Sunday, April 25, 2010


Like an on again, off again girlfriend, poker has re-entered my life, and the make up sex has been great! After a brief time off, I returned to poker playing exclusively sit-n-gos. I love them! It's like making the final table of a tourney everytime! I like that I can't get suddenly moved once I get a read on my opponents. I like the practice of playing 4 handed, 3 handed, and heads up. I like the payout and blinds structure. I've since moved on to playing cash games in preparation for a trip to Boston (my first live poker in months). I'm also going to Laconia NH for a couple days to visit the legendary Funspot for vintage arcade and pinball games (see: The King of Kong). Look for a post on that in a couple weeks. Until then, life is short- do what makes you happy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


God, I love bad TV. Absolutely love it. I enjoy nothing more than sitting around with a friend mocking some truly awful shows. For instance, I actually love Maury. There’s nothing better than hearing a woman say that she is “one thousand and ten percent sure” that some guy is the father of her kid, and then when Maury says “you are….NOT the father” and the woman runs backstage and collapses while the guy does the Itoldyouso dance, I don’t know, I just get a real kick out of that. Maybe I’m just a weirdo, or have really bad taste. I’d go on the A&E show Intervention for my addiction to bad TV, but that might be a conflict of interest. has a bunch of great (and by great I mean terrible) TV shows from ALF to Airwolf (sorry- couldn’t find a truly bad show that started with Z). They have a bunch of MOJO network shows that are actually good, like Three Sheets (a travel/drinking show) and Wall St. Warriors., but the show I’ve been watching for the past few days is Start Up Junkies. There are only 8 episodes, but the unintentional humor is packed into every minute. A better name for this show would have been The Dumbest Guys in the Room.

Start Up Junkies chronicles the development of an internet company called Earth Class Mail. Yeah, pretty stupid name. An internet company that conjures up images of land lines and snail mail. It gets better. Earth Class Mail is a company that will reroute your postal mail to their warehouse, scan it, email it to you, then you choose what you want them to open, scan, and email to you again. OK, I’ll slow it down. You have all your mail sent to a corrugated hangar in Beaverton, OR. The people there sort it, and scan every piece of mail. They then email you all of those images. You then select which items you want them to open and scan. They then email that to you, and you, uh, I guess maybe read it? Then I think you choose for them to throw it away, or possibly have them store it indefinitely- I don’t really remember because by then my brain had shut down, or maybe I was laughing too loudly. You can choose to have them re-mail you something unopened, but that seems like a big costly waste of time and totally undermines the whole idea. Either way, since all bills, banking, shopping, and even receiving payments can be done electronically, I guess the business plan is to pay someone $20-$30 a month to throw out your junk mail. Seems like a shitload of steps to supposedly “simplify” something, and possibly not such a great money maker for the company that has to receive, sort, scan, and store millions of pieces of mail. Sounds like a lose-lose proposition to me. Of course, you also have to get a signed, notarized, postal form authorizing them to receive your mail in the first place. Does anyone else see the irony of an online company that intends to reduce the hassle of the already dying institution of snail mail, that involves buying millions of dollars of mail sorting equipment and a huge warehouse to store it all in?!? That infrastructure already exists. It’s called the fucking Post Office!

For a brief second, I thought it might be a good service for people who are away from home, but who gets snail mail at all anymore? You can always just have your mail held for awhile, and if I did happen to get something important in the mail, I wouldn’t want some junky in Portland making $8 an hour ripping it open and going through it! Besides, haven’t these people heard of the dotcom bubble burst? I couldn’t understand why everybody was gobbling up the load of bullshit the CEO (who looks like the fat kid from Head of the Class) was dropping on them. This start up seemed soooo 2004. Then I found out that the show was filmed in……2004! So it’s like a hilarious time capsule of a period when venture capitalists threw millions of dollars at any fledgling company with a website, and every nerd in Seattle with jeans, a blue shirt, and a foosball table in their office just assumed they were going to become billionaires. It’s so fun to listen to the employees toss around buzzwords like “scale up” and “ahead of the curve” and “customer conversion rate.” Oooooh, real impressive. Looks like somebody bought a copy of Start Up Jargon for Dummies.

The whole show looks like they filmed a special ed. class doing a Junior Business Achievers project, but it’s all real! These are people I wouldn’t give a computer driving simulator to, because they would somehow cause a very real 30 car pile up! I began to suspect that Christopher Guest was filming it, or maybe The Onion had something to do with it. But even they couldn’t make this shit up.

Needless to say, Earth Class Mail is not doing well since their only potential clients (big companies) have a cheaper system in place called a MAIL ROOM, and digital mail delivery already exists, it’s called E-MAIL. I guess the Seattle-tards didn’t do their due diligence on that one. They didn’t look into their crystal ball and see the writing on the dry erase board that snail mail is going to be extinct without any help from them. Oddly, there is no proactive synergy interface market for a process that makes things slower, more complicated, and costs millions and millions in infrastructure and payroll. Hmmmm, maybe they should have researched this “billion dollar idea” a little more thoroughly. Maybe they should have used a bigger focus group than a few of their spoiled Microsoft co-workers sitting around playing D&D who thought it was a good idea. Why am I complaining though? It’s so much fun to watch arrogant people fail on TV…….

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I’d like to start by thanking all the materialistic, hipster, cutting edge, keeping upwardly mobile with the Jones’, nerdy d-bags for now carrying around a 9”x7” plastic iBadge to make them more easily identifiable. As much fun as it is to laugh at these consumer sheep, the fact of the matter is that we will all probably have Max iPads within a few years. It reminds me of a Weekend Update joke on Saturday Night Live from the mid 90’s. Norm MacDonald said that scientists had determined that cell phones can cause brain cancer, but that was OK because nobody cared if people with cell phones got cancer. Who could have guessed back then that the whole cell phone thing was going to catch on? Technology has really exploded in the past decade. It has become more incredible, portable, and invasive than ever before. If you have ever heard “deleted” e-mails or cell phone records used in court cases, you know that nothing is private, and everything is traceable. GPS chips are both revolutionary and terrifying. Even George Orwell couldn’t have predicted that level of surveillance.

One of my favorite authors and pop culture commentators, Chuck Klosterman, tells a funny story about finding out that Michael Jackson had died. When he overheard somebody say something about Jackson on the street, he texted a friend and asked what had happened. His friend was flabbergasted that Klosterman hadn’t heard yet. Michael Jackson had died 20 minutes ago! That’s the age we live in. Everything is instantaneous. News, food, shopping, and communication. With Twitter, Facebook and texts, we live in a real time bubble no matter where we are. Everybody seems to know everything that is going on instantly.

Another funny anecdote comes from Gabe Caplan when he was about to play Chris Ferguson heads up at poker. When asked about Ferguson’s legendary intelligence, Mr. Kotter responded “He has two PhD’s in math, can calculate odds instantly, and can recite Pi to 17 places. I have access to the internet, so we’re even.” It’s true that every person with a computer has the entire accumulated knowledge of humanity at their fingertips, and now increasingly more portable. A technological collective consciousness that neither Emile Durkheim nor the most wacked out acid head from the last century could have ever hallucinated. All of these developments have led me to only one conclusion:

We are becoming the Borg.

I suppose I should clarify who the Borg is, seeing as Star Trek: The Next Generation was on TV 20 years ago, which is like four nano-generations ago by today’s accelerated pop culture half lives. The Borg float around in a huge cube silently communicating to each other on their grid. When you are assimilated to the Borg, you turn over your entire self to the Borg and become part of the whole. Kinda like being on a massive reality show, starring everyone and airing constantly (and with cool mono-goggles too).

Our grid is the internet, and the more info you put into it on social networks and other websites, the more you are assimilated. With the silly Bluetooth headsets, people even look like the Borg! I saw four people sit at a booth in a restaurant the other day and not say one word to each other. They were furiously surfing, blipping, flittering, gaming, and texting on hand held devices. We are becoming one big cube of humanity. Everybody is equally famous, and separately insignificant. There are no secrets from the Borg. Any one is everybody and everybody is no one. Resistance is futile.