn all kinds of cool stuff, including avatar gear, for participating. The most recent goal is to hit a certain number of downloads of the demo in order to unlock a special ME3 avatar shirt. So be a pal and download the demo on XBLA.

In an upcoming post, I'll preview some of the features coming to ME3 that I'm most excited for.

Pre-order Mass Effect 3 now and receive a special item, the M55 Argus Assault Rifle, and a $10 Amazon gift card.

While you wait for my next installment, read this article arguing the Mass Effect universe is the most important sci-fi universe ever. Does that mean MMO?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

special top 5 - valentine's day edition

A special Valentine's Day edition of the top 5. Mostly songs about romances that don't work out but one semi-happy song did manage to slip in there.

1. neon indian - fallout

2. music go music - light of love

3. radio dept. - the worst taste in music

4. magnetic fields - i think i need a new heart

5. cloud nothings - even if it worked out

Friday, February 10, 2012

top 5 of the week for 10 february 2012

After last week's dedication to pyromania, I decided to make this week's playlist an ode to mental illness.

1. sonic youth - schizophrenia

2. deerhunter - agoraphobia

3. rolling stones - 19th nervous breakdown

4. jimmy hendrix - manic depression

5. of montreal - a sentence of sorts in kongsvinger

BONUS : Here's a bonus video about a man with a love of fire.

talking heads - burning down the house

Friday, February 3, 2012

top 5 of the week for 3 february 2012

Today is my brother's birthday. Happy 32nd, brokowski!

When we were kids, we were fascinated with fire. So here's a themed top 5 about the flame.

1. sonic youth - incinerate

2. raveonettes - ignite

3. johnny cash - ring of fire

4. st. vincent - paris is burning

5. animal collective - fireworks

Thursday, February 2, 2012

express review and coupon code

Hi folks!

Still flushed with all that Christmas cash? Need new dress clothes? You should take a look at Right now their website is offering free shipping on orders over $125. And to sweeten the pot, I'll give you the current coupon promotion code: 1029. That gives you $50 off $150 or $25 off $75. Not a bad deal.

I love express men's dress clothes. Express has chosen a more modern, European cut to their line. Unlike most men's dress shirts, the 1MX shirts are a slender, body forming fit rather than the loose, flouncy style popular with most other brands. And right now they are on sale at buy one get one half price.

Express suits are simply the best. Again, emulating the European style, their jackets are shorter and the shoulders are cut to accentuate your natural shoulder line rather than make you look like a linebacker and feel like you're carrying air bags on your shoulders. The pants are no pleats and tapered with much narrower leg openings than your typical suit pants. Overall, the suits cut a manicured, sleek impression, especially when combined with a 1MX shirt.

Right now I'm particularly fond of the photographer's cut in black. I ordered it with the above coupon (code 1029). I needed a new suit after wearing the same one 3 days in a row to the Georgia capitol. Which is a grey suit from express in the old producer cut, still available.

I may only be a legal intern but I feel confident when I wear a suit from express. I don't feel like a kid swallowed up in my dad's suit like I do in suits from other places. I know I look good and that translates into confidence, maybe even a little swagger. And swaggers an important part of the job. It reminds me that I've done the work, I've got the grades and experience, I belong here, too.

But that may just be my fashion bias. I like to look polished, tight and angular. It fits my slender body shape well. And after talking to a few young ladies, I know they appreciate the look, too.

No, this wasn't paid for or sponsored by express. I just wanted to let you know their are alternatives if you're tired of the same old American cut. These shirts and suits will definitely make you stand out in the crowd of black and navy jacket'd associates. But YMMV. deal on livingsocial

Hi folks!

It's me again. Thought I'd let you know about a promotion at that's going on for the next 2 days. You can get a $20 gift card for only $10 through livingsocial. Follow this link to take advantage of this deal.

Overstock has a little bit of everything. I buy a lot of presents through them thanks to the wide selection and the cheap shipping deals. I've bought my last 3 sets of 1000 thread count sheets from them at bargain prices You should definitely check 'em out. Overstock, that is. Not my sheets. I don't even know you.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

lazy bachelor's cookbook - roasted spicy mayo chicken

In case you can't tell, I like to cook with chicken. Chicken tastes good and it's not as bad for you as beef. Here's a recipe that I found online. It sounded interesting (mayo. cayenne paper. celery seeds?) so I decided to throw it together tonight and see how it tasted.

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup mayo
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 pinch cayenne
zest from 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 425. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Whisk all the ingredients together. Slather on chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pricked with a fork.

Simple, huh? Even I could make this dish without too much trouble.

Just pulled it out of the oven. It's not much too look at but the true test is taste. I'll update you later if it passes the yum factor.

Verdict: Not bad. It was spicy enough to make me hiccup, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I threw in a lot more than a pinch of cayenne, though. Next time I might invest in a basting brush and apply the spicy mayo to both sides of the chicken evenly. This time I used a butter knife to spread the spicy mayo only on one side. It produced a creamy layer of spice on top of the chicken. A coating on both sides might kick it up a notch.

Monday, January 30, 2012

lux cover black tambourine for their new album

Up and comers Lux have a new album, We Are Not the Same, dropping soon. For it they recorded a cover of 90s twee-pop quartet Black Tambourine's "Black Car". It's buried in a hidden track on the album but it's been dredged up for your listening pleasure here.

I'm also including the original version here. What do you think?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

another way to make free money

Here's another free way to make money. It's by doing something you already do: buying stuff online. It's simple. Click on this link, sign up, and then go to the ebates site any time you buy something online. Many stores participate, you just need to click through from ebates and voila, cash back. Also, ebates tracks many coupons and special deals available from your favorite retailers.

I'm trying to de-clutter the blog and keep the ads down to a minimum. But at the end of every post you'll start seeing one of these buttons linking to ebates. It's not a sponsorship thing. I'm doing it because I want to. And because if I get enough people to sign up, they'll give me an iPad 2 or cash.

Likewise, I'm going to start using the following buttons to remind you to sign up for bing rewards and earn free money by using the microsoft search engine.

Friday, January 27, 2012

top 5 of the week for 27 january 2012

1. masonic - way down avenue

It seems after Jennifer Christen left the band, Masonic re-recorded all the songs from their debut album with a new vocalist. The new girl wasn't nearly as good. Unfortunately, it's rare to find the originals on the internet so you'll have to put up with this.

2. sonic youth - schizophrenia

3. raveonettes - apparitions

4. spoon - got nuffin

5. braveyoung - we are lonely animals

Buy stuff online? Why not join ebates and get cashback with every purchase. Search for things on the internet? Bing rewards you for every search and lets you earn gift cards and other rewards. Click on the buttons below to join.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

top 5 of the week for 20 january 2012

1. the circulatory system - the spinning continuous

2. sonic youth - superstar

3. soul coughing - circles

There's also a great Cartoon Network Groovies video with the Flintstones and this song but it seems to have been wiped from the internet.

4. olivia tremor control - define a transparent dream

5. explosions in the sky - first breath after coma

Buy stuff online? Why not join ebates and get cashback with every purchase. Search for things on the internet? Bing rewards you for every search and lets you earn gift cards and other rewards. Click on the buttons below to join.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

only in japan for 18 january 2012

Here Puss in Boots decides to have an epic adventure across the globe to retrieve a "miracle herb" for his sick owner, a little Japanese girl. But inexplicably, at 0:26, he stops to lick his balls. By the way, I think the miracle herb is cough drops.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

only in japan for 17 january 2012

As I prowl the strange recesses of the interwebs, occasionally I come across something so strange, so weird, so utterly bizarre it could have only been made in Japan.[1] This is where I shall collect the detritus of demented minds.

The first installment... Well, you just have to see it for yourself.

Apparently a wrestling clip of American gay porn actor Billy Herrington somehow made it's way onto a Japanese file sharing site. And then somebody did this.

Obviously, Cho Aniki wasn't homoerotic enough so they had to cross it with Twisted Metal. You can't unsee something like that.

[1] Despite the title, strange clips from all parts of Asia are fair game for this segment.

Friday, January 13, 2012

top 5 of the week for 13 january 2012

I got some unpleasant news this week. Apparently my high blood pressure has the docs concerned enough that they've put me on medication to lower it. So here's a top 5 songs about hearts and heart problems.

1. the magnetic fields - i think i need a new heart

2. telekinesis! - calling all doctors

3. the national - looking for astronauts

4. paul westerberg - dyslexic heart

5. japandroids - young hearts spark fire

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

new shins album coming in march

I guess the breakup rumors were just that: rumors. James Mercer returns to The Shins to release Port of Morrow. Follow this link to preorder the album with some bundle options including an exclusive t and tote bag.

Friday, January 6, 2012

top 5 of the week for 6 january 2012

First playlist of 2012. 1. the eels - good old days 2. the national - lucky you