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Cold Case Hot Guilt

I like Cold Case. I know. I’m sorry.

Andrew’s Mother, Beverly, likes mystery novels. Whodunnits mainly, but other stuff too. She has this thing where, she can’t read–or buy–mystery novels that aren’t brand new anymore. She’ll get like half way through a book, maybe more, and all of the sudden it’ll twig–’I've read this before! I know how it ends!’. They reissue Mystery books all time. All the time with new covers, even under different titles. And so unless something is a first printing, brand new, she won’t pick up the books anymore.

I always thought “How can you not know if you’ve read a book before?” Especially not until like, half way through it, or more.

Cold Case just came back from the third commercial break into a scene and I was like “Oh fuck, that guy did it.” Took me 20+ minutes.

Sorry Bev.

- Christopher

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Dreaming of the Empire

I realized that somehow, some way, I had ended up on the Death Star.  I rolled with it though. From talking with people I discovered it was the first Death Star, and the rebels had become a real concern. While it’s a military battle station, it’s also as big as a moon, a floating military base. Families, children. Non-combatants who found themselves, their husbands, defending their government against a marauding terrorist force they didn’t understand.

The rebels began their attack.

I knew then that there’d be no way to get off the Death Star in time. Even if I could get into a ship–there’d be waves and waves of rebel fighters outside shooting at anything that moved. I figured I had maybe 20 minutes, 30 minutes, if the movie was accurate. I headed up to the restaurant level, it had a view of the stars, the conflict. It was gorgeous. The civilian areas were less spartan and grey than the military levels–they had huge windows where you could see the explosions, the blurs of motion. The whole area was like a city intersection, buildings built under a glass canopy to replicate the lives these military families had left behind. The light was purple, pink.

The first ship came crashing through the canopy, and into one of the buildings. Debris falling, people screaming. Running for the elevators.

I realized I was just delaying the obvious, but I didn’t want to get sucked out into space. It seemed like an undignified way to die.

Unsurprisingly, the elevators were full, people pounding at the doors to get in. I slipped through a side door and tried to use one of the military elevators, those were still working. Being me, and not the family member of an Empire trooper, I didn’t have a passcard of course. I couldn’t get the elevator to stop at my floor. You’d think that’d be frustrating, but I’d already accepted the inevitability of my death, and so it seemed a small trial to then further accept I’d die waiting for an elevator that would never come. Alanis Morrisette Ironic.

Then, a slow, deep rumble. A shift in the floor. It’d started. I had maybe 5 seconds left, and so with my last few moments I decided I’d wake up.

So that was Thursday night.

- Chris

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iFabulous, or: Why I bought an iPhone 4

Just over a week ago I purchased my first Apple product ever, the iPhone. I’ve gotten hand-me-down Apple products before, a few different iPods, but yeah, I’m not generally an Apple person. iPerson. Despite being a homosexual who learned all of his graphic design skills on Macs all through highschool.

I’d decided during the iPhone era that I was going to stick with my trusty Blackberry. The physical keyboard is phenomenal, and I think, a necessity. The form factor felt more solid, less easy to damage, than the large iPhone screen. That and I just didn’t ever want to type on the screen… I did not (and still do not) enjoy it. But. As I continued to use my Blackberry, I really started to notice the huge, huge problems (admittedly I was on a last-gen machine, a Curve I think). The browser doesn’t work. I mean, just, doesn’t work. Going to a website was brutally frustrating, just horrible really. It was an edge phone too, so downloads and uploads were painfully slow, which, if you’re trying to take pictures of things and send them to the internet? Pain in the ass.

But beyond that there was no application development, no extensions for the handheld to make it work better on the day to day. Text, Twitter, and BBM worked really well. E-mail was pretty good. And all of that was completely at the mercy of the extremely miniscule memory the handheld had. I think most Blackberry users know the terror of that spinning hourglass, and having to decide between using Google’s excellent app sweet or not resetting your phone twice a day to clear the memory is a bullshit decision, brought about by poor hardware design.

Then the “V” key and the “T” key stopped working on my phone, and I just gave up.

I’d gone back and forth between the iPhone and one of the gorgeous and functional new Android phones. I don’t really like supporting Apple as a company–their behaviour during the leak of the iPhone 4 was deplorable. I utterly disagree with their closed-door development policy, and their hangups about sex on the phone. Those are all things that Android as a platform doesn’t suffer from. And I could find a phone with a physical keyboard! :) But when it comes right down to it, the iPhone 4 is a second generation piece of hardware, with a huge user base, a huge development community, and from all of my fiddling-around with it it’s pretty clear that it just works.

I can’t understate the importance of using a piece of technology that just works. I was spending hours and hours every day on my Blackberry, and it was a trudge. You get used to it, and manage and workaround the quirks and the user unfriendliness and that damnable spinning hourglass, but the promise of functional technology? Not first gen? Not still raaaaaaaaaaaapidly developing and changing (with all of the turmoil that implies) like the Android platform is? It was an easy decision.

And, as I thought, it is lovely. It works. I love my new phone, and I am paranoid that I am going to destroy it (someone take me to Pacific Mall to get a protector!), but yes, my day to day has radically changed, because now I have the internet in my pocket in a functional, useful way.

Also I am addicted to Game Dev Story, Smurfs, and to a lesser degree Fruit Ninja.

- Chris

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Top 5 McDonald’s Sandwiches

5. Big Mac. Seriously, there’s something about the taste. It’s pure McDonalds but also totally unique. I don’t generally order these, but every once in a while I get an intense craving for them, and that’s gotta count for something. Fun fact: My vegetarian friend used to order these without meat. They tasted generally the same as the ones with meat. It was a little weird.

4. McDLT. Gone before it’s time. Seriously, I wouldn’t want to be a fresh tomato hanging around a McDonald’s either, but this sandwich was the greatest of their failures.

3. Egg McMuffin. With ham of course, as the bacon is either under- or over-cooked, and the sausage is for Americans. Seriously, the original Egg McMuffin (with cheese) is a perfectly balanced breakfast sandwich, without the cloying sweetness or mushy texture of the McGriddle. While I do appreciate the more-is-more aesthetic of the McGriddle, the original Egg McMuffin with two hashbrowns and an Orange Juice in a large coke cup (you have to ask special and pay considerably more, but it’s worth it) is the perfect fast food breakfast.

2. Cheeseburger. The original, a nearly perfect snack food that tastes exactly like McDonalds, all around the world.

1. Double Cheeseburger. A simple sandwhich, yes, but the balance of meat, cheese, pickle, onion, condiment, and bun has been perfected. Fresh out of the warming tray, there is nothing better. From McDonald’s.

Booby Prize: McRibwich. I mean, I get it, but it’s not actually good, just rare. If it was on the menu regularly no one would order them.

Japan’s best: Hmm. That’s tough, but it’s probably the McPork. The McTeriyaki is dripping in Teriyaki sauce and mayonaise. Seriously, just DRIPPING. It’s totally suited to Japanese tastes, but I don’t intend to ever eat one gain. The McPork is subtle and has a spiced patty, has a much more enjoyable texture, and is 100 yen. Solid.

Caveat: It’s still McDonald’s, so, you know, beware.

- Christopher

Image: McDonald’s makes tiny versions of its food, on cell-phone straps, as an incentive at its Asian restaurants. My friend David just sent me a tiny McGriddle, I’ll get a pic up soon.

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Got stressed, didn’t take care of myself, got very sick before Christmas.

Better now, good things happening, but blew my Christmas posting for the second year in a row X-[

January’s good, but insomnialicious. Can’t get to sleep before 5am.

Working on it.

- Chris

Posted in Meta.

Merry Christmas

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Happy Xmas (War is Over), John Lennon & Yoko Ono – 25DoCM

30 years today.

Posted in 25DoCM.

Frosty The Snowman, The Ronettes – 25DoCM

On Twitter last week, I named “A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector” as probably the greatest Christmas album, and I know I said that the pause in this song right around the 1:30 mark is one of the greatest moments in song.

Sure, that’s hyperbole in the online-music-writing tradition, but I think I actually believe that. It’s… it’s so good. The music is swirling up, dense, the strings and percussion and then little bits of descending pizzicato playing against the constantly rising vocals, layers upon layers that just


giving you a brief respite from the wintry wonderfulness, before that amazing kick drum does a double-time count-in to continue just where it left off. Awwwwesome.

The only downside to this album, and by extension this song, is the omnipresence of mindgangster and convicted murderer Phil Spector. I still haven’t entirely reconciled all of that, I know the music is the music and the man is a piece of shit (talented though!), but… yeah. The first step is that I’ve deleted his creepy thank-you message off of my MP3s, so at least I never need to hear that again. :)

So yes, thrill to one of the greatest Christmas songs Of All Time.

- Christopher
Back-dated to make up for a day I missed while I was sick.

Posted in 25DoCM.

Baby It’s Cold Outside, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme – 25DoCM

Love this song.

This is easily the best version. I’ve heard 2 dozen of them now, and none of them are as well-acted or orchestrated. They’re great singers too.

I know that among the few people I know that would know who these people are they’re kind of a punchline, but seriously. Best version of a song. And hey, they were married, so it diffuses the creepy undertones AND overtones of the song.

Oh, and the worst version is Dean Fucking Martin’s version, where he replaces the lead, female vocal with THREE backup singers in order to showcase his own voice better. It’s sleezy, and not in a good way. Feh.

- Chris

Posted in 25DoCM.

Here Comes Santa Claus, Elvis Presley – 25DoCM

Dreading the thought of my niece missing out on Burl Ives’ version of “Holly Jolly Christmas” made me think about the “definitive” recordings/performances/versions of Christmas music and carols that I love. Mary’s Boy Child by Boney M, linked a few days ago? In my mind that’s the only version, and all of the others are just crap. I know it’s not fair, but really. Really.

But that’s not the worst.

I can’t even _sing_ “Here Comes Santa Claus” without doing it in the style of Elvis. Listen to it a couple of times, and then listen to another version. His intonation, timing, and emphasis are totally unique, he’s adding all kinds of stuff in there that’s just not in the original… and since his version is so good when I try to sing it “normal” it’s just… Elvis. It comes out Elvis.

Elvis has put his stamp on a number of Christmas songs, signature tracks “Blue Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Back in Town” are more well-known and more closely associated with Elvis… But I tried to sing “Here Comes Santa Claus” today and I couldn’t strip the Elvis out.

That’s some powerfully imprinted shit right there…

- Christopher

Posted in 25DoCM.