stupid list #167

  • I just paid my annual hosting bill for this site. It’s a bit depressing, because when I calculate how many posts I make per year, it averages out to like ten bucks per post, unless I make a whole bunch of entries in the next two months.
  • The Apple Airpod Pro release made me think I should make a lengthy post about every pair of headphones I’ve bought in the last few years, and why they ultimately didn’t work out. I have a bit of a problem when it comes to headphones, and can never find something that works perfectly. Then I spend an inordinate amount of time shopping for something that maybe would.
  • I’m 100% sure if I did buy Airpods, they would fall right out of my ear and I’d lose them, anyway.
  • I am not near the fires, and I haven’t lost power, so let’s not get into that.
  • Caviar got bought by DoorDash. This also pisses me off, because DoorDash is a horrible company and Caviar has been great. I realize food delivery is lazy, but I am lazy.
  • There is this outdoor mall thing about a mile from my house. (Bay Street in Emeryville). Anyway, they at one time had like a dozen restaurants, and now they have one. In the last couple of weeks, Buckhorn and Fuddrucker’s closed, and Rubio’s closed a bit before that. Now there’s an upper level where every single store is closed except California Pizza Kitchen. I eat at CPK way too much, but when that closes, I’m done.
  • There’s also a Barnes and Noble in that mall, and I used to hate B&N and see them as this company that killed indie book stores (I talked about this before, sorry) and anyway, it’s only a matter of time before they shutter that place, too.
  • This outdoor mall was literally built on an Indian burial ground. I used to go to Weight Watchers with a retired Archaeology professor who was hired by the builders to dig around and identify graves and whatnot. Maybe that’s why they can’t keep any restaurants going there.
  • I think they discontinued the deodorant I have used since like 1993, and I have to switch to another. That kind of thing really pisses me off.
  • I hate to sound like an old person when I talk about this stuff closing, but it’s depressing, and makes me think a lot about how everything dies, including all of us, and I can’t process that. When I hit 50 soon, look for this worry train to go completely thermonuclear.
  • Speaking of DoorDash, I just placed a Caviar order at a place that’s usually pretty quick to fill deliveries, and got a text now saying the order will be late. The last time I ordered from DoorDash, they did this like three times and then completely no-showed. And so it begins.

i like when this didn’t require me to enter a title before i entered a post

1. I was on this stupid thing where I thought I should start carrying a fake phone and wallet in case I was mugged. So I bought an iPhone 3G for $20 on eBay, which is the same exact phone I had nine years ago. It is ridiculously small and uses a different dock connector and has a shit camera and plastic back and is missing about every feature you could imagine. No Siri, no Apple Pay, no Find my Phone, no Facetime, no front camera. The OS is stuck like six or seven versions ago. I think the current Facebook app wouldn’t even fit on this phone. It’s sort of wonderful.

2. My allergies are so insanely bad since I got back from Alaska. I always joke about moving there like the Anthony Edwards character from Northern Exposure, who lived in a geodesic dome to escape his allergies, but I’ll be god damned, that would actually work.

3. My new watch tracks my sleep now with the Sleep++ app, and I don’t have to remember to start the app first – it just figures it out. It’s amazing to see how much I sleep when I take Ambien, and how many times I wake up in the middle of the night when I don’t.

4. For some freak reason, I didn’t drive my car at all this week. When I had to drive somewhere Friday, it was caked with a layer of dirt like I’d left it outside at Mt. St. Helen’s in 1980 or whenever that was.

5. I remember people selling bottles and jars of ashes after M.S.H. blew up. This was all pre-internet, so I’m not sure how I knew about this. Maybe it was in the el-cheapo ads in the very back of Parade magazine, where they normally sold biblical coins that were supposed to be older than Jesus but were actually punched out of sheet metal from Ford Pintos and then artificially aged in vats of Coca-Cola.

6. I’ve been writing the bulk of my next book by hand. No reason, except I write a lot of it in diners. It’s challenging, because I can’t read my own handwriting, and I only get maybe a hundred words per page of these little pocket notebooks.

7. I started reading about the bad effects of cortisol, the stress hormone, and how it stops you from losing fat and makes allergies worse, and now I am convinced that is like the nexus of every problem I have right now. And googling “get rid of cortisol” gives you ten million pages that basically just say to sleep more and be happy about your life, and maybe eat more salad.

8. I subscribed to a Facebook group about people who grew up in my home town, and everyone in the group is functionally illiterate. Like, they don’t know the difference between “to,” “two,” and “too.”

9. I also looked up my home town on TripAdvisor, and the top ten restaurants included Cracker Barrel, Perkin’s, and Texas Roadhouse.

10. I was going to go on a big rant about tenderloin sandwiches and mandala effect, but my dinner is here. (I ordered a salad for some inexplicable reason. Maybe the cortisol thing. I need to stop it with the Joe Rogan Podcast.)


Lunchables, In Order

  1. Turkey + Cheddar Cracker Stackers
  2. Turkey + American Cracker Stackers
  3. Pizza with Pepperoni
  4. Nachos, Cheese Dip + Salsa
  5. Extra Cheesy Pizza
  6. Mini Hot Dogs (only if heated)
  7. Ham + American Cracker Stackers
  8. Chicken Dunks
  9. Pizza Kabobbles
  10. Turkey + Cheddar Lower Fat Cracker Stackers
  11. Mini Burgers
  12. Light Bologna + American Cracker Stackers
  13. Any of the ones without juice
  14. Any of the ones with the bullshit 100% juice instead of Capri Sun

Sanjay Gupta and Jack Kevorkian went to the same medical school

  • I hate end-of-year lists. I didn’t even know it was 2014 for half of the year, and I can’t remember what I wrote, read, bought, or otherwise did. I published two books, and worked on two others, but you probably already know that.
  • I fell down a brief Jack Kevorkian k-hole the other day, probably because I spent too much time at the airport. I really want a copy of his jazz album. It always fascinates me when someone famous for one thing has a side-passion in something completely different.
  • This isn’t a good example, but I always found it interesting how prior to his career in blowing shit up, Ted Kazczynski was a math prodigy, and published several academic papers, mostly about boundary functions.
  • Both Kevorkian and Kazczynski went to University of Michigan.  (Not at the same time.)
  • I went to the same school as Jim Jones, Meg Cabot, and Joe Buck. (Jones was obviously before my time. Cabot lived in my dorm, I think, but I never knew her. I refuse to discuss Joe Buck.)
  • I went to Wisconsin for the holiday. I got sick. It did not snow. I’m still sick.
  • I guess a new year’s resolution, even though I hate them, is to not get sick anymore. This would probably involve jogging or something, and maybe not eating at Taco Bell four times a week.
  • A k-hole I plan to fall down, when I get off the DayQuil/NyQuil roller coaster, is Oulipo, and Raymond Queneau’s movement on constrained writing. He did this thing called A Hundred Thousand Billion Poems, which is like a paper version of those random headline generators, but from 1961. I don’t know any French, and I have no idea what I’m talking about, but it’s a good rabbit hole to fall down, maybe.
  • I have some fascination with constrained writing only because I wrote a ton of stuff just like Atmospheres, and then after the audio book and having to re-read it a dozen times, got really sick of that kind of writing, and thought I needed to write another book where the prose was much more simple. I don’t know what rules I would follow, other than to make it less manic, and maybe stop drinking Red Bull.
  • I was futzing with this app called Hemingway, which calculates the grade level of your writing and points out passive voice and stuff that’s hard to read. Most of the stuff I wrote in Atmospheres is way above the 12th grade level. I think I should just write books of lists at the 3rd grade level.
  • Not to be confused with The Hemingwrite, which is a hipster digital typewriter for about $400, and a kickstarter, which means you probably won’t get it until 2027.
  • I am about 4 for 17 on kickstarters, and just got in the mail this stupid pet camera I must have ordered in like 2011. It showed up right after we got back from vacation, so it’s sort of useless.
  • In 13 minutes, I get to take another dose of DayQuil. I’m pretty happy about that.
  • Other vague resolutions that aren’t are the usual: write more, ignore the news, lose weight, hail satan, etc. You?

Things I Learned in 2011

Okay, so how does one write a post that summarizes the year without A) listing all of the books you read that year, which honestly nobody gives one flying fuck about; B) see A, except with music, which is problematic because I don’t think I bought a single goddamn album actually released in 2011; C) giving a giant list of “resolutions” which you will promptly forget about by January 7th.

I’d like to think in the last 365 days, I have become wiser.  I’ve definitely become older; unrelated: looking for reviews and advice on picking the correct shade of Just For Men hair color.  But here’s the laundry list of life lessons I may or may not have learned in 2011.

  1. Get an Amazon rewards card, then make every single purchase of your life using the card instead of cash, down to paying for a $2 parking fee with your Visa.  Then, pay the entire bill at the end of the month.  Also, buy every damn thing possible from Amazon so you get triple points.  I bought everything from birthday gifts to toilet paper to deodorant to computer supplies from Amazon instead of battling the idiots at the grocery store.  You save time, but most importantly, you end up with hundreds of dollars of free books by the end of the year.
  2. Paying any attention whatsoever to the Apple versus Android arguments online is a total waste of time.  Buy what you want and stop reading the comments in engadget or gizmodo posts.
  3. Sync a notes file on your phone with a gmail account and write down every single idea for a story or character or scene the second it crosses your mind, because it’s a lot more efficient than trying to actually think of ideas when you need them.
  4. Don’t read more than three Philip K. Dick novels back-to-back while on cold medication.
  5. Scrivener is the best writing tool imaginable, at least for me.
  6. You can either spend a lot of time arguing politics with people who will never change, or you can learn how to block people on facebook and actually get shit done.
  7. When you’re trying to read something on the web and you see a link to something else, instead of falling into a giant wormhole, just add the link to Safari’s Reading List and then when you’re eating lunch or stuck in line somewhere, read those articles later.  I have this horrible issue where I start searching for how to change the font in my mail program, and suddenly it’s two hours later and I’m reading the entire history of the Gemini space program and I have no fucking idea why.
  8. Get a Kinesis Advantage keyboard, and learn to touch-type.
  9. Stretch.  If you don’t know how, go to a chiropractor and ask.
  10. Write what you want to read.  Read what you want to write.

Here’s to 2012.  No resolutions, no predictions.  I’ve got two books in the hopper and need to kick ass on getting stuff done and out, so stay tuned.


List: 14 Product Variations That Never Got Past Focus Group Testing

  1. Cap’n Crunch Atlantic Cod Crunch Berries
  2. Olde English 800 Sport malt liquor with electrolytes
  3. Lego Postal Rampage playset
  4. The McDonald’s McHaggis, turnips, and fries value meal
  5. Old Spice Pure Sport scented enema
  6. The Capital One Planned Parenthood Abortion Rewards Visa card
  7. Clorox Cool Ranch Toilet Cleaner
  8. Prune Pepsi Max
  9. Taco Bell CrunchWrap de Tripita
  10. Smith and Wesson My First .357 Junior Revolver
  11. Little Debbie Purim Kreplach cakes with liver
  12. Sherwin Williams Your Mother’s a Whore house paint
  13. Hawaiian Punch Guava Bacon Crush
  14. Jello Pudding Contraceptives

List: possible zombie book ideas for future use

  1. Zombie Jesus
  2. Zombie Ernest Hemingway
  3. Zombie Mama Cass
  4. Zombie Jethro Tull
  5. Zombie Joey Ramone
  6. Zombie Jesse Ventura
  7. Zombie Jerry Lewis
  8. Zombie Veterinarian
  9. Zombie Les Paul
  10. Zombie Ayn Rand
  11. Zombie Kim Jong Il
  12. Zombie Slum Landlord
  13. Zombie Transvestite hooker picked up by Eddie Murphy
  14. Zombie Illegal immigrant
  15. Zombie Midlist genre author
  16. Zombie Tax preparation assistant
  17. Zombie Hipster taco truck worker
  18. Zombie Indian casino blackjack dealer
  19. Zombie Pro-Microsoft internet troller
  20. Zombie Weatherman
  21. Zombie French-Canadian baguette baker
  22. Zombie Has-been child actor turned junkie
  23. Zombie Build engineer
  24. Zombie Incontinent old person
  25. Zombie Herpes sufferer riding a mountain bike in a drug commercial
  26. Zombie Civil War re-enactor
  27. Zombie Cooking show hostess you want to slap but you also want to fuck
  28. Zombie Death metal fan who has really long hair but is bald on the top
  29. Zombie Wal-Mart greeter
  30. Zombie Blind guy who plays accordion on the subway for change
  31. Zombie Larry King
  32. Zombie High school gym teacher
  33. Zombie Al Bundy
  34. Zombie Editor at Huffington Post who posts content from other places as if they are new news.
  35. Zombie Ruby on Rails developer who talks about how great the ORM model is but doesn’t acknowledge scalability issues.
  36. Zombie Used car salesman
  37. Zombie Fred Flintstone
  38. Zombie Alexander Haig
  39. Zombie Eli Whitney with interchangeable parts
  40. Zombie Herbalife salesman who posts Zombie “Lose Weight Now/Ask Me How” signs at grocery store.
  41. Zombie Tattoo artist
  42. Zombie Guy who always insists that autotuning is killing the music industry
  43. Zombie Congressional Budget Office Assistant Director of Health and Zombie Services Division
  44. Zombie Yoga teacher with really hot ass
  45. Zombie Dog show groomer
  46. Zombie House painter
  47. Zombie David Lee Roth
  48. Zombie Left-Handed Setup Pitcher
  49. Zombie Alien abduction survivor
  50. Zombie Steven Spielberg

(Feel free to use any of these, but please let me know if you write a book or screenplay based on them.)


List: Countries That Don’t Extradite, With Best Broadband And Mercedes Dealerships

The following is a list of the top 25 countries that do not have extradition treaties with the United States, ranked by broadband scores (Broadband ranking here, using download speeds only) and indicating if they have a Mercedes dealership.

(Note: Taiwan currently has a treaty underway. I also could not find broadband scores for the four countries with no diplomatic relations with the US or extradition treaties: Iran, Cuba, Bhutan, and North Korea. Bhutan and North Korea also do not have Mercedes dealerships.)

Country Broadband Rank Mercedes Dealership?
United Arab Emirates 20 Yes
Andorra 24 No
the Russian Federation 27 Yes
Mongolia 37 Yes
Taiwan 39 Yes
Vietnam 54 Yes
Saudi Arabia 65 Yes
Rwanda 69 No
the Maldives 77 No
Oman 78 Yes
Qatar 79 Yes
China 80 Yes
Montenegro 84 No
Kuwait 87 Yes
Serbia 90 Yes
Mozambique 94 No
Bosnia/Herzegovina 98 Yes
Cape Verde 102 No
Uganda 105 No
Brunei 111 Yes
Armenia 114 Yes
Bahrain 116 Yes
Cambodia 125 Yes
Libya 126 No
Tunisia 127 No

Projects eating my time

I typically have some windmill I’m chasing, eating all of my spare cycles with google searches.  At some point, there’s going to be some huge lawsuit and google is going to be forced to release all of its search data to people like the way we now buy our credit reports, and I’m going to look back and wonder why I searched for Amiga 500 hardware 48,757 times in mid-2002.  Anyway, here are a bunch of recent brain viruses that are consuming me:

  • Is there a way to install track lighting without a ceiling fixture?  I’m looking for some magical system that will either draw power straight from the air in some Tesla-like fashion, or a way to conceal a cord so it runs across the ceiling and down a wall, maybe behind a bookcase.  I don’t know.
  • I need to build a kitchen island.  I think Ikea has the cabinets, but I also think they have a $1400 minimum on their engineered stone surfaces.  How do you get that crap built, and am I looking at a twelve-week wait time?   I thought we were in a recession and all of the trade people were dying for work?  If so, why don’t any of them return my phone calls?  And why do I ever need to make a phone call?  Why can’t all of this shit be online?
  • Searching for the perfect KVM switch to connect a MacBook Pro (mini-DisplayPort) and a ThinkPad (DisplayPort) to a monitor with DVI input.  It amazes me that it’s 2010 and 90% of the KVM solutions out there are still PS/2 keyboard/mouse and VGA that caps out at like 1280×1024.  That’s like if I went to a local new car dealership and every model still had a hand crank.
  • I keep searching eBay for NeXT hardware.  I need to stop doing that.
  • How do you repackage a 16-bit InstallShield installer so it works in Windows 7?  Why can’t you just use a 16-bit installer in Windows 7?  I thought the whole deal with Windows was you trade off usability and performance and reliability for the fact that they still need to support decades-old legacy software.  So why does a five-year-old installer crap out on me?  (Yes I tried running it in compatibility mode.)
  • Has anyone ever written an online version of Advanced Squad Leader?
  • I need to learn Python to use this mythical scripting extension to FrameMaker, but I also fear that said extension won’t be able to script 90% of the application, so maybe I don’t need to learn Python.
  • I need to buy/build/find a new entertainment system for the TV.  One that doesn’t look stupidly small with a 17′ ceiling, but that doesn’t cost more than my car.  Maybe the Ikea Besta.
  • I also need to find a medicine chest for the downstairs bathroom that doesn’t look like it came out of a mobile home and that isn’t some old country kitchen Paula Deen looking bullshit.
  • Didn’t someone make a vertical docking station for the new MacBook Pro or did I hallucinate that?  And not some little metal clippy stand that cost 17 cents to make in China and retails for $79.

That is all.