Machine of Death

Five years ago, Ryan North published on is comic (Dinosaur Comics) published this comic, presenting an idea that caught the imagination of his readers, his colleagues, and the public in general. Last week, The outcome, edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki ! (yes, he spells his name with an exclamation point one space past his name), was released and on the release day hit #1 on the Amazon Bestseller list. Partly, this was due to many of the contributor’s pleas to buy the book that day solely to hit #1, but after reading the book, it definitely deserves that #1 spot, and I would encourage the world to do their best to get it back there.

The premise is simple: A machine has been created that 100% accurately predicts how you will die. It doesn’t give you a date, it doesn’t give you specifics, but it gives a word or phrase that, at least at the end of your life, describes your death. The word could be DROWNING, or CAR ACCIDENT, or OLD AGE. However, something like OLD AGE isn’t necessarily fair game. OLD AGE could mean that you get shot by a bed ridden old person when you try to rob their house. The machine almost seems to delight in toying with the users.

What each author does with this premise is not so simple. There are stories about irony, where someone gets a prediction, say BOAT ACCIDENT, tries to avoid that their whole life then all of a sudden, something happens and they die, like they’re driving and a boat on a trailer crashes into them knocking their car off a cliff. But there are other stories that go much deeper. There are stories about true love. There are sci-fi thrillers set in a totalitarian future. There is a heart wrenching story about a couple who had had multiple miscarriages and the only reason the machine of death was involved was the very end of the story. There is an AMAZING story that is only one page long. (The cause of death in that one is HIV INFECTION FROM MACHINE OF DEATH NEEDLE).

Further, each story made me feel something different than the next one. Some made me see positives of the machine (Such as TORN APART AND DEVOURED BY LIONS), some made me feel frustrated at how the only reason these people died the way they did is BECAUSE they read their reading. A couple stories deal with people trying to prove that the machine is fallible, by trying to die in a way unrelated to the machine’s suggestion.

More than anything, this book is a look at the human psyche. It is putting human reactions under the microscope and seeing how a simple change, like introducing a vague cause of death, can exasperate existing tendencies.

A free PDF download was published on the Machine of Death website, feel free to read it. But I would HIGHLY reccomend that you buy this book. They self-published the book after publishers told them it wouldn’t sell (after admitting that they loved the book). It has a plentiful amount of good stories, as well as a wonderful full page piece of art for each story. I can’t promise that you’ll find it as powerful as I did, but If you enjoy the book one tenth as much as I did, it’ll be worth the $17.95 you spent on it.

Buy on Amazon

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Breaking News: Rocket Scientists Not That Smart

You read that right folks, a recent study shows that “rocket science is not brain surgery.”

A recent post in Popular Brain Surgery found that while being a rocket scientist does require a certain intellect, it is nothing compared to a the intellect required to be a brain surgeon. Soon after the article was published, a spokesperson from the American Society of Rocket Scientists pupblished a rebuttle claiming that the study was “state-of-the-art pro-brain surgeon propaganda.”

Know that if anymore updates on this stunning controversy appear you’ll hear them here first. Well. Second. Or third. You’ll hear it when I hear it.

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Housesitting: Day 2

Today has been eventful. Though nothing compares to right now.

Harry (the dog) is definitely trying to have sex with his doggy bed.

Derek and Charlie are here, we’re watching some netflix and Harry is holding is toy in his mouth, pulling part of the bed up to himself and humping. This has happened like 7 times. Derek is trying to record a video. look on Youtube for it later if we get a good video.

I can’t think of anything else now that this entertainment has happened.

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House Sitting: Day 1

I am house/dog sitting for a friend’s family this week. I thought it would be a perfect chance to re-ignite some blog writing. Expect a look at my life as I live alone for the first time (as well as take care of a dog for the first time).

Today I arrived at the house around 9:30 and took the dog out for a walk. When we got back, he just lay down. I think I wore him out pretty hard core. I forgot to bring my yogurt from home so I had to try and find something more creative for breakfast. The family said  could use some stuff from their fridge, so I checked it out. They had some eggs, so I fried one up. It was fairly delicious.

For lunch I made a delicious turkey sandwich, then I hung out with Charlie and Derek for a short bit. Derek came over and we hung out for a bit With Harry (the dog). Later, after Derek left I went outside and played catch with harry for a bit.

Next I am going home to grab some dinner then I’ll be back to watch TV, hang with Harry and play some video games. Come back tomorrow for a new Post!

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Watermelon Jam

Like I may have mentioned earlier, I started following a new blog called Tasteologie. One of the first recipes I saw on there that I wanted to try was Watermelon Jam. It would give me something delicious as well as add another technique to my cooking skill list: canning. The result is a delicious (though I only tasted the stuff that was still on the funnel I used to put the jam in the jars) brightly colored jam.

However, i should note that the recipe is suposed to make 7 jars and I wound up with 2.5 jars. Some of that is because I lost some after starting in far too small of a pot. Some if it is also likely due to me boiling off more water than I was supposed to because I was using an IR thermometer when  I should have been using an insertion thermometer. Therefore my Jam may turn into watermelon candy instead of watermelon jam, but i have hope.

Update: It is very thick, but VERY delicious! expect more canned things in the future too!

The recipe follows the break!

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Liege Waffles

In Eugene the last couple years a new food slowly surfaced. Off The Waffle opened and introduced me to the greatest waffles ever made. I’ve since moved back to Portland, and here I was dying to have a Liege waffle.

First, Liege waffles are one of two kinds of waffles from Belgium. Often when you get a “Belgian Waffle” you are ordering a Brussels style Belgian waffle. Both Brussels and Liege waffles are named after cities and are both Belgian waffles. True belgian waffles are also prepared as a dough, not a batter, but are still cooked in a waffle iron. The most notable difference between a Brussels and a Liege waffle is that Liege waffles use pearled sugar, kind of like broken sugar cubes, to create a carmelized, crispy sugar shell on the outside of the waffle. It is a delightful taste and I’d reccomend getting one made by a professional, but if that is not possible the next best option is to make it yourself.

This is where I come in. I made some today and they came out wonderfully. I found a recipe through google, but couldn’t find pearled sugar. Instead I bought sugar cubes and broke them into pieces (~1 cm). Everything else is pretty standard cooking/baking supplies. I hope you enjoy!

(recipe after the break!) Read More »

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Resident Evil 3D

Update: Charlie and I did not get into the theater. The studio put the pre-release into the smallest theater Lloyd cinema had.

Charlie and I obtained a free pass to the pre-premier showing of the new Resident Evil movie at the Lloyd Center movie theater. I am currently waiting in line while Charlie grabs us some dinner. Charlie was quite excited about the movie, I am expecting complete crap. Check back later for our impressions post film!

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Subway of SCIENCE

Update: Recently he released version 1.0. He added some new scientists and re arranged some things.

I know many of you, like me, are concerned with how Rene Descartes is related to Charles Darwin. Luckily, an awesome person developed a subway map for science. It is AWESOME. check it out.

Also, this guy seems to be updating the map based on comments possibly. If you see something wrong, let him know. Also let him know how AMAZING it is.

I’m just hoping a poster gets made from it soon.

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Anamanaguchi Live in Portland

Hey readers, I’m down in downtown Portland to see the chiptune punk band Anamanaguchi. If you don’t know them, I highly recommend checking them out.

I am going to live blog this event, but if there is a low frequency of posts, don’t think they sucked, rather, it probably means they’re rocking!

7:30 just ate some voodoo donuts to get me pumped for the show.
7:35 asked about tickets, was told to get them when the show opens. Also, I’ve been seeing the band members(I think) around the location, but I don’t know what they look like enough to geek out.
7:48 getting in line. I can hear the band warming up inside and hyping on it.
7:50 someone in line nearby has a sex bob-omb shirt on.
7:52 said girl is more geeky than me and is kinda creeping me out. Also I believe this is an all ages show too. Hence this girl who I would guess is high school age.
7:55 this guy is wearing a Mann co. Shirt (team fortress 2). He is cooler than the other girl.
7:56 the voodoo crew was just dissing chiptunes. I think they just like dissing things.
8:02 doors should be open…
8:08 I’d just like to go in so I can not be standing on the street leaning on a trashcan.
8:12 doors are open. Other band is named Pegasus Dream Girlfriend. Don’t know them.
8:21 inside. Got a drink. Some might say “don’t drink and blog” but I laugh in the face of danger.
8:23 DJ is totally rockin’ some sweet electronic beats!
8:25 a concert with a bunch of nerds. Not necessarily the best place to go make friends. Lots of introverts.
8:40 normally I am very cautious about hearing. But I think today I’m probably going to be pushing it.
8:47 did I mention I’m even digging the pre-band music here?
8:50 also I like the atmosphere of this venue. Big ceramic faces on the walls.
8:55 is it bad that the under-21 side is much more full than the cool side? I would guess that it is partly because many of the older crowd is already going to PAX.
8:57 I think the Pegasus dude is getting on.
8:59 he’s set up in front of the stage with multiple instruments oriented around a drum set. Kinda excited for him too.
9:09 nvm. Two bands, this is Girlfriend. Enjoying him.
9:12 not often you get music that is featuring drums.
9:24 This guy ROCKS
9:31 got his CD free.
9:37 I enjoyed him greatly!
9:43 there is someone pulling some SICK dance moves in the underage section. Blowing me a away a bit. I’d join, but I don’t want to give up my drink.
9:50 observation: all Scott Pilgrim shirts have been under 21, all anamanaguchi shirts have been 21 and over.

9:58 second band setting up. They’re on main stage so there is lighting for them.
10:04 Pegasus Dream is rockin’ too!
10:30 Pegasus Dream rocked it! I hotta remember to look them up when I get home!
10:33 just got a closer look at the DJs. Three or 4 button pads, some knobs and 3 macs. These guys got the toys man. Also they are playing the Zelda Overworld Theme right now.

10:36 Anamanaguchi is up next. The crowd is getting more excited. You can almost feel it.
10:44 a nice (but drunk) man named Marshall and I just had a nice conversation. He doesn’t know who anamanaguchi is.
11:00 Anamanaguchi on stage!

11:04 one of the band members is changing a string so there is a “be nice competition”
11:06 the 21+ side totally rocked it!
11:07 he’s back! They’re going to play!
11:56 AMAZING!!! I took a video, I’ll get it up here by tomorrow night. Anyone who didn’t come, MISSED OUT!

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Cleverpork Exploration League

A couple of weeks ago, I was honored to hear Don Walsh give a talk about his descent to the deepest place in the ocean. Something he said early on in his talk that resonated with me was that exploration is just acting on curiosity and it is built in to the human experience. At some point however, most humans seem to loose their sense of exploration. His talk included very little, if any, science. However, it made me think more about exploration.

I would like to introduce you all to a little side project I am founding. It is called the Cleverpork Exploration League. Our ultimate goal is to be able to purchase a sea-going vessel, and maybe some submarines, travel the world and make movies about our adventures. Maybe buy something like this or this or this or this.

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